Ramadan also known as Ramzan or Ramadhan is the holy month of the Islamic calendar. It is a period of fasting, charity-giving, prayers and self-accountability for Muslims. Fasting is the one of the five fundamental principles of Islam; each day during this holy month, the followers of Islam, known as Muslims, do not eat or drink from sunrise to sunset. They break their fasts by sharing meals with family and friends. The end of Ramzan is celebrated with a three-day festival known as Id al-Fitr which is considered one of Islam’s major holidays. The first verses of their holy book known as Koran or Qu'ran were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad was also written as Mohammad or Muhammed during the last third of Ramadan, making this an especially holy period.
After Christianity, Islam is the world’s second largest religion with more than 2 billion followers. Islam originated from Arabia but has spread all over the world. Countries with the largest Muslim populations include Pakistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Turkey, Iran, Indonesia, and Nigeria. There is estimation that more than 7 million Muslims are in America, along with Islamic places of worship, called mosques, in all 50 states.
Muslims believe that around 610 A.D. a man named Muhammad (c.570-632) from the city of Mecca started receiving revelations from God, or Allah, via the angel Gabriel. These revelations were collected from the holy book Quran; 114-chapter. Muhammad is said to be the last prophet in a line of Islamic prophets (including Adam, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus) who were chosen by God as messengers to teach the mankind. Muslims believe that there is one, all-knowing God, and people can attain salvation by following his commandments. In Arabic, Islam means “submission” or “surrender” (to God).
Do You Know?
America's first mosque was built by Lebanese immigrants in North Dakota in the 1920s. Later the mosque was torn down in the 1970s and replaced. It is the oldest surviving mosque in the United States and was constructed in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in the 1930s.
What Do People Do?
Ramadan is the holy month of fasting for many Muslims, and fasting during Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars (fundamental religious duties) of Islam. During this one month, people of Islamic faith are encouraged to read the entire Qur'an the holy book. However, some Muslims narrate the entire Qur'an by the end of Ramadan through special prayers known as Tarawih, which is held in mosques every night of this Ramadan month. People of Islam also believe that acts of charity will also help them to be closer to their God. Some Islamic centers and organizations actively take part in charity events and activities such as giving basic necessities, including food and clothing, to the homeless or donating school equipment to schools. Some schools of Islamic faith hold special events for students to welcome Ramadan.
During this holy month, many Islamic businesses and organizations may adjust their opening hours to suit prayer times during Ramadan in the United States. There may also be some blocking around mosques during the prayer times, mostly in the evenings.