NEWS

PHOTOS: Ramadan in Eastern Iowa

Month-long Muslim celebration continues through August

(form left) Saad Raja of Cedar Rapids, Imam Ahmed Elkaldy and Faraz Khan, all of Cedar Rapids, share a laugh as they social following a fast breaking feast at the Muslim American Society in Cedar Rapids on Saturday, August 6, 2011. The holy month of Ramadan is a time of prayer and reflection along with emphasis on charity and gathering with family, friends and neighbors. After the meal is the fifth and final prayer of the day. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
(form left) Saad Raja of Cedar Rapids, Imam Ahmed Elkaldy and Faraz Khan, all of Cedar Rapids, share a laugh as they social following a fast breaking feast at the Muslim American Society in Cedar Rapids on Saturday, August 6, 2011. The holy month of Ramadan is a time of prayer and reflection along with emphasis on charity and gathering with family, friends and neighbors. After the meal is the fifth and final prayer of the day. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

Eastern Iowa Muslims are in the midst of their celebration of Ramadan.

Here's more information on the Ramadan observance:

Q. What is Ramadan?

A: Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. Since a lunar month is about a day shorter than a solar month, the lunar year is shorter, and Ramadan comes about 11 days earlier each year.

Q: When did Ramadan begin this year?

A: According to the calculations of the Fiqh Council of North America, the first day of fasting was Monday.

Q: When does Ramadan end this year?

A: Fasting ends at sunset Aug. 29, and the next day marks Eid ul-Fitr, the Feast of Breaking Fast. This is a time when Muslims gather for prayer and celebration.

Q: What are the requirements for Ramadan?

A: Fasting is from dawn to sunset and includes abstaining completely from food, drink and sex during those hours. During Ramadan, Muslims are to refrain from impure thoughts and spend more time in prayer, reading the Qur'an and striving to grow closer to God. Persons who are ill, pregnant, elderly or traveling may fast the same number of days at another time. If they are unable to do this, they are encouraged to feed a needy person for each day missed.

Q: What important event do Muslims believe happened during Ramadan?

A: Muslims believe Ramadan was the month the Qur'an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. Muslims call the night that the Qur'an was revealed "The Night of Power" or "The Night of Destiny." Traditionally, this is celebrated on the 27th night of Ramadan.[nggallery id=603]

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