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5 Things Everyone Should Know About Ramadan 2012

The holiest month in the Muslim faith is from July 20-Aug. 18, 2012. Here are the basic facts you should know about Ramadan.

The holiest month in the Islamic faith—Ramadan—will take place from July 20 through Aug. 18, 2012, according to the Fiqh Council of North America.

The month of Ramadan, which is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, is recognized and practiced all around the world for 28 to 30 days every year.

It is one of the five pillars of Islam and is known to be month of reflection and complete submission to Allah (God). Despite the number of historic events that took place in this holy month, here are five things everyone should know about Ramadan.

1. Ramadan is recognized to be the month in which the first verses of the holy Quran were revealed to the Islamic prophet, Muhammad. Layalat Al-Qadir is said to be the anniversary of the actual day when the Quran was presented to Muhammad and in English it is known as “the night of power”. Layalat al-Qadir usually falls within the last 10 days of Ramadan. On this night, thousands of Muslims gather together–usually in a mosque–to pray, recite Quran and worship until sunrise. Recitation of the entire Quran is also important to achieve throughout this month.

2. Throughout this month, Muslims do not eat or drink anything from sunrise to sunset. Fasting in Arabic is called sawm, and in English that means refrain. Fasting is supposed to teach self-descipline, patience and spirituality. However, participating in Ramadan is much more than not eating and drinking. People are encouraged to restrain themselves from any type of haram (sin). That includes backbiting, gossip, looking at unlawful things and using obscene words.

3. When Muslims break their fast it is called “Iftar." But Muslims don’t break their fast on just any food. Most take their first bite of the day from a fresh or dry date. This is preferred because the prophet Muhammad used to break his fast on these middle-eastern fruits. If dates cannot be found, water is a good second choice.

4. Family bonding time is cherished and looked forward to in the month of Ramadan. Everyone’s busy schedules are put on hold as they get together around the dinner table to share the first and most important meal of the day. Typically, large amounts of food are prepared for iftar that include soup, salad, appetizers, a main course and dessert.

5. Eid Al-Fatur is the day that follows the last day of Ramadan. It is the Muslim holiday that is celebrated after a new moon is sighted. People celebrate the Eid beginning with Salat al-Eid, a specific prayer for the day and visit family and close friends. Similar to Christmas or other religious holidays, Muslims tend to decorate their homes with lights and banners and exchange gifts that are usually clothes or money.

Ramadan Mubarak (Have a blessed Ramadan)!

Rich July 22, 2012 at 08:21 PM
I totally agree that this was a wonderful article. While I have lived in this city for 22 years, right next to wonderful Arabic neighbors, I was always shy (for some unknown reason) about talking about religion. Thanks again.
Rich July 22, 2012 at 08:27 PM
BTW, forgot to add that in my, and my wife's beliefs, is that God, Allah, & Yahweh are one and the same Supreme Being. There obviously are various differences throughout all 3 of these religions BUT I cannot see how anyone can logically dispute this fact. If we could all learn more about these religions (at least), maybe we could gradually learn to be able to coexist in peace and harmony. A Holy & Blessed Ramadan to all my Muslim friends and neighbors and all others throughout the world.
Charles L Walls July 26, 2012 at 05:22 PM
Those facts are "interesting", but I take some issue with the title/headline of the article in its use of the word "should". Why SHOULD non-Muslims know these things. If a non-Muslim is curious about Muslim practices, then these might indeed be interesting facts to know. But even the slightest hint that non-Muslims "should" know these facts in order to accommodate the behaviors and practices of Muslims is fundamentally obnoxious. How Muslims practice their religion should be regarded no differently than how Catholics or Jews or Buddists or athiests practice their beliefs -- that is: it is THEIR business alone, and non-Muslims or non-Christians or non-whatevers SHOULD NOT feel obligated in any way whatsoever to show undue respect for what they do not personally believe in.
Charles L Walls July 26, 2012 at 05:29 PM
It may also be good to remind each other about God, or about Buddha, or about Zeus, or about the absence of any god whatsoever -- depending upon one's own beliefs. What I find repugnant about ANY religious believer's behavior is any attempt to foist his religious beliefs (or non-beliefs) upon other people.
Rich July 26, 2012 at 06:31 PM
Regarding Charles Wallis's comments about WHY should we be interested AT ALL about some of the basic Muslim beliefs is that, probably with rare exceptions, all that people ever learned about the Muslim 'beliefs' (???) came from reading/hearing/seeing news articles about RADICALS who professed to be true Muslims (ie, Bin Laden, the 911 radicals, etc, etc. THEY ARE NOT THE REAL MUSLIM AROUND THE WORLD. They ARE the loud-mouthed, insane, RADICALS who take a select number of items out of the Quran to justify their hatred of other countries and beliefs. I went to school (Catholic BTW) with a number of Arabic kids. I assume at this point that they were probably Chaldeans (Christian). But I did not actually know hardly anything about the Muslim faith until it started being blasted across the airwaves everyday once the American-trained Bin Laden turned on us. Yes, we should have these similar articles about all major faiths - I would love to know some of the basics about all the major religions of the world.

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