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Aug. 24–Imam Mujahid Ramos wasn’t surprised to see more people show up this weekend for the daily prayers at the Masjid At-Tawheed mosque in York City.
The same thing happens every year during Ramadan, a time of religious rejuvenation for Muslims, said Ramos, the mosque’s spiritual leader.
“It’s just an amazing time of the year,” Ramos said. “People are reading the Quran. They are fasting. They are focused. They feel very near to their religion.”
Saturday marked the beginning of Ramadan, the holiest month of Islam’s calendar. It includes 30 days of fasting that commemorates the divine revelation of the Quran, Islam’s sacred text, to the prophet Muhammad.
Devotion: Followers of Islam — which began in Arabia about 1,400 years ago — are expected to surrender entirely to the will of God, while living according to the rules of the Quran and performing five main duties called the Five Pillars of Faith: affirmation, prayer, almsgiving, fasting and pilgrimage.
During Ramadan, Muslims are required to abstain from food, smoking, liquids and sex from dawn to dusk as a sign of purification and sacrifice. The fasting period includes being more charitable and refraining from arguing.
The fast is broken after the sun sets, when Muslims gather for prayer and a special meal, a practice called Iftar. Eating is allowed until the morning prayer, when fasting resumes.
Ramadan observers also commit to spending time in reflection and to reading the entire Quran.
At the end of Ramadan, a joyous celebration of the three-day holiday Eid al-Fitr is traditionally held. This year, the holiday begins on Saturday, Sept. 19.
Test: Ramos said Ramadan is a test of strength for Muslims because they are forced to forgo permissible activities such as eating or drinking. The test helps followers gain strength to deny improper temptations that may arise the rest of the year, he said.
He said about triple the number of worshippers showed up Saturday for the generally most popular of the five daily prayers at the Masjid At-Tawheed mosque, 9 S. Belvidere Ave. in York City.
The goal is to carry the energy and focus of Ramadan through until next year, he said, when another injection of enthusiasm is injected courtesy of the next Ramadan.
“You’re really just building up all this momentum,” he said.
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News – August 24, 2009
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