11 things you need to know about Ramadan
by: MATT GLEASON World Scene Writer
9/2/2008 12:00 AM
This year, millions of Muslims celebrate Ramadan from the first of September until the end of the month. Sheryl Siddiqui of the Islamic Society of Tulsa explained the sacred event.
1. Ramadan is a holy month when the Quran, the last of the sacred scriptures (after the revelations to Abraham, Moses, David and Jesus), was revealed to Muhammad between 610-632 A.D.
2. In Ramadan, Muslims focus on growing closer to God and learning self-discipline.
3. God tells us that fasting helps Muslims remain God-conscious — that the righteous peoples before them also were ordained to fast.
4. A fasting Muslim will not eat or drink anything from one hour before sunrise until after sunset, nor should they argue, swear, smoke or indulge in intercourse. That's the self-discipline part.
5. Muslims also grow closer to God and strengthen their faith by reading, meditating and memorizing scripture. Muslims try to follow Prophet Muhammad's tradition of reading/reciting the complete Quran in this month.
6. Many Muslims attend the mosque all 30 nights of the month to join the special Ramadan prayer called Taraweeh, during which the Quran is recited from cover to cover, then started again.
7. Another way Muslims grow closer to God is through works of charity — more good deeds, more donations, more selfless acts. Feeding of the hungry here and abroad is the most common act.
8. "Who doesn't have to fast?" Children who are too young, people who are too frail or mentally unstable, people who are sick or traveling, women who are pregnant, nursing or who have their periods.
9. "How do those nonfasting Muslims join in the spirit of Ramadan?" They feed a hungry person for every day that they cannot fast, then adults whose nonfasting conditions were temporary will make up the missed fasts later.
10. "So what do Muslims eat?" We shamelessly bribe youngsters with their favorite foods for breakfast an hour before sunrise, especially proteins and fluids, then after sunset we enjoy appetizers, dates, juices, fruits, vegetables and pastries. Then we pray the sunset prayer and enjoy all of our favorite main courses and desserts, usually with lots of friends and families as many nights as possible.
11. By the end of Ramadan, we feel so thankful for our food and pure, clean water — so many people at the end of a fasting day still don't have any; we're thankful for people to share them with. Over the course of the month we'll meet dozens of new friends. We'll have new insights into our scriptures and the reality of the life around us. Life is precious.
Matt Gleason 581-8473
A Saudi vendor displays a slice of watermelon to customers
at Otaiga market in
MORE IS BETTER
Siddiqui: "More good deeds, more donations, more selfless acts."
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