Muslim holiday of Ramadan begins

On July 9, the world’s one billion Muslims will begin to celebrate Ramadan, which many think of as the holiest holiday in Islam.

Ramadan is a time of self-purification and self-sacrifice. All who have reached puberty are expected to refrain from eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset. The only exceptions are the elderly and ill, pregnant women, nursing mothers, and travelers. Usually these individuals are expected to make up the fast days at another time or to help feed the poor. 

The fasting isn’t just for the sake of fasting, however. One interpretation is that it helps Muslims feel the suffering of poor people who are without food or water. It is also a time for them to reevaluate their lives in light of Islamic teachings and to close their bodies off from earthly demands. So as the body is fasting, the soul is being nourished. Another view is that fasting is a commitment, body and soul, to practicing self-restraint and refocusing on the worship of God.

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July 8, 2013

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