By Amika Osumi, SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC NEWS) – Monday marks the first day of fasting for Muslims around the world celebrating Ramadan.
Ayyuub Cumberbatch, a member of the Mosque of Jesus, Son of Mary in Syracuse, said he uses Ramadan as a time to become a better person.
“We get our sins forgiven we get more blessing for doing charity and helping people and praying and it’s a spiritual time to reflect on yourself and try to change yourself,” said Cumberbatch.
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is a month-long holiday that is celebrated during a different month every year because Islam follows the lunar calendar.
Muslims believe that the angel Gabriel appeared to Prophet Muhammad during the month of Ramadan and gave the prophet part of the Quran.
The holiday not only celebrates the anniversary of an important part of their religious history but, it also acts as a time for members to worship Allah.
Ahmed Malik, the Muslim chaplain at Syracuse University, said the last ten days of Ramadan are very special to Muslims.
He said Islam believes that one of the last ten days marks the exact anniversary of when the Quran was given to Muhammad.
They believe that if you are praising Allah on that day through Ramadan, your worship is equivalent to thousands of nights of worship.
Thus, they believe Ramadan is a great opportunity to show their devotion to Allah.
How do Muslims fast during Ramadan?
During the holiday, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset.
This year, that means they can’t eat until about 8:30 p.m. in the United States.
Ramadan isn’t just about giving up food and drink; Muslims are also expected to give up other worldly things like cigarettes and even sexual relations with spouses.
The Islamic community also tries to be more giving during the holiday.
Service and charity are big components of Ramadan. Reading the Quran diligently is also expected of Muslims.
How do Muslims break their fast?
Mosques break their fasts together by saying their last prayers together and eating a meal they call “iftar”.
The Mosque of Jesus, Son of Mary invites anyone from the community to iftar. They eat the meal after their second to last prayer of the evening which is at 8:45 p.m..
Salam Everyone! Don't forget we now have iftars everyday right after maghrib! Bring your friends and family for a great time!
— Masjid Isa (@MasjidIsa) July 14, 2014