Fasting for Muslim Holy Month of Ramadan Begins Today

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Most of the approximately 500,000 Muslims in the Greater Los Angeles area and millions around the world will begin fasting today for Ramadan, the holy month commemorating the first revelation of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar during which Muslim adults fast from dawn until dusk, unless they are ill, pregnant, diabetic, breastfeeding or traveling.

Fasting is one of the “five pillars'' of Islam, along with the declaration of faith, daily prayers, charity and pilgrimage to Mecca.

“The fast is performed to increase spirituality, discipline, self-restraint and generosity while obeying God's commandments,'' said Hussam Ayloush, executive director of CAIR-LA, Southern California's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization.

Ramadan began with prayer at sundown Monday.

The end of Ramadan will be marked by communal prayers called Eid ul-Fitr, the Feast of the Fast-Breaking, on May 13.

In his message on Ramadan, President Joe Biden said, “As many of our fellow Americans begin fasting, we are reminded of how difficult this year has been.  In this pandemic, friends and loved ones cannot yet gather together in celebration and congregation, and far too many families will sit down for iftar with loved ones missing.

“Yet, our Muslim communities begin the month of revelation with renewed hope. Many will focus on increasing their consciousness of the presence of God in their lives, reaffirming their commitment to the service of others that their faith compels, and expressing gratitude for the blessings they enjoy -- health, well-being, and life itself.''

Photo: Getty Images

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