by: Joy Terrell, Clinical Compliance Coordinator, Compliance and Contract Department
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is observed by Muslims all over the world as a month of fasting. The beginning of this holy month is subject to the sighting of the first crescent of the new moon and will continue for the next 29 or 30 days till the sighting of the new moon. This year, the new moon has been sighted and fasting officially began on Monday, May 6.
During this month, Muslims focus on increasing their good deeds. Many activities include feeding those who are less fortunate or homeless. Also, they consciously make an effort to do good for others including neighbors, community members, family and friends. A lot of emphasis is placed on reading the Holy Quran and reconnecting to the word of God. Reading and learning together as a family is encouraged.
Ramadan is a time of cleansing spiritually, and we pray that the behaviors and good habits that we learn within the month are carried throughout the year until the next Ramadan.
Women who are pregnant or nursing, individuals who are sick, traveling, elderly or children under 13 are exempt from fasting.
What Muslims Eat During Ramadan
While fasting from dawn until sunset and fulfilling other religious obligations, Muslims eat two times a day. The morning meal, consumed prior to dawn is referred to as Suhoor. Iftar is the meal served after sunset. Traditionally, the fast is broken with dates and milk or water, however, it can be broken with any food or beverage. Iftar meals are arranged in Muslim households, restaurants and at local Mosques daily. Usually, Muslims eat Suhoor and Iftar at home with family, but with the changing times, they opt for eating out once in a while with friends.
What Does this Mean for Non-Muslims?
In light of all of the hate crimes that we continue to face worldwide, those of us who live in the spirit of love and peace must unify and show our power by standing in solidarity as humankind. Here’s what a church in Minnesota is doing to show their support to their Muslim neighbors during this month.
Also, check out this great article by US Today for more information about Ramadan.