Today marks start the ninth month and most reverent month of the Muslim calendar known as Ramadan—a remembrance of Muhammed’s first revelation of the Quran.
Many followers of the Prophet Muhammed around the world restructure their calendars to permit what is intended to be a month of heightened devotion and pursuit of Allah. For 29 to 30 days, Muslims seek spiritual rejuvenation through the reading of the Quran, prayer, and—most notably—fasting from sunrise to sunset.
The practice of fasting, known as sawm, is one of the Five Pillars of Islam and it is common practice for many Muslims to forgo food, drink, and other indulgences during the day. For Muslim youth, they begin their Ramadan practices at puberty. Those exempt from fasting due to age, illness, pregnancy, or travel are required to complete their fast at a future time. According to the Islamic Networks Group, “The ultimate goal of fasting is gaining greater God-consciousness, in Arabic, taqwa, signifying a state of constant awareness of God. From this awareness a person should gain discipline, self-restraint and a greater incentive to do good and avoid wrong.”
As the sun bids its daily farewell, Muslim families and friends enjoy each other’s company as they break their fast with an iftar meal. The conclusion of Ramadan is celebrated with Eid al-Fitr—a three-day festival that begins with prayer. In predominately Muslim areas of the world, schools and businesses close for this holiday.
Because the Muslim calendar is based on the lunar calendar, Ramadan’s start date changes each year and is based on the new moon crescent. In the United States, today—May 15—marks the beginning of this Muslim holy month. You can join us in praying for Muslims around the world during Ramadan—asking God to open their eyes to Jesus as they pursue greater awareness of God’s Hand at work in their lives.