Ramadan Starts in North America

Posted on 03/20/23
By AAA Correspondent |
The last sunset of Shawal on the eve of Ramadan from the Upper West side in Manhattan. (Pakistan Week photo)
Millions of Muslims across North America will start the holy month of Ramadan tomorrow, Thursday, March 23. American Muslims traditionally follow local moon sightings and scientific calculations while a large part of the community follows the Saudi Islamic calendar.

This year the entire Muslim population will start the holy month on the same date because the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) had already announced March 23 as the start date for the holy month while organizations like the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) announced on Wednesday that Shawal moon was not sighted anywhere in the US, making Thursday as the first day of Ramadan.

The holy month is also starting in Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Middle East from tomorrow.

Ramadan is an important month in the Islamic calendar, which is based on a lunar cycle. It is a time of spiritual reflection, devotion, and self-discipline. Muslims around the world fast during the daylight hours, abstaining from food, drink, and other physical needs from sunrise to sunset. The month of Ramadan is also a time of increased prayer and charitable acts.

In the United States, Ramadan is celebrated by the Muslim community, which is estimated to be around 3.5 million–6 million people. During the holy month, Muslims wake up early for a pre-dawn meal called suhoor, which is eaten before the start of the fast. The fast is broken at sunset with a meal called iftar. In many Muslim-majority countries, it is common for people to gather with family and friends for iftar, but in the United States, Muslims often attend community iftars organized by mosques or other Islamic organizations.

Fasting during Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, which are the basic religious obligations that every Muslim is expected to follow. The other pillars include the declaration of faith, prayer, giving to charity, and making a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime.

While fasting during Ramadan can be challenging, it is also a time of spiritual growth and renewal. Muslims believe that during this month, the gates of heaven are open and the gates of hell are closed, making it easier to seek forgiveness and earn rewards for good deeds. Muslims also believe that the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) during the month of Ramadan, making it a particularly sacred time for reading and reflecting on the holy book.

In the United States, Ramadan is a time for Muslims to come together and strengthen their community ties. Many mosques and Islamic organizations hold special events and activities during Ramadan, such as lectures, Quranic recitations, and community service projects. These events provide opportunities for Muslims to learn, connect with each other, and give back to their communities.

Pakistan Week wishes its valued readers a very Happay Ramadan!

This article first appeared in PakistanWeek. Click here to go to the original.

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