A Month of Fasting
Ramadan is an important time for Islamic people across the world. Similar to many Christians, Islamic culture partakes in the act of fasting. Fasting is when religionists purposely refrain from eating food or drinking water for certain intervals according to their belief. Ramadan's beginning isn't marked by a specific date; it is determined by a moon-sighting committee in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Ramadan starts when the first crescent moon appears after the month of Shaban. Shaban is the eighth month in the Islamic calendar; Ramadan starts in the ninth month. Unlike the Gregorian calendar, the Islamic calendar is based on moon phases to determine the months. When the crescent moon appears in Mecca, Ramadan starts for the rest of the world. Muslims from the United States in 2022 start their fasting on April 1st.
During Ramadan, worshippers do not eat or drink while the sun is visible. They can feast when it is dark: very early in the morning and after the sun sets at night. The event lasts approximately 29-30 days. Before daytime fasting, Muslims will eat a breakfast dish called Suhur, which consists of fruits with lots of water such as watermelon, cucumber, and oranges. Suhur also contains grains, dairy, and other food with lots of carbs and protein to compensate for the lack of energy from not eating during the day. After dusk, Muslims are technically allowed to eat but most usually choose to eat very little. The last meal of the day during Ramadan is called Iftar. This meal mainly consists of fruits, vegetables, and meats. Young children, breastfeeding mothers, and the elderly are the only groups who exclude themselves from participation. This is because these people can be struggling with health, and that can make fasting more difficult.
During Ramadan, Muslims aim to grow spiritually and build stronger relationships with Allah, the Islamic god. They do this by reciting the Quran, the holy Islamic book. Muslims also pray, focus on selflessness, and do not specifically partake in gossip, lying, or fighting. The start of this month-long celebration started in the 7th century. According to Islamic culture, a supposed angel named Gabriel drifted down from above to gift Prophet Muhammad the Qur’an. The time around when this event occurred was eventually given a name: Ramadan. Muslims fast during this time period to celebrate the revelation of their holy book. Muslims have a lot to look forward to after the celebration ends. The first day after Ramadan is called Eid al Fitr. On this day families and friends show gratitude to god after the long month of reflecting. This holiday is a great reminder to Muslims to be grateful for what they have and to share upon the less fortunate. For the rest of the world, being aware of the cultural and spiritual significance of Ramadan can strengthen intersocietal relations.
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