Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, begins today with the sighting of the new moon. One may ask, “Why the uncertainty of the start and end of Ramadan?”
Ramadan is the ninth month on the Islamic calendar, which is based on the lunar system. The months on the lunar calendar begin and end with the sighting of the new moon. Because of this, the beginning of Ramadan rotates throughout every month of the standard Gregorian calendar from year to year.
Muslims all over the world look forward to Ramadan. The entire month is spent fasting, praying and reading the Quran. In fact, Ramadan is a month in which Muslims commemorate the Quran.
The Ramadan fast is applicable to all Muslims who have reached the age of puberty. The fast begins daily at dawn and continues until sunset. During the daylight hours, those who are fasting must abstain from food, drinks and intimate relationships. Immediately after sunset, those observing the fast are required to break the fast by eating and drinking; however, one is not to overindulge in these activities. While the daylight hours are spent fasting, much of the night is spent in prayer and reading the Quran.
The Ramadan fast is for the benefit of the “total person” — spiritually, mentally and physically. While fasting, a Muslim is conscious of the need to appreciate and respect both mankind and the outer world as creations of the almighty God.
Three days of celebration and thanksgiving follow the completion of the month of Ramadan. This celebration is known as Eid al-Fitr. This fast-breaking celebration will begin Aug. 19, depending on the sighting of the new moon, with an early-morning congregational prayer service.
For more information, call Chaplain (Capt.) Walid Habash at 480-5753.
(Courtesy of 86th Airlift Wing Chaplain Office)