It’s the most wonderful time of the year for Muslims worldwide — and the estimated 10,000 who live in Charlotte.
Ramadan is the holiest month in the Islamic faith and marks when the Qur’an, the holy book of Islam, descended upon Prophet Muhammad. Muslims in Charlotte and around the world will spend the next 30 days fasting and worshipping God. It is a special time when each Muslim is able to renew his/her faith in God by fasting daily.
Here’s a list for non-Muslims to keep in mind as the month is underway in Charlotte.
1) Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.
During Ramadan, Muslims partake in fasting (Sawm) which is one of the five pillars of Islam. The other four pillars include Shahada (profession of faith), Salat (daily prayers), Zakat (Charity), and Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca). Although, fasting, prayer and charity are obligatory actions for Muslims, they are gravely important during this month.
2) Unlike Christmas or New Years, Ramadan does not start on the same date each year.
Due to the Islamic lunar calendar, Ramadan is only marked after an actual sighting of the crescent moon. The month actually ends after the appearance of a new moon. Islamic leaders in Charlotte marked the appearance of the new moon Sunday night.
3) Muslims do not fast the entire month of Ramadan, only between sunrise and sunset each day.
We are not allowed to eat or drink throughout the day, not even water. Although fasting is extremely difficult, it’s not unbearable to be around others who are eating or drinking. However, be mindful if a co-worker declines a morning doughnut or grab a bite to eat for lunch.
You might not fast with us but you’re more than welcome to join us for Iftar (the meal to break fast). Many local mosques such as Islamic Center of Charlotte or the Islamic Society of Greater Charlotte will host many iftar dinners throughout the month. The community is invited to one on June 16 at the Islamic Society of Greater Charlotte in the University area.
4) Not only do Muslims restrain themselves from eating or drinking during the day but all immoral behaviors.
Ramadan is the month of soul purification. We strive to abstain from all immoral activity during this time but also try to refrain from any and all activities that weaken our connection with God. This month is solely dedicated to cultivating our spiritual connection with God and dismissing anything that stands in the way of that.
5) Not everyone can fast during Ramadan, there are a few exceptions.
Such as individuals who are sick, those who are traveling, elderly people as well as women who are pregnant, menstruating or breast-feeding.
With more than 10,000 Muslims who live in the greater Charlotte area, it is more than likely a Muslim person is your neighbor or colleague. Not only is this month designated for Muslims to grow as spiritual individuals but also an opportunity for us to grow as a community to learn more about the fastest growing religion in the world.