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Muslims prepare for Ramadan

Area Muslims will mark the beginning of Ramadan at sunrise on Saturday.
/ Source: PhillyBurbs.com

Area Muslims will mark the beginning of Ramadan at sunrise on Saturday.

Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, is the holiest month in Islam.

During the month, which will end Sept. 20, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset and incorporate additional prayer into their daily routines.

Naseem Badat, a member of the Islamic Center of South Jersey in Palmyra, N.J., said more than a billion Muslims worldwide will celebrate Ramadan.

"Ramadan is very important to Muslims. It's a very sacred month," Badat said.

She said the purpose of the fasting is to "attain righteousness and self-restraint."

Not only are Muslims required to abstain from food and drink and any sensual pleasures from dawn to dusk throughout the month, but Badat said they also should commit to charitable giving.

"Fasting of Ramadan is a very important aspect of the Islamic faith. It is one of the five pillars of Islam," she said. "Fasting reminds Muslims how important it is to help the less fortunate."

Ramadan celebrates Muslims' belief that the Quran, their holy book, was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad.

In addition to fasting, charitable giving and praying, Muslims are encouraged to read the entire Quran during Ramadan.

The Islamic Center of South Jersey plans to host a traditional Ramadan Iftar, a fast-breaking dinner, on Aug. 29 at 6:30 p.m. at its mosque at 612 Garfield Ave.

Badat said the interfaith event is a way to bring all people together.

"This is our way to reach out to people of other faiths to promote peace and harmony," she said.

Todd McHale can be reached at 609-871-8163 or tmchale@phillyBurbs.com.