Millions of Muslims around the world celebrate the Islamic holiday Ramadan, including faculty and students attending OCCC.
According to about.com, Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar in which Muslims fast for the sake of demonstrating submission to God, and to offer additional prayers and Quran recitations. The site states it is more than just not eating or drinking; it is also a time to purify the soul, refocus attention to God and practice self-sacrifice. The site states Muslims are called upon to re-evaluate their lives in light of Islamic guidance.
“It’s a fasting month,” Muslim Student Amin Shariat Zadeh said. “People don’t eat or drink from sunrise to sunset.” Zadeh said he works in the OCCC Communications Lab.
Zadeh said fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Muslim faith, which are five essential duties that all Muslim must fulfill. He said although many think of Ramadan as a religious celebration for only Muslims, anyone can celebrate it; however, the majority who do are Muslims.
Although Ramadan begins July 21 in North America, others around the world will celebrate it a day earlier according to whenis.com. The website states each year the date of Ramadan changes, due to the fact that the Muslim calendar is based on the lunar cycle, which is approximately 11 to 13 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar.
Zadeh said Ramadan lasts for a whole month. He said during the month, the faithful do not drink any water or smoke.
Zadeh said fasting becomes even more difficult when he sees others eating.
“It’s hard, especially when your body is craving food and water, but you say no to it,” Zadeh said.
Hajj, the Islamic word for almsgiving is another pillar of Muslim faith, Zadeh said. Acts of charity, such as serving the needy and poor, are performed during Ramadan, he said.
Zadeh said a new crescent moon marks the ending of Ramadan and marks a new holiday called Fitr. He said during Fitr, it is forbidden to eat and a celebratory feast marks the ending of Ramadan.
“I remember as a child the fun rituals and listening to religious chanting and prayers,” Zadeh said. He said he prays and recites the Quran like many others do during the sacred celebration of Ramadan.
Zadeh said he has been celebrating Ramadan since he was 10-years-old. He said he and his mother celebrate each year. Zadeh said when he thinks of Ramadan he thinks of peaceful times.
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