Religions and Spirituality

Introduction to Ramadan, the Month of Fasting

738be3a7e6e3a47c7727_16ea8cd4c9e75615af5f_icuc2.jpg
738be3a7e6e3a47c7727_16ea8cd4c9e75615af5f_icuc2.jpg

What is Ramadan?

Millions of Muslims around the world will mark the start of Ramadan — a month of intense prayer, dawn-to-dusk fasting and nightly feasts. Fasting is one of the Five Pillars of the religion of Islam and one of the highest forms of Islamic worship. Abstinence from earthly pleasures and curbing evil intentions and desires is regarded as an act of obedience and submission to Allah as well as an atonement for sins, errors, and mistakes. Called Ramadan, Muslims fast during this month from the moment when it first starts to get light until sunset.  Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.  Muslims all over the world abstain from eating, drinking, smoking, sexual activity, as well as participating in anything that is ill-natured or excessive.

When is Ramadan?

Sign Up for E-News

Fasting for Ramadan begins at sunrise on May 27.  The first night of prayers is May 26 at 10:00 p.m.  The end of Ramadan is celebrated on June 25.


Why do Muslims fast all day?

Muslims fast as an act of faith and worship toward Allah, seeking to suppress their desires and increase their spiritual piety. Muslims often donate to charities during the month and feed the hungry.  Fasting is an exercise in self-restraint. It’s seen as a way to physically and spiritually detoxify by kicking impulses like morning coffee, smoking and midday snacking.

Ramadan is a time to detach from worldly pleasures and focus on one’s prayers. Many Muslims dress more conservatively during Ramadan and spend more time at the mosque than at any other time of the year.  Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam, along with the Muslim declaration of faith, daily prayer, charity, and performing the hajj pilgrimage in Mecca.



How do Muslims fast?

Observant Muslims abstain from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk for the entire month of Ramadan, with a single sip of water or a puff of a cigarette considered enough to invalidate the fast.  Muslim scholars say it’s not enough to just avoid food and drink during the day, though. Spouses must abstain from sexual intercourse during the day, and Muslims should not engage in road rage, cursing, fighting or gossiping.

Muslims are also encouraged to observe the five daily prayers on time and to use their downtime just before breaking their fast at sunset to recite Quran and intensify remembrance of Allah.

To prepare for the fast, Muslims eat what is commonly called “suhoor,” a pre-dawn meal of power foods to get them through the day.

How do Muslims break their fast?

Muslims traditionally break their fast like the Prophet Muhammad did some 1,400 years ago, with a sip of water and some dates at sunset. That first sip of water is by far the most anticipated moment of the day.

After a sunset prayer, a large feast known as “Iftar” is shared with family and friends. Iftar is a social event as much as it is a gastronomical adventure. Across the Arab world, juices made from apricots are a staple at Ramadan Iftars. In South Asia and Turkey, yogurt-based drinks are popular.

Across the Muslim world, mosques and aid organizations set up tents and tables for the public to eat free Iftar meals every night of Ramadan.

Can Muslims be exempted from fasting?

Yes. There are exceptions for children, the elderly, the sick, women who are pregnant or menstruating and people traveling, which could include athletes during tournaments.

Many Muslims, particularly those who live in the U.S. and Europe, are accepting and welcoming of others around them who are not observing Ramadan. They also are not expecting shorter work hours, as is the case in the public sector across much of the Arab world during Ramadan.

What is Eid al-Fitr and How do Muslims mark the end of Ramadan?

The end of Ramadan is marked by intense worship as Muslims seek to have their prayers answered during “Laylat al-Qadr” or “the Night of Destiny.” It is on this night, which falls during the last 10 nights of Ramadan, that Muslims believe that Allah sent the Angel Gabriel to the Prophet Muhammad and revealed the first versus of the Quran.

Some devout Muslims go into reclusion those final days, spending all of their time in the mosque.

The end of Ramadan is celebrated by a three-day holiday called Eid al-Fitr. Children often receive new clothes, gifts and cash.

Muslims attend early morning Eid prayers the day after Ramadan. Families usually spend the day at parks and eating — now during the day.

Eid al-Fitr  “festival of breaking of the fast”, also called Feast of Breaking the Fast, the Sugar Feast, is an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting (sawm). The religious Eid is a single day during which Muslims are not permitted to fast. The holiday celebrates the conclusion of the 29 or 30 days of dawn-to-sunset fasting during the entire month of Ramadan. The day of Eid, therefore, falls on the first day of the month of Shawwal. This is a day when Muslims around the world show a common goal of unity. The date for the start of any lunar Hijri month varies based on the observation of new moon by local religious authorities, so the exact day of celebration varies by locality. However, in most countries, it is generally celebrated on the same day.

