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What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is the ninth month of the lunar calendar and is a time of spiritual reflection, fasting, self-improvement and prayer for Muslims all over the world. During this month Muslims fast every day of the month from sunrise to sunset. It’s especially significant as it’s the month during which Prophet Muhammad received the first revelations of the Quran, the holy book for Muslims. 


Why do we fast?

Fasting is meant to bring oneself closer to God and to reinforce thankfulness. It develops self control, selflessness, and helps remind oneself of the sufferings of those less fortunate. Many also spend more time studying and reciting the Quran, as well as increasing their acts of charity, such as feeding the hungry. Essentially, fasting is seen as a way to physically and spiritually cleanse oneself. 


What is Suhoor and Iftar?

Suhoor is the meal consumed before sunrise when fasting begins. This is a very important meal because those who are fasting need to make sure they have enough energy for the rest of the day. Iftar on the other hand is the meal you eat when it’s time to open your fast at sunset.


What do Muslims abstain from during this month?

From dawn to dusk Muslims must abstain from all food or drink, including water. Fasting also means refraining from bad habits such as smoking, gossipping, arguing, fighting and being disrespectful or selfish.


Are there any staple foods eaten for Ramadan?

Depending on one's culture there are many different foods that are eaten during Suhoor and Iftar in Ramadan. However, it’s customary to open your fast with a date and water because dates were Prophet Muhammed’s favorite item to break his fast with. They also contain important nutrients such as sugar and fiber, and are easily digested, making them a quick source of energy to fuel your body!


What is your favorite part of Ramadan?

My favorite part of Ramdan is the communal aspect of it. In my house, everyone gets together to eat Suhoor and comes together at Iftaar to break our fast. If it weren’t for covid, we would also have Iftar get togethers, to break our fast with friends and family. It’s also encouraged to give food to your friends and neighbors.


How can I wish my Muslim friends a happy Ramadan?

The most common greeting is “Ramadak Mubarak,” which translates to “Happy/Blessed Ramadan,” or “Ramadan Kareem,” which means “Have a generous Ramadan.” Ramadan ends with Eid-al-Fitr, where Muslims celebrate the end of Ramadan and fasting. On this day it’s common to wish each other “Eid Mubarak,” which means “Happy/Blessed Eid.

Maryam (she/her) is a Junior at UC Santa Cruz studying Computer Science and serving as Senior Editor of the UCSC Chapter. When she's not coding, she's either making music, reading, or doing something art related. She also loves making different coffee drinks and spending her time outdoors.
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