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Interfaith Ramadan Iftar
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting (‘Saum’). It lasts 29-30 days based on the lunar calendar. The start of Ramadan can change each year since the Lunar calendar is shorter than the Gregorian calendar by 10-11 days. Muslims are expected to abstain from all food and drinks, and conjugal relationships while observing fasts from dawn to dusk during Ramadan. But they can enjoy all meals and activities after ‘iftaar’ or break of fast at dusk. The following are exempt from fasting: children, the sick, the elderly, and women who are either pregnant or on their period.
The Holy Quran says, “Oh you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may learn piety and righteousness” (2:183)
Observance of fasting is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam. Scholars believe that the Quran was first revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) during this month, making it particularly holy. The annual event is meant to help those observing to focus on prayer, purification, and charitable acts. Muslims believe that the physical ritual allows them to understand the suffering of others as well as increasing their closeness to God.
Ramadan in 2019 starts on May 6 and ends on June 3. The Eid al-Fitr (end of Ramadan fasting) celebration will be on June 4, which is the start of Shawwal, the next month in the Islamic calendar.