More Muslims Than Ever Observing Ramadan

October 16, 2006

Source: CAIR Press Release

Wire Service: AP

The boom of a cannon and the wail of a muezzin signaled the end of the day's fast and thousands of worshippers at one of Islam's holiest shrines tucked into their dinner.

The faithful sat cross-legged, some family gathered in circles, others strangers in long rows, on the ancient stone pavement around the Al Aqsa Mosque. They broke their fast with sips of water after a scorching late-summer day, ate a few dates for a quick energy boost, then moved onto a main course of chicken and rice.

The holy month of Ramadan is under way, and from Morocco to Indonesia and the growing Muslim communities of the West, around one-fifth of humanity is on a daily dawn-to-dusk fast, honoring the revelation of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad.

The faithful rise before dawn for a small meal, read the Quran, and fast for the next 12 hours or more. Nights become days. Heads ache, throats are parched, nicotine cravings rise. Children as young as 7, who have gone back to sleep after a dawn breakfast, head off to school bleary-eyed and tetchy but determined to fast until dusk.