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For Muslims, Ramadan fast a time to reflect

This past month marked a significant time for Muslims locally and worldwide. That month is Ramadan, the holy month in which Muslims fast from dawn to sunset.

Muslims celebrate Ramadan as the month in which the Muslim holy book, the Quran, was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed. Many people do not fully understand the deeper meaning behind Ramadan. Devout Muslims observe this event by fasting and spiritual devotion throughout the whole month in hopes of reaping forgiveness for past sins.

Able Muslims must fast from dawn to sunset each day for 29 or 30 consecutive days. This means completely abstaining from food, drink, smoking and sexual relations, as well as immoral behavior such as lying, backbiting, etc. as a way to achieve closeness to Allah.

Daleylah Hasson, a sophomore at Erie Community College, said: "This is a month of piety where my past sins from last year will be erased. Mercy will be bestowed upon me." Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. This means that Ramadan could fall in any season during any month in the solar calendar. This year Ramadan started Sept. 1 and lasted until until the 29th or 30th of the month.

A typical day requires waking up before 5:30 a.m. and eating a breakfast that will give one the energy for the day. Then at the minute of dawn, eating and drinking must cease until sunset, which is around 7:30 p.m.

One learns the discipline of controlling one's hunger for the 14-hour period. (Islam does allow exemptions from fasting if one is sick, traveling, pregnant, or has other health issues.)

Muslims during Ramadan also are expected to purify every aspect of life. Hurting somebody verbally or physically can break the fast. Controlling your anger is another important aspect. Muslims should remain in a peaceful state during Ramadan.

Sena Rahim, a freshman at Williamsville North, said: "This month holds us back from doing bad sins."

Lastly, Muslims are expected to exemplify compassion and generosity. Muslims are required to give money to those less fortunate, called Zakat, or charity. This is distributed to the poor of the community to be used for enjoyment of the holiday, Eid ul Fitr, which celebrates the completion of Ramadan and the breaking of the fast.

Muslims fast for one month of the whole year but some experience hunger every day.

On top of that, many have a delicious meal to expect at the breaking of fast while the needy may not have that blessing.

Sumayyah Ahmed, freshman at Williamsville North, says: "It makes me thank God more and it reminds me of how much I have. Heeba Karriaper, a sixth-grader at Heim Middle, added, "t's a time when I realize what the poor and needy go through."

While fasting seems hard, it is actually rewarding and anticipated time for many Muslims. Sena Rahim was excited about Ramadan. "All year I wait for this time. It makes you feel grateful for what you have," she says. Sena Rahim adds, "I think it's not hard to do because you are doing it for a good reason. I mean, think about the poor people who are without food and they are not even fasting."

Aman and Rawan Shamaa attend Clarence High School

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