Muslims believe that they are commanded by Allah, as mentioned in the Quran, to continue their fast until the last day of Ramadan and pay the Zakat efitar ( give money to the poor) before offering the Eid prayers.
 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Union

The Week Ahead in Union

June 18, 2018

UNION, NJ - Happenings in Union this week:

Monday, 6/18

Union Township Active Retirees (Monday Club), 10:00 a.m., Senior Center
Adult Coloring, 1:15 p.m., Vauxhall Public Library
Construction Zone, 3:30 p.m., Union Public Library
Read to Waldi, 4:15 p.m., Union Public Library
Connect, Explore & Discover Digital Resources, 7:00 p.m., Union Public Library

Tuesday, ...

The Week Ahead in Union

UNION, NJ - Happenings in Union this week:

Monday, 6/11

Union Township Active Retirees (Monday Club), 10:00 a.m., Senior Center
Adult Prize Bingo, 1:15 p.m., Vauxhall Public Library
Construction Zone, 3:30 p.m., Union Public Library
Career Coach, 6:00 p.m., Vauxhall Public Library
Donuts with Your Dude,6:00 p.m., Vauxhall Public Library

Tuesday, 6/12

Senior Citizens ...

Friends of the Union Public Library Book Sales

UNION, NJ - The Friends of the Union Public Library are holding a book sale on Saturday, June 16.

The all-day book sale will be held at the Main Library.  Books, CDs, DVDs and more will be available.  Fill up a bag with items for $10.00.

 

The Friends of the Union Public Library  support the Library in its effort to encourage the community to connect, explore and ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_1745e208dced874ffd8b_e6e6158b48ac79ad3add_chair_yoga__1_

Wed, June 20, 10:15 AM

Union Public Library, Union

Chair Yoga in the Library

Carousel_image_1745e208dced874ffd8b_e6e6158b48ac79ad3add_chair_yoga__1_

Wed, June 27, 10:15 AM

Union Public Library, Union

Chair Yoga in the Library

Carousel_image_8420ddb2ac6fea203247_77ffa6f07bdfa645268e_11th_annual_soapbox_derby_flyer

Wed, July 4, 10:00 AM

Stuyvesant Ave, Union

Annual All-American Soapbox Derby

Arts & Entertainment

Union Residents Make Dean's List at the University of Delaware

June 18, 2018

NEWARK, DE - Students from Union have been named to the University of Delaware Dean's List for the Spring 2018 semester:

Natalie Caggiano 

Julia Hayes 

Steven Medina 

Maria Rocha 

To meet eligibility requirements for the Dean's List, a student must be enrolled full-time and earn a GPA of 3.33 or above (on a 4.0 scale) for the semester.

 

Kayla Douberley Graduates Elmira College

ELMIRA, NY - Kayla Douberley of Union was among the graduates celebrated at the 160th Elmira College Commencement on Saturday, June 2. The exercises, held at the Murray Athletic Center, Pine Valley, included 270 undergraduate and 27 graduate students.

Members of the 2018 Elmira College graduating class were recognized with multiple honors and prizes, including induction into Phi Beta Kappa, ...

Rashaunda Beasley of Union Earns a Bachelor's Degree from Georgia State University

ATLANTA, GA - Rashaunda Beasley of Union earned a bachelor's degree from Georgia State University during May 2018. More than 2,000 students earned bachelor's degrees from the university this spring, with more than 4,000 students earning degrees at the associate's, bachelor's, master's, specialist and doctoral levels.

Georgia State University, an enterprising urban public ...

Honey Bees Found in Dumpster Relocated

June 15, 2018

UNION COUNTY, NJ – The County found themselves in a sticky situation last week when a swarm of honey bees were discovered at a construction dumpster at the County Administration building.

A social media post by the County said a pair of beekeepers from the nonprofit organization Groundwork Elizabeth came to the scene on Friday, and the bees were relocated to the Elmora Public Library, as ...

Union Catholic Grad, Olympian Sydney McLaughlin Wins NCAA Title, Announces She's Going Pro

EUGENE, OREGON — College freshman phenom Sydney McLaughlin, who graduated from Union Catholic last year, won the women's 400-meter hurdles for the University of Kentucky at the NCAA Championships on Saturday at Hayward Field, and then announced after the meet that she's turning pro.

McLaughlin, a U.S. Olympian in the 400 hurdles in 2016, completed one of the ...

Freeholder Rebecca Williams Joins the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders

UNION COUNTY, NJ - Assemblywoman Linda Carter administered the oath of office to Freeholder Rebecca Williams as she joins the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

Williams was joined by her godson Liam Phillips Brown. Williams, a resident of Plainfield and former Councilwoman, will complete the term left vacant by Carter, who recently resigned to become the State Assemblywoman for ...

Boundless Talent on Display at Hannah Caldwell School

June 15, 2018

UNION, NJ –Talent was on full display last week as over 40 students participated in Hannah Caldwell School’s Talent Show, with singing, dancing, musical instrument performances, and even a comedian.

