Archive for June 2015
The world’s 1.6 billion Muslims join today in the start of Ramadan, the holiest month of their year. Ramadan, a time of devotion and fasting, began last night.
It was during this month, according to Islamic belief, that the Quran, the holy book of Islam, was transmitted through the Archangel Gabriel to the prophet Muhammad some 14 centuries ago.
To fix their attention on spiritual matters, the faithful refrain from eating, drinking, smoking or sexual intercourse during daylight hours of Ramadan. Many Muslims also attend mosque services every night during the month. In most mosques, one-thirtieth of the Quran is read each night, so that the whole book is read during the month.
Observance of Ramadan is one of the five “pillars” or basic duties of Islam. The others are almsgiving, prayer five times daily, at least one pilgrimage to Mecca if possible, and the confession that ‘‘there is no deity but God, and Muhammad is his prophet.”
All adult believers are expected to observe Ramadan unless they are ill, traveling or defending their country in wartime. Women are not required to fast during menstruation or if nursing babies. But later, they are expected to fast for every day they have deferred it.
— Jim Davis