Beginning on Monday evening of this week, an estimated 1.6 billion Muslims began the observance of Ramadan—the annual month-long period of daily fasting in honor of the revelation of the Qur'an to the Prophet Muhammad. It is the most sacred time on the Islamic calendar, culminating with a joyous three-day holiday and affirmation of faith.
Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam, a symbol of seriousness about one’s faith, and a time to draw closer to God and to reflect on the essential beliefs of Islam. For those who observe Ramadan, it is a sacred opportunity to focus on the spiritual rather than the temporal.
Each day through the entire celebration, the thankfulness for breaking the fast at the end of each day is matched with the expression of concern and support for those in need. Through fasting, praying, and reading the Qur’an, Muslims around the world are immersing themselves in the holiday goals of purity in thought and deed.
Regardless of the holidays we each keep, how we worship, our particular heritage of faith, or how we express our religious convictions—we all have the opportunity to create holiday traditions and practices that we hold significant.
Every religion has traditions, practices, holidays, and rituals through which religious convictions are expressed. The significance of these holidays is diminished or strengthened by the way we approach them. I deeply appreciate those who are observing Ramadan during this time. I am humbled by the focus and commitment that they sustain over an entire month of reflection and devotion.
I join many others in the hope that it will be a time of enrichment and devotion. Ramadan Mubarak! May your fasting and prayer be filled with joy.