BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Saturday marks the beginning of Ramadan, which is a holy month for Muslims around the world.
23ABC’s Mythili Gubbi spoke to local Islamic leaders here in Bakersfield who say this month is about reflection and resetting for the rest of the year and they hope to share this message.
“So, Islam stands on five pillars, and Ramadan is one of them,” said Mohammad Arman, local Islamic Leader.
Ramadan is a holy month for the Muslim community that goes according to the lunar calendar, this year it starts on April 2.
“On the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, it was the month that the Quran was revealed to the prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him,” said Ali Zachary, local Islamic leader.
During this month, people wake up before the break of dawn to eat a meal and then go the rest of the day without food and water, till the sun sets and they can break their fast.
“As Muslims, we don’t look at Ramadan as difficult or hard, even though we are not eating or drinking. We take the month of Ramadan as an opportunity to revive ourselves,” said Mohammad Arman.
Mohammad Arman, a leader at a local masjid, said being able educate people about what Ramadan is helps the Muslim community feel included.
“A lot of the time, Muslims are misunderstood because [they] have to go out of the way doing the prayer, maybe we might, kind of, be judged in a way. So, just being more understanding overall helps a lot.”
Ali Zachary, another local leader, said he hopes this brings awareness to Ramadan and helps give them more of a voice in the community.
“We always reach out to our elected officials. For some reason they have no interest in knowing about our community, which is kind of sad.”
A big part of the month is people coming together to pray and break their fasts.
“The entire community gathers in such a beautiful gathering, and they all come for one purpose, and one purpose only, which is to pray for God and worship,” said Arman.
“We do iftar, we break the fast, we do the prayers, and we have dinner. Then we do the prayers, it happens here at the masjid,” said Zachary.
Zachary adds that he hopes people can be considerate toward Muslims, especially during this time.
“People employing Muslims, understand what’s going on in their lives during that month. There’s a lot of prayers at night. They get tired, they get hungry, less sleep also, just be aware and be understanding.”
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is a holy for Muslims where they fast from food and water and from any bad habits. It is one of the five pillars of Islam and is considered obligatory for Muslims, excluding those who are sick, take medication, are menstruating, and children.
When is Ramadan?
Ramadan is based on the lunar calendar which is based on the phases of the moon. Due to this, Ramadan doesn’t start on the same day every year but rather goes through every season. It is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar and is considered holy because Muslims believe that the Quran was revealed to their prophet.
How long do Muslims fast for?
Muslims fast from dawn break till sunset. Local mosques, or masjids, and apps that track prayer times usually provide information on the exact times when Muslims are allowed to break their fasts.
What is Eid?
Muslims celebrate the end of the holy month with a religious holiday known as Eid al-Fitr. During the holiday, they usually exchange gifts and participate in special prayers.
(Information provided by History.com and local Muslim leaders)