“Faith Matters” article published: “Ramadan” by John Akram


Faith matters


John Akram

Special to The Republic

May peace and blessings be upon everyone. Well, it’s that time of year again! Thanks to the Creator of us all we are here to be able to witness the Holy Month of Ramadan here in Arizona and throughout the entire world.

In 2024, the holy month may begin on Monday, March 11, and is expected to end on Tuesday, April 9. Both dates are projected and determined by the citing of the moon. The timing of Ramadan follows the lunar cycle that is dependent on the sighting of a crescent moon at the first and end of the month. The fasting period typically lasts between 28 and 30 days. The end of Ramadan is celebrated with Eid al-Fitr or ‘the feast of fast-breaking,’ which is expected to be celebrated on Wednesday, April 10 this year.

Ramadan was established over 1400 years ago when the Qur’an was first revealed to the prophet Muhammad in 610 CE. Throughout the month, Ramadan is celebrated through daily fasting, prayer, charity, focus to God, and self-discipline and self-sacrifice.

During Ramadan, sawm (fasting) (one of the pillars of Islam) is observed. While Sawm may mean to fast, it can also be interpreted to refrain from dawn to dusk, food, drink, and all forms of ‘immoral behavior.’

According to the Qur’an, eating and drinking are only permissible until the ‘white thread of light becomes distinguishable from the dark thread of night at dawn.’ The fast can be broken after evening prayer (Maghrib) with a meal called iftar that is often shared with loved ones.

Muslims who have reached puberty and are physically capable of fasting must abstain from liquids, food, sexual activities, gossip, negative thoughts, and bad intentions from dawn to dusk.

Some people may think that this may be a very difficult task to accomplish, however, once the individual realizes the whole idea of self-sacrifice of essential things like food and water like the poor people of the world. You realize how small a sacrifice this really is! Above all, this is a time of reflection, devotion, and redirection of our spiritual life to the Creator.

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May you all have a successful Ramadan and if you can, please visit one of the 46 local mosques and Islamic Centers in the State of Arizona.

John Akram is the Vice President, Board and Muslim Representative on the Interfaith Council of Arizona Interfaith Movement. Learn more about John at https://interfaithmovement.com/johnakram/.

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