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Start of the Muslim month of fasting.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, during which Muslims refrain from eating and drinking between sunrise and sunset. The Qu’ran was revealed to Mohammed during this month, and so many Muslims try to read and recite as much of the Qu’ran as they can during Ramadan – the Qu’ran is also read at special services in most mosques.
Fasting during daylight hours is obligatory for every able-bodied adult Muslim during Ramadan. The fast is intended to instil in Muslims self-discipline and restraint, as well as to remind them of the poor – who may often have to go without food – and encourage an attitude of charity and generosity. In general, the whole month is a period of spiritual reflection, with Muslims trying to give up bad habits, do good, and become pure in thoughts and actions.
While fasting it is common for Muslims to eat one meal, called suhoor, before dawn and another meal, called iftar, after sunset. Many muslims start their iftar meal by eating a few dates, as it is believed this is what Mohammed used to do. Iftar is often an occasion for many Muslim families to come together to break the fast.
You can find out more about Ramadan from the following websites:
- BBC – Schools – Religion – Islam: Ramadan
- BBC Religions – Islam: Ramadan
- BBC Learning Zone Class Clips – Fasting During Ramadan
- Wikipedia: Ramadan
See also the following publications for schools, available from RE Today:
And for secondary students (ages 11-16) there is a lesson plan and film clips about Ramadan on the TrueTube website.