Month offers opportunity to learn about Islam, Muslim traditions
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 8/6/2010) — On Wednesday, Aug. 11,* the Muslim community in America and around the world will begin the month-long fast of Ramadan (rom-a-don), the 9th month of the Islamic lunar calendar during which Muslims abstain from food, drink and other sensual pleasures from dawn to sunset.
The fast is performed to exercise discipline, self-restraint and generosity, while obeying God’s commandments. Fasting (along with the declaration of faith, daily prayers, charity, and pilgrimage to Mecca) is one of the “five pillars” of Islam.
Local mosques will host interfaith iftars (fast-breaking meal) and other social activities. Mosques will also have special prayers, called taraweeh, after the daily nighttime prayer. In the last odd-numbered nights of Ramadan, Muslims mark Lailat ul-Qadr (“Night of Power” or “Night of Destiny”).
The Quran, Islam’s revealed text, states: “O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint.” (2:183)
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
* Because the beginning and end of Islamic lunar months depend on the sighting of the new moon and different communities use varying methods to determine the moon-sighting, the start and end dates for Ramadan may vary. Consult local mosques or contact a local CAIR chapter.
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