Beginning Tuesday or Wednesday evening at sunset, Muslims around the world began the tradition of watching for the new moon to determine when the Ramadan fast would begin.
Beginning Tuesday or Wednesday evening at sunset, Muslims around the world began the tradition of watching for the new moon in an attempt to determine when the Ramadan fast would begin. While Muslims have been openly observing Ramadan for many years here in the United States, we look forward to opportunities to share and educate people about this month of fasting.
Ramadan is the dedicated time of year that we as Muslims sincerely focus on exercising control over ourselves; to better regulate our lives, living in accordance with the tenants of our way of life, Al-Islam. Islam promotes submitting our human will to that which the Creator (God) has commanded for our daily lives. During Ramadan, scheduled to begin in North America at sunset on March 22, Muslims work diligently to free ourselves from the influences of undisciplined thoughts and actions, which we pray with our continued efforts will strengthen us throughout the rest of the year. Like in Christianity and Judaism, fasting in Islam is for spiritual cleansing.
On March 14, Masjidullah: The Center for Human Excellence hosted the Multifaith Delegation and its first of three interreligious dinners where Muslims, Christians and Jews come together promoting peace and understanding of the three Abrahamic faiths. The Perfecting Church was scheduled to host the second dinner on Tuesday, March 21 in Sewell, N.J. and Congregation Rodeph Shalom will host the last dinner on March 28 in Philadelphia. During the first dinner, I had the honor and pleasure of giving those in attendance an overview of Ramadan and the purpose of the fast. The discussions amongst attendees following my presentation were engaging and many in attendance made new friends.
Ramadan falls in the 9th month of the Islamic lunar calendar. It commemorates the month in which the Holy Quran began being revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam.
“O Ye who believe, I have prescribed fasting for you as I prescribed for those before you so that you may learn self-restraint” – Holy Quran 2:183
While Muslims abstain from eating, drinking and intimate relations with their spouses during the
daylight hours, the fast entails and encourages so much more. As Muslims, we take this time to do more charitable giving with our financial resources and our time. We also spend more time working with those less fortunate in our communities. The fast also provides Muslims the opportunity to experience hunger like those with food insecurities every day, thus making us more empathetic to those in need and reminding us to be grateful.
Ramadan is also a time for increased self-reflection, increased worship and devotion to God by reading and reciting more intently from our holy scripture, the Quran.
With this year’s observance scheduled to begin at sunset on Wednesday March 22, the first day of fasting will be Thursday, March 23. Ramadan is scheduled to end on Friday April 21. Muslims will then celebrate the completion of Ramadan with Eid Al-Fitr (Festival or Feast of Breaking the Fast) scheduled for Saturday, April 22.
We look forward to joining the billion plus Muslims around the world in our collective observance of Ramadan this year to strengthen our faith, gratefulness, and love of God.
Imam Idris Abdul-Zahir is an imam affiliated with Masjidullah: The Center for Human Excellence in West Oak Lane.