Holy month for Muslims begins
During Ramadan, Muslims abstain from food, drink
Published: Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 21:07
The holy month for Muslims, as dictated by the Quran, Ramadan began Thursday, This month commemorates the revelation Prophet Muhammad received which inspired the Islamic holy book.
Ramadan occurs in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It is a period of 30 days where Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and sexual relations from sunrise to sunset. The fasting is to promote self-discipline and awareness of God.
Before the fast begins, Muslims prepare both physically and spiritually.
“Throughout even the month before starting, all the Muslims try to gain up strength and eat healthy and rest, exercise, do all the different things to prepare mentally and physically,” said Amna Ahmed, Class of 2011 and current graduate student.
Ahmed said the community also prepares spiritually by memorizing and trying to understand passages of the Quran.
Living minimally for a month allows for a time of reflection and prayer. It is during this holy month that Muslims draw closer to God and rely on him to sustain them through the fast.
“If you can control [your eating and drinking] then you can control your other desires too. It’s kind of a reminder and a way to become closer to your religion,” said Taha Habib, senior industrial distribution major and president of the Muslim Students Association.
Habib has been fasting since Ramadan began and he said it is easier now than when he was in high school.
“It’s not hard in college,” Habib said.“Now you can just hangout with your other Muslim friends.”
The period of fasting is not only an emphasis on self-denial. Ramadan is also a time to refocus on giving to the needy community.
Anwer Ahmed, professor in the Department of Accounting, said that during Ramadan, the Muslim community gives to the poor and needy based on how blessed they are. At the end of the fast, each household will give $8 per person in their family to those who are in need.
It is Islamic tradition to pray five times a day. During the month of Ramadan, an extra prayer is added at night. This extra prayer allows for the entire Quran to be read in a month time span.
Following the month, there is a day of celebration, known as Eid al-Fitr. The Muslim community celebrates the conclusion of the holy month and thanks God for sustaining them through the period of self-denial.
“It’s like charging your religious battery,” Ahmed said. “You feel like a better Muslim.”