Freedom New Mexico
More than 1 billion Muslims around the world have begun the observance of Ramadan, the month of fasting. It is believed that during Ramadan, the ninth month of the Muslim calendar, the Angel Gabriel began delivering the Quran, which was later transcribed into writing, to the Prophet Muhammad.
During Ramadan observant Muslims refrain from eating or drinking anything during daylight hours. At the end of the day the fast is broken with a small meal and prayers, followed by visiting family and friends.
Fasting in the Muslim tradition is designed to bring spiritual benefits, chiefly a release from physical constraints and desires so one can concentrate on worship and appreciation of Allah. The patience and forbearance induced by fasting extend to other areas of life. Simple fasting from food can be ruined – rendered not pleasing to Allah – if spoiled by telling lies, slander, denouncing someone behind his back, swearing a false oath, greed or covetousness.
During the month of fasting Muslims are expected to read the Quran with special intensity and to seek opportunities for good deeds, especially helping the poor.
The end of the month is marked by the three-day celebration of Eid al-Fitr, when gifts are exchanged, and families and friends gather for large meals.
In these days, when fanatics have done so much to discredit Islam in the eyes of all too many people, Ramadan is especially important as a time of renewal and deepening of faith for serious Muslims.