This weekend marks the end of the month-long celebration of Ramadan. It commemorates a significant moment in Islam: when the Quran was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad.
According to Pew Research Center, there are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world. Muslims across the globe observe this holy month of fasting, introspection, and prayer.
This week on Noon Edition, members of the Indiana Muslim community discussed Ramadan, its importance to the Islamic faith and how it is celebrated.
One of the central aspects of Ramadan is the observance of fasting between sunrise and sunset. Activist for the Openhearted Campaign Maha Noureldin explains that the fasting is more than just abstaining from food and water It is a cleansing, a rejuvenation, and a practice in self-discipline.
“Because it’s food and water, which are very basic necessities, it drives one’s mind into questioning what it means… what survival means. What does food mean? What does living mean? And needs. Do I need food and water? If I don’t need food and water to survive for 16, 17, sometimes 18 [hours]… Then what does one need? And more important than this; it invites us to question where things come from.”
The fast is then broken communally following sunset each night, followed by nightly prayers that can go well into the night. Often times Ramadan is a disruption of one’s daily routine with the addition of early morning prayers.
Interim Secretary General Habibe Ali says Ramadan is not only an inwardly spiritual experience, but it is also a time of increased fellowship and charity.
“Many communities have different kinds of outreach, not just for just the Muslim community, but for the larger society.”
Ali says volunteering in soup kitchens and feeding the less fortunate are some examples of outward expressions of thankfulness that can be seen during the month of Ramadan.
Although Ramadan is meant to be a peaceful celebration of the Quran, it is often used by militant fundamentalists as a call to action and violence.
General Secretary for the Islamic Center of Bloomington Yasin Ramazan says the Quran, like other holy texts, can be used to justify any acts of violence or political means.
“If you push any text hard enough, you can find evidences for your attitudes. So you’re found to be violent, you can find verses in the Bible, the Quran, anywhere. So the Quran is not the exception.”