“This is a special performance because the children are in control.  All of the acts in the show were prepared outside of school by the students,” said music teacher ...

Battle Hill and Hannah Caldwell Students Celebrate Reading Accomplishments

UNION, NJ – Young readers in Hannah Caldwell and Battle Hill Elementary Schools enjoyed the fruits of their labor on Wednesday when they celebrated their accomplishments in this year's Olympic Reading Programs.

Librarian Karen Franciosa said, “I couldn't be more proud of the students who worked diligently throughout the year to accomplish their personal reading ...

Red Carpet Moment for Union High Seniors

UNION, NJ – Prom night for Union High School seniors means red carpet glamour.  

And glamour was on full display at the annual red carpet walk Thursday evening, as Union High students walked the red carpet, alone or with their date(s), to a cheering crowd. 

Sponsored by the Union Township Community Action Organization, Inc., the event showcased beautiful gowns ...

Mountainside Officials: We Knew Nothing About Allegations Until Lawsuit was Filed

June 9, 2018

MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ – The mayor and council of Mountainside have gone on record stating they had no knowledge of the incidents alleged in the lawsuit filed on May 11 against the borough “until the filing of the lawsuit.”

The borough has also “retained former New Jersey State Police Superintendent Joseph Santiago” to help restore public trust in the department, ...

Beatles Lecture @ Union Public Library

June 16, 2018

The Union Public Library will be hosting an interactive lecture about the early years of the Beatles on Monday, July 9th at 6:30 p.m as part of its “Libraries Rock!” summer series.  Presenter Paul Groom, who lived the first 17 years of his life in Liverpool, England and went to some of the same schools as the Beatles, will discuss the lesser known Beatles story about their days ...

Union County College Hires New Dean of Humanities

CRANFORD – Dr. Melissa R. Sande is the new Dean of Humanities for Union County College. Dr. Sande joined Union in the fall of 2013 as a full-time instructor of English. She has more than ten years of teaching experience and has previously served as a program coordinator, writing tutor, and an adjunct instructor.

As the Dean of Humanities, Dr. Sande will be responsible for the supervision ...

Help Is Available for Suicide Prevention

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders reminds residents that trained counselors at NJ Hopeline will provide confidential, anonymous guidance for people who may be having suicidal thoughts, or who know someone at risk.

NJHopeline may be contacted 24/7 by phone at 855-654-6735 or by live chat at njhopeline.com.

In addition, Union County residents can contact the County’s ...

“Back in Time” Offers Enriching Experience for Union County Residents with Special Needs

The Union County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs hosted its first “Back in Time” history program last week at the Deserted Village of Feltville in the Watchung Reservation. The new program aims to provide an interactive learning opportunity for County residents including those with disabilities and special needs.

“The Freeholder Board is proud to support our parks, ...

Columns

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 16

Summer is in the air, and the latest episode of AtlantiCast is ready to help you enjoy some fun outdoors while staying safe! This week’s episode opens with tips for sunscreen usage from Atlantic Health System’s Chief Medical and Academic Officer, Dr. Jan Schwarz-Miller. You’ll also learn about how Atlantic Health System is advancing the future of health care through ...

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn (William Morrow, 2018)

 

A friend, whose opinion on literature I respect greatly, reported to me recently that she had just finished reading A.J. Finn's debut novel, The Woman in the Window. Of it she said, “I wish I hadn't finished it,” which I interpreted to mean, “It was so good I'm sorry that I finished it.” ...

What Union is Reading: Month ending May 2018

June 6, 2018

Some great new books have topped the list in May; how many have you read? The top circulating print books in six categories for the Union Public Library in May 2018 follows. The top circulated digital books from RBdigital make up the seventh category; download the app today and start borrowing books from home to read or listen on your phone or tablet!

For suggestions for similar reads, stop by ...

Union's Oldest Home is On the Market

June 4, 2018

UNION, NJ – History is on display at real estate showings of Union's oldest house.

The house, referred to as the Brandt-Headley Farm House, is at 1835 Vauxhall Road

The listing for the home says it was built in 1783.  But according to Tom Haggery of the Union Historical Society, an 1882 book references that the west wing of the home was built around 1700.  ...

Could Monmouth Park's Haskell Invitational Be on Justify's Agenda?

June 13, 2018

ELMONT, NY — Triple Crown winner Justify came out of his stall to meet the media bright and bouncing on the morning after his gate-to-wire win in the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes.

When asked to assess his colt's win, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert reported, “We were watching replays of the race. He could have gone around again.”

The brilliantly colored ...

Letters to the Editor

Get Empowered to Help Prevent Suicide

June 8, 2018

Over the past week social media and the news have been filled with stories and articles encouraging people to seek help if they’re in emotional distress. There have been countless articles about the need to break the silence around the topic of mental health and suicide, and I am encouraged by the support people are extending to others.

Often, the death by suicide by prominent ...