Ramadan started last Saturday, September 23, earlier than expected. It is the ninth month of Hijiri or the Islamic Calendar. It is considered as the most blessed and holiest month for the Muslims. It is also the month which they practice fasting, charity, and longer hours for prayers.
Fasting (sawm) starts from dawn to dusk for the entire month of Ramadan. Muslims believe that during Ramadan, the revelation of the Qu’ran to the Prophet Muhammad began. Fasting during this month is often thought to figuratively burn away all sins. Furthermore, the Prophet Muhammad told his followers that the gates of Heaven would be open all the month and the gates of Hell would be closed.
The practice of fasting varies for every country. Like what Subi, our Pakistani neighbor told me that, the Indians can eat anything as long as it is a fruit from any trees but not the meat from animals. But for them , the Pakistans they only eat at dawn and resume their meals at dusk. She told me also that she refrained from watching television and even talking too much is prohibited and should pray more in order to cleanse the body and mind and nurture the spirit.
My Algerian friend, Gezalla, she told me that during the month of Ramadan , she has to get up early for her to prepare food before the sun rises which is called, suhoor. And as I observed her (this was the time that we were working together) she resumes eating after the sun sets, the iftar, and to break the fast, usually she eats only dates and drink fresh milk.
And the owner of our company, who’s a Sheik, always prepares a buffet (these tents full of food are for those who are less fortunate).
It is a time of worship and contemplation. A time to strengthen family and community ties.
To all my Muslim friends, Ramadan Kareem!