Muslims world-wide are preparing to observe Ramadan (May 5-June 4 in the USA), the marking of the month in which Mohammad is believed to have received the Quran from Allah. During this time, all able-bodied adult Muslims are required to fast food and drink from dawn to sunset for the purpose of self-purification. The fast is broken nightly with the Iftar meal which is shared with family and friends. Another meal, the Suhur, is taken just before dawn to sustain the body throughout the day.
The Arabic word for fasting, sawm, can literally be translated to refrain. During Ramadan, Muslims are to concentrate on their submission to Allah by avoiding sinful and unclean behaviors and emotions. Special devotion is given to prayer, recitation of the Quran, and charitable giving to the poor. The rewards for these behaviors are said to be increased during Ramadan.
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