InshaAllah, First Day of Ramadan will be Monday Aug 1st.
Cambridge will close its schools for one Muslim holiday each year beginning next year. Do you agree or disagree with the move?
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I see the Islamic Cultural Center in lower Manhattan as an act of grace—of demonstration that public intolerance of non-violent religious practice will not be tolerated in our midst.
Today begins the holy month of Ramadan, Islam’s most sacred time of year. It celebrates when Muhammad went to the desert, encountered Allah in the form of the archangel Gabriel, and received the scriptures that form the Qur’an.
There are about 1 billion Muslims around the world observing Ramadan. Muslims past the age of puberty are required to fast from sunrise to sundown this month. It is a strict fast — no food or water is allowed during daylight hours, and neither is smoking. Elderly people and sick people are exempt from fasting.
The point of the sacrifice is to become closer to God, to practice self-discipline, and to aid in self-purification. Each evening of Ramadan, the fast is broken after the sunset call to prayer with a meal called the iftar.
In many parts of the world, Ramadan is the most festive time of the year as well as the most solemn time. In places like Cairo, fancy restaurants serve all-you-can eat gourmet iftar buffets, and the city packs a month full of Ramadan nightlife into the calendar — concerts and theater and open-air dancehalls. All of this happens without alcohol, of course.
Ramadan ends exactly one lunar month after it begins, with the sighting of the new moon. It’s followed by a three-day feast called Eid al-Fitr, the Celebration of the Breaking of the Fast. People travel to be with their families or take a vacation from work. And everyone eats plenty.
The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor for Wednesday, August 11, 2010
"Nothing shall cross the lips." I am mindful of my friends beginning this month-long spiritual journey today. Ramadan Mubarak! Ramadan Kareem!