Interfaith Iftar Dinner – Join Us on May 23rd!
Associated Ministries is proud to partner again this year with the Pacifica Foundation and the University of Puget Sound in offering an interfaith Iftar dinner to the community on May 23rd. Please join us! Come enjoy the breaking of the daily fast with your Muslim neighbors and friends of different faiths. Dinner is free but registration is required. Register you (and a friend) today! Click here.
Our Muslim neighbors are looking forward to Ramadan, beginning this year on May 6th. What is Ramandan?
Ramadan, Arabic Ramaḍān, in Islam, the ninth month of the Muslim calendar and the holy month of fasting. It begins and ends with the appearance of the new moon.
Islamic tradition states that on the night of 27 Ramadan—the “Night of Power” (Laylat al-Qadr)—God revealed to the Prophet Muhammad the Qurʾān, Islam’s holy book, “as a guidance for the people.” For Muslims Ramadan is a period of introspection, communal prayer (ṣalāt) in the mosque, and reading of the Qurʾān. God forgives the past sins of those who observe the holy month with fasting, prayer, and faithful intention.
Ramadan, however, is less a period of atonement than it is a time for Muslims to practice self-restraint, in keeping with ṣawm (Arabic: “to refrain”), one of the Pillars of Islam (the five basic tenets of the Muslim religion). Although ṣawm is most commonly understood as the obligation to fast during Ramadan, it is more broadly interpreted as the obligation to refrain between dawn and dusk from food, drink, sexual activity, and all forms of immoral behaviour, including impure or unkind thoughts. Thus, false words or bad deeds or intentions are as destructive of a fast as is eating or drinking.
After the sunset prayer, Muslims gather in their homes or mosques to break their fast with a meal called ifṭār that is often shared with friends and extended family. The ifṭār usually begins with dates, as was the custom of Muhammad, or apricots and water or sweetened milk. There are additional prayers offered at night called the tawarīḥ prayers, preferably performed in congregation at the mosque. During these prayers, the entire Qurʾān may be recited over the course of the month of Ramadan. To accommodate such acts of worship in the evening, work hours are adjusted during the day and sometimes reduced in some Muslim-majority countries. The Qurʾān indicates that eating and drinking are permissible only until the “white thread of light becomes distinguishable from the dark thread of night at dawn.” Thus, Muslims in some communities ring bells in the predawn hours to remind others that it is time for the meal before dawn, called the suḥūr.