Ramadan [...] in Islam, the ninth month of the Muslim year, during which all Muslims must fast during the daylight hours. Indulgence of any sort is forbidden during the fast. There are only a few who are exempt, e.g., soldiers, the sick, and the young. Because of the purely lunar calendar, Ramadan falls in different seasons. The final day of Ramadan, Id al-Fitr, is celebrated by a day of feasting. The first revelation of the Qur'an is commemorated in this month.
The Columbian Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition
When does Ramadan begin? It depends on where one lives and what tradition one follows (See Islamic Calendar). This year (2003) it either begins on Oct. 27.
About half [of Britain's] Muslims will begin fasting on Friday morning, while the other half will delay the start until Saturday.
It is a similar story across the Muslim world, despite efforts each year to reach agreement.
The start of Ramadan begins when the new moon is sighted, according to Islamic texts from the age of the Prophet Mohammed.
Modern astronomy can calculate it more precisely and says the new moon arrives on Thursday evening.
Clerics in Birmingham are among those who have declared they will observe the astronomical times and fast from dawn on Friday.
But many other British Muslims will wait for the first physical sighting in Saudi Arabia to be relayed to London.
Overcast skies could delay this happening until Friday night, which means fasting will not start until Saturday.
Source: Moon sightings split Ramadan start, BBC, Nov. 15, 2001
The Quran requires Muslims to follow five basic practices, sometimes called the five pillars of Islam. These include the great confession, prayers, almsgiving, the fast of Ramadan, and the pilgrimage to Mecca.
What You Need to Know About Islam & Muslims, George W. Braswell, Jr., Broadman & Holman Publishers, Nashville, TN. 2000. P. 31
Ramadan is derived from the Arabic root word ramida or ar-ramad denoting intense scorching heat and dryness, especially the ground. From the same root there is ramdaa, sunbaked sand, and the famous proverb: ''Kal Mustajeer minar Ramadaa binnar'' - to jump out of the frying pan into the fire. And in a hadith the Messenger of Allah (saas) said: ''The prayer of repenters is due when the young camel can feel the sun's heat early in the morning.'' (Muslim)
Thus, the word Ramadan is so called to indicate the heating sensation in the stomach as a result of thirst). Others said it is so called because Ramadan scorches out the sins with good deeds, as the sun burns the ground. Some said it is so called because the hearts and souls are more readily receptive to the admonition and remembrance of Allah during Ramadan, as the sand and stones are receptive to the sun's heat. The framers of this beautiful language may have been inspired by Allah (SWT) in naming this month Ramadan. Otherwise, the relation between the heat and its properties is miraculously similar to that of Ramadan. While the heat represents the matter that helps shape, form, and mold virtually every matter - from metal and plastics, to plants and living cells - Ramadan undoubtedly helps a serious believer remold, reshape, reform, and renew his physical and spiritual disposition and behavior.
Ramadan is a challenge to Christians. It challenges our lack of discipline, especially in prayer and fasting. It challenges us with the fact that so few Muslims have become followers of Jesus. It is also an extremely strategic time for us as Christians to believe that God would sovereignly reveal Himself to those who do not yet know Him.
As an act of identification with the Muslim World, Christians are being encouraged to seriously pray for the 1.1 billion Muslims, most of whom have never heard the Gospel. Next Ramadan, as many as 10 million people are expected to take part in the [...] annual global month of prayer. Throughout history there are countless testimonies of Muslims receiving dreams and visions of Jesus. Often these visions are the result of years of prayer and labour by Godís people, including martyrdom.
Many Christians who took part in the last 30 Days Muslim Prayer Focus commented on how much they learned about Islam, and that their often fearful, simplistic views about Muslims were displaced by faith and loving concern as they read about and prayed for Muslims.
Ramadan, The Month of Fasting
What should our attitude be as Christians toward the Muslim Fast? An article from Arab World Missions
30 Days Muslim Prayer Focus The 30 Days Muslim Prayer Focus coincides with the annual Muslim fasting month of Ramadan (which this year starts on Nov. 6). This annual international mobilization (since 1993) calls Christians everywhere to pray for, learn about, and reach out to the Muslim peoples of the world, so that they may at least have an opportunity to consider God's grace revealed in Jesus Christ.
Essentials of Ramadan the Fasting month, by Tajuddin B. Shu'aib
» Religion News Blog News about religious cults, sects, alternative religions and related issues.
» Google News roundup of newspaper- and web news articles mentioning Ramadan
» Database of archived news items
(Includes items added between Oct. 25, 1999 and Jan. 31, 2002. See about this database)
30 Days - Muslim Prayer Focus Coinciding with Ramadan, the annual "30 Days Muslim Prayer Focus" calls all Christians to pray for all Muslims.
Ramadan Information Center Extensive collection of information, including articles, webcasts, online Ramadan prayers, etcetara. Muslim perspective.
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