Fasting gets all the attention during Ramadan, but it is in fact only a warmup for the real task of focused worship. For many Muslims, the true focal point of Ramadan is the optional evening tarawih prayer (at least for Sunni Muslims like myself – Shia Muslims generally do not offer them). When asked what the most meaningful part of Ramadan is, many of my friends cite the congregational tarawih prayer.
During the obligatory five daily prayers, Muslims recite various verses of the Qur’an. Tarawih prayers are extended nighttime versions of these prayers, after dinner and the last obligatory prayer of the evening, during which the imam reads a full 1/30th (a juz in Arabic) of the Qur’an, with the goal of finishing the entire book during Ramadan.
Here in America, imams with the most eloquent Arabic pronunciation are sought out for the largest congregations, and mosques are nearly as overflowing as they are during the Friday prayer. As tarawih is between 2-5 times as long as the longest obligatory prayer, it can take up to an hour to complete (most of it standing), making it somewhat of a physical challenge for an already fast-weary body.
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About Hungry for RamadanThe last update to the Hungry for Ramadan blog was in October 2007. We welcome your comments about Ramadan and Islam in general in our Muslim forums.
Shahed Amanullah, a frequent Beliefnet contributor, is one of the country’s foremost Muslim journalists. He has harnessed the power of the Internet to spread a positive view of Islam. Amanullah is the editor of altmuslim.com, a Muslim news website, and founder of Halalfire Media, a network of Muslim-themed websites with more than five million annual visitors. Through his work Amanullah has tapped into a strong force of online activism. He lives in Texas with his wife and two sons, and looks forward to the spiritual rewards of Ramadan every year.
- Ramadan 2009 (on Beliefnet)
- “Hungry for Ramadan” Recap
- These are the Days of Eid
- What a Difference 30 Days Can Make
- The Sweets of Ramadan
- Making Ramadan Festive for Children
- The Solitude of the Suhoor – The Morning Meal
- Sharing the Blessings of Ramadan with the Fast-a-thon
- A Golden Opportunity to Curb Addiction
- The Story of the USPS Eid Stamp