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Ramadan at Sam

By Kisha miller
On November 27, 2000

Ramadan, the fasting month for Muslims, started Monday all over the world. The Sam Houston Sate University Muslim community was not an exception. From sunrise to sunset, Nov. 27 to Dec. 27, Muslims abstain from food, drink, smoking and sexual activity. It is a time for inner reflection, devotion to God and self-control."It's purpose is to refrain us from worldly activities, Abdallah Muhammad-Bey, said president of Sam Houston's Muslim Student Association.Ramadan is also a time of intensive worship, giving to charities, purifying one's behavior and doing good deeds. It is also a chance to read the Quran, which is a record of the words revealed by God through the angel Gabriel to the prophet Muhammad.As a secondary goal, fasting is a way of experiencing hunger and developing sympathy for the less fortunate. The daily period of fasting starts at the break of dawn and ends at the setting of the sun.The usual practice is to have a meal before dawn and after sunset.The intention to fast may be made during the night before going to sleep or it can be made at the time of Suhoor before dawn. Suhoor is eating before fasting."At the end of the day we break the fast," Muhammad-Bey said. "We eat something light such as fruit and juice."It is desirable to break the fast as soon as possible after sunset.After sunset when they have prayed, they are then allowed to eat dinner. It includes rice, vegetables, lamb or goat meat, water or juice, Muhammad-Bey said."We can't eat a lot of meat," he said.Although all Muslims are expected to fast during Ramadan, there are some exceptions.Children who are younger than age 11, women who are on their menstrual cycles or pregnant, Muslims who are traveling, insane, and the elderly are not permitted to fast.They are required to feed at least one poor person per day in Ramadan for every missed fasting. If Muslims invalidate their fast, they are required to make up missed days or be penalized.They will have to make up fasting days if they ate or drank intentionally, caused themselves to vomit or intended to break the fast before sunset.The penalty for sexual intercourse during fasting is to fast an additional 60 continuous days. If one is not able to do so, he or she must feed 60 poor people an average of one meal.Muslims are permitted to break the fast of Ramadan is there is danger to their health. In this case, a Muslim should make up his fast later any time in the year.The last 10 days of the Ramadan are known as the Holiest Days. It is a time when everyone tries to become closer with God. Mahammad-Bey said Muslims usually spend the last 10 days of the fast locked in the majid, the place of worship. A Muslim can choose either to stay a few days in the majid, or the entire 10 days, Muhammad-Bey said."You get blessed more if you stay the whole 10 days," he said.

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