BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Saturday marks the start of Ramadan, which is a holy month for Muslims around the world.
23ABC’s Mythili Gubbi spoke with 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 that message.
“So Islam is based on five pillars, and Ramadan is one of them,” said local Islamic leader Mohammad Arman.
Ramadan is a holy month for the Muslim community which takes place according to the lunar calendar, this year it begins on April 2.
“The ninth month of the Islamic calendar was the month when the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him,” local Islamic leader Ali Zachary said.
During this month, people wake up before dawn to have a meal, then spend the rest of the day without food or water, until the sun goes down and they can break their fast.
“As Muslims, we don’t see Ramadan as hard or difficult, even if we don’t eat or drink. We take the month of Ramadan as an opportunity to recharge our batteries,” said Mohammad Arman.
Mohammad Arman, a leader of a local mosque, said being able to educate people about what Ramadan is about helps the Muslim community feel included.
“Most of the time Muslims are misunderstood because [they] have to get out of the way praying, maybe we could kind of be judged a certain way. So just being more understanding overall helps a lot.
Ali Zachary, another local leader, said he hoped it would raise awareness of Ramadan and help give them a bigger 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.
Much of the month people come together to pray and break their fast.
“The whole community comes together in such a beautiful gathering, and they all come for one purpose, and one purpose, which is to pray for God and worship him,” Arman said.
“We do iftar, we break the fast, we say prayers and we have dinner. Then we do the prayers, it happens here at the masjid,” Zachary said.
Zachary adds that he hopes people can be considerate of Muslims, especially during this time.
“People who employ Muslims understand what is happening in their lives during this month. There are many prayers at night. They are tired, they are hungry, they sleep less too, just be aware and understanding.
23ABC in depth
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is a holy day 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 ill, on medication, menstruating, and children.
When is Ramadan?
Ramadan is based on the lunar calendar which is based on the phases of the moon. For this reason, Ramadan does not begin on the same day every year, but rather goes through every season. It is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is considered sacred because Muslims believe the Quran was revealed to their prophet.
How long do Muslims fast?
Muslims fast from dawn to sunset. Local mosques, or masjids, and apps that track prayer times typically provide information about the exact times Muslims are allowed to break their fast.
What is Eid?
Muslims celebrate the end of the holy month with a religious holiday known as Eid al-Fitr. During the holidays, they usually exchange gifts and participate in special prayers.
(Information provided by History.com and local Muslim leaders)