Hungry for Ramadan

Muslims have spent two-thirds of the month of Ramadan in physical restraint and silent contemplation, and it is in the last third – the last ten days of Ramadan – where the remembrance of God approaches its peak. It is during this time that the practice of fasting and prayer is perfected, and the uninhibited…

One of the best things about Ramadan in America is that it is still under-the-radar. After all, it doesn’t take long for entrepreneurs to realize the commercial potential around religious holidays, as the “holiday season” can attest to. And even as Ramadan’s visibility increases, it would seem odd that a religious holiday centered around self-restraint…

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…

Because there are Muslims all over the world, fasting has occurred in many different places, climates, and circumstances. But what happens when the boundaries are pushed? For example, in October a Muslim astronaut will be grappling with the prospect of fasting while in orbit aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Obviously, this brings up many…

While fasting is considered one of the mandatory pillars of Islam, there are several circumstances where it is acceptable for a Muslim not to fast. The ill, pre-pubescent children, and menstruating or nursing women are all automatically exempt, and those who are traveling are given leeway as well (though it can be argued that a…

“Ramadan is the (month) in which the Qur’an was sent down, as a guide to mankind, also clear (signs) for guidance and judgment (between right and wrong).” (Qur’an 2:185) Aside from fasting, the importance of reflecting on the Qur’an, and reading it in its entirety if possible, is central to Ramadan.  It was in this…

I had a date last night. No, it’s not what you think: Muslims customarily break their fast with a date. Dates have a special significance in Muslim culture and tradition. Referenced many times in the Qur’an, date palms are said to have sheltered and sustained Mary while she was giving birth to Jesus, and dates…

One of the most important tenets of Islam is charity, and it is during Ramadan when Muslim pocketbooks open most freely. With our hearts softened through the rigor of fasting and reflection, our attention turns to those less fortunate. Charity, or zakat in Arabic, is considered one of the five “pillars” of Islam and a…

One of the things that makes America special is our food. We have a unique way of taking cuisines from all over the world–China, Mexico, and Italy come to mind–and putting an American twist on it. We have managed to elevate eating out to an art form, and it has a special place in American…

There is a communal and public aspect of Ramadan that helps to bind Muslims as a community (ummah in Arabic), and there are the logistics of fasting that help us balance our daily responsibilities around the commitment to fast. But the act of fasting is, at its heart, a very personal spiritual experience–a contract between…

Shahed Amanullah
about

Shahed Amanullah

As editor-in-chief of altmuslim.com, Shahed Amanullah is an award-winning journalist who writes regularly about the challenges and opportunities facing Islam in America. Named one of ten "Muslim visionaries" by Islamica Magazine, Shahed's work and writings have been featured in magazines (Newsweek), newspapers (New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune), radio shows (BBC News, National Public Radio, and major websites (BeliefNet.com). Television appearances include "Nightline with Ted Koppel", CNN Headline News, the "Today Show", and "Hannity & Colmes".

Shahed is the founder of Halalfire Media, a network of Islamic-themed websites with nearly 6 million visitors annually. Along with altmuslim.com, signature properties include zabihah.com, salatomatic.com, halalapalooza.com, and unitedmuslims.org. He has also served as a board member for the United Muslims of America, the Muslim Public Service Network, and the Muslim Youth Camp of California. He is a general partner in Zakat Community Ventures, a startup "venture philanthropy" fund dedicated to promoting Islamic charitable values.

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