Simple Living Works!

Let’s Learn About RAMADAN

Posted on: June 25, 2014


Life Standard: Learn from the World Community

from Living More with Less

Month-Long Fast for Muslims

June 28 – July 27, 2014

Ramadan, commemorating the revelation of the Koran to Mohammed, is the most sacred celebration in the Muslim world. The observance begins on the eve of the ninth month of the lunar year. Since the lunar year is eleven or twelve days shorter than the solar year, the incidence of Ramadan moves through all the seasons of the year in cycles of approximately 33 years. (In 1987 Ramadan began on April 29; in 2000 on Nov. 27; in 2010 on Aug. 11; in 2015 on June 18, etc.)

Celebrated for 30 days, the observance affects a large portion of the Third World. According to Islamic law, fasting from sunup to sundown is required of every able-bodied Muslim.

The fasting is meant to 1) help keep the observance in mind, 2) encourage spiritual discipline, 3) create an identification with the poor and 4) remind people of their ultimate dependence on God.

Popular celebrations of Ramadan sometimes involve lavish feasts after the sun goes down, but this custom does not represent the holiday’s true spirit, to bring about inner strength through austerity.

Tabletalk for Ramadan

Learning About Our Neighbors

Because Islam is a religious tradition little understood by most Westerners, perhaps during this fast, non-Muslims can use this time to learn more. During dinner one evening, identify popular stereotypes of Muslims. Then do some reading. Search out not only nonfiction, but also poetry and fiction written by Muslims. Make the acquaintance of some Muslims in your community. Then, at another family meal one evening, try to go beyond the stereotypes to real people.

You may wish to invite Muslim people to a community gathering as guest speakers. Find out if your religious community has an interfaith council and learn about interfaith gatherings in your community.

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    Topics for Part 3: Urban farming / guerilla gardening; recovering from Tony’s stroke; our meat problem; integrity in farming; dangers of piety; In what way am I living economically a lifestyle as Jesus wants me to live? The lesson of Ananius and Sapphira – pretense; being close to the poor; First John 3:16; redistribution in love; free enterprise, not capitalism – meeting needs, not manufactured wants; manipulated by advertising; Who owns the pond? Stories from sweatshop kids; Where do we shop? Paul’s wrestling with ‘principalities and powers’ (forces of evil) in church (Ephesians 6:12)

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