Muslims around the world are fasting for the month of Ramadan.
President Barack Obama sends Ramadan greetings:
With the start of the sacred month of Ramadan, Michelle and I extend our best wishes to Muslim communities here in the United States and around the world.
For the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims, Ramadan is a time for thoughtful reflection, fasting and devotion. It is also an opportunity for family and friends to come together and celebrate the principles that bind people of different faiths – a commitment to peace, justice, equality and compassion towards our fellow human beings. These bonds are far stronger than the differences that too often drive us apart.
This month also reminds us that freedom, dignity and opportunity are the undeniable rights of all mankind. We reflect on these universal values at a time when many citizens across the Middle East and North Africa continue to strive for these basic rights and as millions of refugees mark Ramadan far from their homes. The United States stands with those who are working to build a world where all people can write their own future and practice their faith freely, without fear of violence.
In the United States, Ramadan is a reminder that millions of Muslim Americans enrich our nation each day—serving in our government, leading scientific breakthroughs, generating jobs and caring for our neighbors in need. I have been honored to host an iftar dinner at the White House each of the past four years, and this year I look forward to welcoming Muslim Americans who are contributing to our country as entrepreneurs, activists and artists.
I wish Muslims across America and around the world a month blessed with the joys of family, peace and understanding. Ramadan Kareem.
The Huffington Post has a live blog of stories and essays from people participating in the fast:
The sacred time of year is upon us, and HuffPost Religion will update this page daily with prayers, reflections, verses from the Qur'an, poetry, songs and blogs, to help you growth spiritually during this time, and highlight the diversity of the Muslim community.
Some facts about Ramadan from Huffington Post (more at web site):
Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic calendar. The term Ramadan literally means scorching in Arabic. It was established as a Holy Month for Muslims after the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad in 610 CE on the occasion known as Laylat al-Qadr, frequently translated as "the Night of Power.
During the month of Ramadan, most Muslims fast from dawn to sunset with no food or water. Before sunrise many Muslims have the Suhur or predawn meal. At sunset families and friends gather for Iftar which is the meal eaten by Muslims to break the fast. Many Muslims begin the meal by eating dates as the Prophet used to do.
This ritual fast known as, Sawm, is one of the five pillars of Islam, and requires that individuals abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and sexual intercourse.
Most Muslims believe Ramadan fasting is mandatory, but there are some groups that do not. Pregnant or breastfeeding mothers, people who are seriously sick, travelers, or those at health risk should not fast. Children that have not gone through puberty are also not required to fast during the month Ramadan.
Ramadan Rendezvous is a tumblr account run by 2 young Muslim women where they answer your questions and post interesting stories about Ramadan and Islam. One is Reflections of a non-Muslim who is fasting during Ramadan.
My name is Marissa Parra. I go to school in Washington D.C., I live in Baltimore, and I’m a Latina Buddhist celebrating my first Ramadan this year.
Yes, you read that correctly. What can I say! I enjoy breaking boundaries and defying stereotypes. I’m a strong believer in the power of communication, so allow me to share with you the reasons behind my decision and hopefully inspire some of you.
Twitter hashtag is #ramadan