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Islam, the teaching people who are Muslim follow, has five pillars of faith:
- Testimony of faith
- Giving alms
Ramadan falls on the ninth month of the Islamic calendar (which is about 2 weeks shorter than the Gregorian calendar.) Ramadan is one of the five duties, or pillars of Islam (fasting). Ramadan is also a time for reflection; a time to re-evaluate priorities; mend troubled relationships; give alms; deepen focus on God (Allah).
During Ramadan, Muslims over the age twelve fast from sunrise to sunset. This includes not drinking water. With travel, Olympics, and other situations where it may be extremely hard to comply with Ramadan, Muslims can postpone their observance (which is what the majority of Muslim olympians are planning to do this year.) It sounds easy – just postpone. But when they come back to family, the family’s already fasted during Ramadan. They’re on their own but in a less severe way than in the midst of the Olympics, stressing their bodies, and having others around them eating. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/20/olympics-ramadan-sherif-farrag_n_1684280.html
At the end of Ramadan, there is a celebration, called Eid-al-Fitr (meaning “festival of breaking the fast.”) During this festival, many Muslims dress up and attend elaborate feasts. They also increase charitable giving.
Here’s a link for sending a free Ramadan e-card to your friends who are Muslim, your friends who know about Ramadan, or to those you’d like to introduce something new: http://holidays.net/ramadan/index.htm. I have a firm belief that if everyone had a friend in every country, we’d never have another war. Reach out and send someone a “Ramadan Greeting”