Ramadan Q&A and the Importance of Sharing Ramadan

Posted by: Jennifer Nimer Tags: | Categories: News

May
25

CAIR-Ohio is a proud supporter of the Sharing Ramadan initiative started by CAIR National as a way to help educate our fellow Ohioans about the month of Ramadan and in the process, educate our neighbors, colleagues, and friends about Islam and Muslims in Ohio. Given that sharing and appreciation are essential components of Ramadan, all three CAIR-Ohio Chapters host a Sharing Ramadan Interfaith Iftar every year.

The CAIR-Columbus 21st Annual Sharing Ramadan Iftar will take place this year on Friday, June 2 at the Dublin Recreation Center.  Click here for more details and to RSVP

The Importance of Sharing Ramadan

Ramadan is the month on the Islamic lunar calendar during which Muslims fast from the break of dawn to sunset, in order to learn discipline, generosity, and empathy for the many people in the world who go hungry. Ramadan is a special time of the year for Muslims all across the world. It is during this month that Muslims not only abstain from food and drink but also learn the importance of charity through fasting. What better way to exemplify the ideals of the month of Ramadan than by sharing in the experience with someone from another faith?

Each year Ramadan presents us with a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the interconnectedness of the Abrahamic faiths and our shared values as a community. By sharing Ramadan with others, we can show our friends and neighbors that Ohio Muslims are a part of the diverse community of this state.  We encourage individuals, families, local mosques, community centers, and Islamic schools to take this opportunity to invite their neighbors to join them for an iftar meal and learn more about our faith.  Those interested in organizing an event may download our Sharing_Ramadan_Resource_Guide_2017, which offers step-by-step advice on hosting an interfaith iftar.

Answer Questions About Ramadan for Your Neighbors

When Sharing Ramadan, this is an excellent opportunity the help answer questions that your friends, colleagues, and neighbors have about the month of Ramadan and the practices of Ramadan.

 

Q: How did the fast during Ramadan become obligatory for Muslims?

A: The revelations from God to the Prophet Muhammad that would eventually be compiled as the Quran began during Ramadan in the year 610, but the fast of Ramadan did not become a religious obligation for Muslims until the year 624. The obligation to fast is explained in the second chapter of the Quran:
O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint…Ramadan is the (month) in which was sent down the Quran, as a guide to mankind, also clear (signs) for guidance and judgment (between right and wrong). So every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting…” (Chapter 2, verses 183 and 185)

Q: What do Muslims believe they gain from fasting?
A: One of the main benefits of Ramadan is an increased compassion for those in need of the necessities of life, a sense of self-purification and reflection and a renewed focus on spirituality. Muslims also appreciate the feeling of togetherness shared by family and friends throughout the month. Perhaps the greatest practical benefit is the yearly lesson in self-restraint and discipline that can carry forward to other aspects of a Muslims’s life such as work and education.

Q: What is Iftar?
A:  The word “iftar” means “fast breaking” in English.  It is the fast breaking meal which takes place at sunset every night during Ramadan.  Every evening, Muslims around the world gather in their homes and mosques to break their fast together with their families and communities. Iftar is an integral part of Muslim community life during the sacred month of Ramadan.

Q: Why does Ramadan begin on a different day each year?
A: Because Ramadan is a lunar month, it begins about eleven days earlier each year. Throughout a Muslim’s lifetime, Ramadan will fall both during winter months, when the days are short, and summer months, when the days are long and the fast is more difficult. In this way, the difficulty of the fast is evenly distributed between Muslims living in the northern and southern hemispheres.

Q: Is it difficult to perform the fast in America?
A: In many ways, fasting in American society is easier than fasting in areas where the climate is extremely hot.  However, in Muslims countries, most people are observing the fast, so there are fewer temptations such as luncheon meetings, daytime celebrations and offers of food from friends.

Q: How can co-workers of other faiths and friends help someone who is fasting?
A: Employers, co-workers and teachers can help by understanding the significance of Ramadan and by showing a willingness to make minor allowances for its physical demands. Special consideration can be given to such things as requests for vacation time, the need for flexible early morning or evening work schedules and lighter homework assignments. It is also very important that Muslim workers and students be given time to attend Eid prayers at the end of Ramadan. Eid is as important to Muslims as Christmas and Yom Kippur are to Christians and Jews. A small token such as a card (there are Eid cards available from Amazon.com) or baked goods given to a Muslim co-worker during Eid ul-Fitr would also be greatly appreciated. Hospital workers should be aware that injections and oral medications might break the fast. Patients should be given the opportunity to decide whether or not their condition exempts them from fasting.

Q: How do Muslims Celebrate the Ending of Ramadan?
A: Muslims around the world celebrate the ending of the month of fasting with a day of celebration and gift-giving called Eid ul-Fitr. Eid ul-Fitr is a true day of giving thanks for all Muslims as they show their real joy for the health, strength and opportunities of life which God has given to them to fulfill their obligation of fasting and other good deeds during the blessed month of Ramadan. The day of celebration is traditionally started with a offering of prayers at a local Islamic center as well as a short sermon that focuses on the blessings of God

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