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Oct. 11, 2005

Celebrating Ramadan

by Hokuma Karimova, Foreign Desk Editor
Ramadan, a time when Muslims celebrate Allah's revelation of the first verses of the Koran, began Wednesday, Oct. 5. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, but because Islam uses the lunar calendar, the holiday begins on a different day each year. This year, Ramadan will last until Nov. 4.

The Koran is the holy book of Islam; therefore, its origins are the underlying reason behind the Ramadan celebration. According to Fact Monster, around 610 C.E., the prophet Muhammad was walking in the desert near Mecca when the voice of angel Gabriel called out to him. Gabriel told Muhammad that he was the chosen one who would receive the word of Allah. In the following days, Muhammad began transcribing verses that are now found in the Koran.

During Ramadan, Muslims pray, contribute to charity and fast. Fasting is an important part of this holiday because it is believed to cleanse the body and mind and enable many to feel inner peace and connect with Allah. It also helps people practice self-control and most importantly, provides a perspective of the suffering that the poor face.

The daily routine for a faster is quite rigorous. Fasters are not permitted to eat or drink anything after sunrise in order to give people time to reflect on their religion and their life. However, those who are sick, elderly, pregnant, nursing a child or traveling are not permitted to fast. Nonetheless, they can still express their gratitude and appreciation to Allah by visiting mosques and praying. For those who are fasting, a fast is broken after sunset by a prayer and a meal called iftar. While it is customary for Muslims to visit family and friends after the iftar, in today's world with hectic schedules and excessive work, not many are able to do this.

The following passage from the Holy Koran provides an explanation of the importance of fasting: "O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those who came before you that you may keep your duty to your Lord (having taqwa)," (2:185). The Koran states that by fasting, one fulfills their duty of thanking and acknowledging Allah for his help and protection.

The religion of Islam teaches followers to appreciate life, help people and love one another. Therefore, as part of the Islamic religion, Ramadan is meant to be a time of celebration. People let go of their everyday worries, such as the burden of eating and drinking, and find time to help others around them.

At the end of Ramadan, Muslims celebrate the holiday Id-al-Fitr (the Feast of Fast Breaking), and for three days they exchange gifts, gather for prayer and large meals.

Ramadan is a time of replacing sins with good deeds, celebrating the existence of Allah, giving to charity and coming together.

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  • aNGeL (View Email) on October 16, 2005 at 10:14 AM
    thats such a great article, i didnt know there were people other than the arabs who knew that much about ramadan and you described everything about the holy month in a great way (i know that because i myself am muslim)
  • Zahra on October 19, 2005 at 1:35 PM
    go 'head Okuma!!!!! Im so happy you're getting in touch with your inner muslim. and to angel, what do you mean you didn't know that non-arabs knew about ramadan. There are other ethnic groups in the world other than arabs that are muslims.
  • qs on October 20, 2005 at 5:28 PM
    aNGel- how are you muslim and you dont even know about the diversity of your own religon? Islam has been one of the leading diverse religons in the world for thousands of years!!!!!!Wow.
  • jane (View Email) on October 24, 2005 at 8:13 PM
    This is amazing, i know how Muslim take their religion by heart, before i have a negative feeling about some of the Muslims since we heard from the news in our everyday life...but now i came to know that Muslims are indeed good and they have the discipline to fulfill one's goal and strong faith that all worries will fade away, just by believing to Allah they have this hope and it's realy amazing that indeed Muslims go together peacefully standing on their faith...Goodworks, i salute u for that!!!!Keep it up....
  • Anonymous on November 3, 2005 at 4:18 PM
    Just to clarify a common misconception: "Allah" is the arabic word meaning "God", Muslims believe in the same god as Christians and Jews, they just use the Arabic word for it.
  • hope leimberger (View Email) on December 9, 2005 at 5:54 PM
    hey hey hey how are you i am doing a report on ramadan and i was hoping that you could tell me a little about it thanks so much my name is hope and my email is
  • MR Aba Owerri (View Email) on March 11, 2006 at 5:38 AM
    i dey
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