Every year millions of Muslims around the world engage in a monthlong fasting to fulfill one of the pillars of Islam. Upon reaching the age of puberty, Muslims with few exceptions must fast the month of Ramadan from dawn to dusk.
“Unlike other fasting observances, Shawal and Arafa day, Ramadan is an obligatory to all able Muslims,” said Sheikh Hassan Mohamud “Jaamici” of Da’wa Institute.
While fasting, believers avoid eating, drinking, having sex and fighting. Muslims are also required to pay Zakat, an amount of money that every adult has to pay to support the poor, and are expected to generously give to the poor on their own autonomy.
Additionally, they spend majority of their time at the mosque praying for forgiveness and guidance. Many of the local mosques provide Iftar, first meal after sunset, and Suhur, last meal before sunrise, to encourage worshipers.
“We provide Iftar and Suhur to about 100 worshipers at Da’wa every night,” Sheikh Hassan said.
Fasting is commonly practiced across all major religions — Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism and Islam. In fact, the ritual predates Islam.
“This tradition of fasting started way before prophet Mohamed,” Sheikh Hassan said. “Other prophets used to direct their followers to fast.”
However, the purpose of fasting varies from one religion to the other. For instance, Orthodox Christians fast in remembrance of the betrayal of Christ, whereas for Muslims, it’s a time of reflection, purification, giving and spirituality. Orthodox Christians refrain from eating animal products, while Muslims give up all sorts of food, drinks and activities.
Despite the long hours of fasting, extra time for praying and the fraction of one’s wealth that is to be given to the poor, Muslims look forward to this month. For adults, it’s a time to seek Allah’s forgiveness and a time to rejuvenate family relations.
Kids, on the other hand, look forward to the Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-adha — on both of which they receive gifts.
Minnesota Muslims take their kids to the Mall of America for rides, games and other treats.
The month of Ramadan is very special and dear to Muslims. It’s anxiety — weighted and stressed with such importance. By refraining from everyday evils, engaging in good deeds and prostrating to Allah, Muslims hope to purify themselves and earn Allah’s forgiveness and mercy.