Afeefa Syeed, the mother of three boys in Sterling, Virginia, states, “Ramadan is considered a visitor that comes once a year, so you open ...
Religion & Ethics Newsweekly:"Profile: Ramadan Observance"
Learn more about the Religion & Ethics segment "Profile: Ramadan Observance."
Stream, Download and Share
© 2001 Thirteen/WNET New York. All Rights Reserved.
Produced by Thirteen.
Produced by Thirteen.
Fasting during the month of Ramadan is a requirement for all healthy and able Muslims above the age of puberty. During this time, Muslims abstain from food and drink during the daylight hours. Muslims follow a lunar calendar, so the length of the daily fast varies from year to year. A lunar month spans about 29.5 days and is about one to two days shorter than a typical month in the solar Gregorian calendar. This means that a lunar calendar year is about 11 days shorter than the standard Gregorian year. As a result, dates of events in the Islamic lunar year “move forward” about 11 days every year. For example, in 2008 the first of Ramadan is September 1 and in 2009 it is August 22. This also means Ramadan can fall in different seasons.
Muslims rise early in the morning during Ramadan to have a pre-dawn meal, known as suhoor. The fast then begins at dawn and lasts until sunset. It is common for Muslims to break their fast with dried dates, a tradition of the Prophet Muhammad.
Muslims observe the month of Ramadan through increased worship and contemplation. More time is devoted to reading the Qur’an, the divinely revealed holy book of Islam, and other acts of piety. In the spirit of the holy month, it is prescribed that Muslims not only abstain from food and drink, but from negative thoughts and behaviors. Fasting and a positive mindset allow Muslims to naturally acquire and practice patience, perseverance, compassion, forgiveness, and generosity. The possession of these qualities helps complete the spiritual renewal Muslims experience during Ramadan.
The observance of Ramadan allows Muslims to increase their faith and become closer to God. The positive feelings and behaviors associated with Ramadan are qualities that Muslims hope to extend long after the month is over.
- What does Ramadan commemorate? Why is it considered the holiest of times?
- What are some of the things people may find challenging about observing Ramadan and the fast? How would it be more or less difficult as a child or young adult?
- Consider how the family in the video changes their daily routines to abide by their duties.