Sigma Lambda Beta wishes a blessed Ramadan to all of our Muslim Brothers and friends. To help spread the message of cultural awareness, we asked Brother Sherief Elabbady (Alpha Beta) to give us some insights on this important time of the year.
What is Ramadan?
May 27th marks the first day of Ramadan where 1.6 billion Muslims around the world begin to fast from sunrise to sundown every day for an entire month. Ramadan is the ninth holiest month of the Muslim lunar calendar, and occurs 11 days earlier each year, where we fast from eating or drinking (even water).
Ramadan is a time of worship, reading of the Holy Qur’an, giving charity, purifying one’s behavior, and doing good deeds. As a secondary goal, fasting is a way of experiencing hunger and developing empathy for the less fortunate, and learning to be thankful and appreciative for all of our blessings. Fasting is only required for people who are physically able to do so. The elderly, sick and mentally ill are all exempt. Pregnant and nursing women are also exempt from fasting.
Why do Muslims Celebrate?
O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may attain Taqwa [God-consciousness]. – The Qur’an, Al-Baqarah:183 “The fast is performed to learn discipline, self-restraint and generosity, while obeying God’s commandments”
Like many other religions that observe fasting, Muslims fast to get closer to God. In many Muslim families, Ramadan is a time of togetherness, like the shared worship of a Christmas mass or the shared cooking and face time of Thanksgiving. Ramadan is considered the most special month in the Muslim calendar. At the end of Ramadan, a very festive holiday is celebrated by Muslims, known as Eid al-Fitr [eed ul fit-ur], the Festival of Breaking the Fast. Eid al Fitr lasts three days, where family and friends celebrate together.