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Muslims to begin celebration of Ramadan officially Monday June 6
Ramadan, the 9th Month of the Islamic Calendar, officially begins on Monday June 6 in the early morning, after the first sighting of the new Moon. Fasting will begin at dawn the following morning. Muslims around the world will begin fasting during daylight hours each day for the entire month.
Fasting during Ramadan is considered one of the 5 Pillars of Islam. The five Pillars of Islam are monotheism, daily prayer, charity, Ramadan fasting, and pilgrimage to Mecca. Muslims believe that the Gates of Heaven open during this month and the Gates of Hell close.
The Islamic Calendar is based on the Lunar Calendar, similarly to the Jewish religion.
The end of Ramadan will be marked by the sighting of the new moon which is expected either on the 29th or 30th day with a days-long festival marking Eid Al-Fitr that is expected to begin on Wednesday, July 6, or Thursday July 7.
In addition to religious observation and prayer, Muslims also are expected to increase their charitable contributions to those in need.
Because Ramadan is based on the Lunar Calendar, that means the start date begins about 11 days earlier later each year. As daylight is extended during the Summer months compared to Winter months, fasting could be as much as 15 hours per day, from dusk until dawn. The longest daylight day of the year is June 21, which will occur during this year’s Ramadan observance as it did last year.
Observant Muslims will refrain from eating or drinking during daylight hours, breaking the fast with an Iftar meal at dusk, each evening. Fasting is only required for individuals who are physically able to do so. The elderly, the sick and the mentally ill are exempt. Women who are pregnant, nursing or menstruating are also exempt from fasting. Fasting is performed to learn discipline, self-restraint and generosity, while obeying God’s commandments.
Fasting is not unusual. Christian Catholics Fast in observance of their religious beliefs during Lent each year.
A popular first food eaten my Muslims at dusk and during the Iftar, or break in fasting after Sunset is the Medjool Date. But meals will also include many popular Middle Eastern meals. Many Muslims, especially in the West, will invite non-Muslims to join them for Iftar dinners as a sign of respect and coexistence. In turn, many Christians and Jews who live in Muslim countries will observe Ramadan by not eating in public.
A typical greeting in Arabic during Ramadan is “Ramadan Mubarak” and “Ramadan Kareem” which mean a blessed or generous Ramadan.
Ramadan Mubarak to our Muslim friends.
— Ray Hanania
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Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.
"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."
Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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