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Coke's New Ad Wishes Muslims Ramadan Kareem

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There's nothing in life quite like the feeling of being totally understood. Whether it's your academic interests, your career choices, the way you dress, or your romantic decisions, having your authentic self accepted and validated is a true blessing.

This Ramadan, Coca-Cola released a video called, "Open up, It's Ramadan! (A Change Of Heart)" which captures a young photographer's feeling of dread as his parents toast to his future engineering career-- but that's not the whole story.

The heartwarming spot explains, "There's no better time than now to embrace new people in your life. Start a conversation, share a smile, make a friend for life. Ramadan Kareem!"

Coke 's ad also indicates the fact that the holy month of Ramadan is also a time of huge consumption. London's "Ramadan Rush" refers to the influx of wealthy shoppers from the Middle East who come to spend before they fast. Nonetheless, the season is supposed to be a time of spiritual reflection, charity, and familial closeness, even if the "Harrod's Hajj" doesn't reflect that.

Here's hoping for a wonderfully accepting Ramadan for all this year.

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Today 10:12 AM EDT
Eid Mubarak!

Eid al-Fitr is a day of great merriment and thanksgiving. Muslims celebrate by gathering with friends and family, preparing sweet delicacies, wearing new clothes, giving each other gifts and putting up lights and other decorations in their homes. A common greeting during this holiday is Eid Mubarak, which means, “Have a blessed Eid!”

See photos of the holiday here:

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  • An Indian Muslim child prays as he stands near the entrance to a mosque, as he and other devotees congregated to celebrate the Eid al-Fitr festival, in southern New Delhi on July 29, 2014. Muslims around the world are celebrating the Eid al-Fitr festival, which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. AFP PHOTO/ROBERTO SCHMIDT (Photo credit should read ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A man distributes fruits to Iraqi Shiites who visit tombs of relatives at one of the world's biggest cemeteries in the holy city of Najaf, on July 29, 2014, during the Eid al-Fitr celebrations marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. AFP PHOTO / HAIDAR HAMDANI (Photo credit should read HAIDAR HAMDANI/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Yemeni girls show their hands decorated with traditional henna designs in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, on July 29, 2014 as they celebrate Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. During Ramadan, observant Muslims do not drink, eat or have sexual relations between dawn and nightfall. AFP PHOTO / MOHAMMED HUWAIS (Photo credit should read MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Indian Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan waves as he greets fans gathered outside his residence during the Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr in Mumbai on July 29, 2014. AFP PHOTO/STR (Photo credit should read STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Iraqi Shiite children who were displaced with their families from their hometown of Mosul play with toy guns during the Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, in the holy city of Najaf, on July 30, 2014. Conflicts and repression around the world last year triggered the largest displacement of religious communities in recent memory, the United States said, revealing millions had fled their homes. AFP PHOTO / HAIDAR HAMDANI (Photo credit should read HAIDAR HAMDANI/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Iraqi Shiite children who were displaced with their families from their hometown of Mosul play with toy guns during the Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, in the holy city of Najaf, on July 30, 2014. Conflicts and repression around the world last year triggered the largest displacement of religious communities in recent memory, the United States said, revealing millions had fled their homes. AFP PHOTO / HAIDAR HAMDANI (Photo credit should read HAIDAR HAMDANI/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A young Indian Muslim yawns during Eid al-Fitr prayers at the Jama Masjid mosque in New Delhi, Tuesday, July 29, 2014. Millions of Muslims across the world are celebrating the Eid al-Fitr holiday, which marks the end of the month-long fast of Ramadan. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

  • Israeli forces' flares light up the night sky of Gaza City on early Tuesday, July 29, 2014. A truce between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza remained elusive as diplomats sought to end the fighting at the start of the Eid al-Fitr holiday, marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

  • A balloon street vendor yawns while waiting customers outside the Jama Masjid mosque in New Delhi, Tuesday, July 29, 2014. Millions of Muslims across the world are celebrating the Eid al-Fitr holiday, which marks the end of the month-long fast of Ramadan. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

  • An Indian family begs for money outside the Jama Masjid mosque in New Delhi, Tuesday, July 29, 2014. Millions of Muslims across the world are celebrating the Eid al-Fitr holiday, which marks the end of the month-long fast of Ramadan. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

  • Pakistani children buy balloons to celebrate the Muslim Eid holiday marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan in Karachi, Pakistan, Tuesday, July 29, 2014. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

  • Abderrahmane Al Alioui, right,delivers his speech at the Msala Mosque in Casablanca during the Eid prayers, which ends the fasting month of Ramadan, in Casablanca, Morocco, Tuesday, July 29, 2014, (AP Photo/Abdeljalil Bounhar)

  • An Indian Muslim girl offers Eid al-Fitr prayers in Hyderabad, India, Tuesday, July 29, 2014. Millions of Muslims across the world are celebrating the Eid al-Fitr holiday, which marks the end of the month-long fast of Ramadan. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.)

  • Indian Muslims offer prayers inside a restaurant near the Jama Mosque in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, July 29, 2014. Millions of Muslims across the world are celebrating the Eid al-Fitr holiday, which marks the end of the month-long fast of Ramadan. (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal)

  • A Nepalese Muslim washes his daughter’s face before offering prayers on Eid al-Fitr at a mosque in Katmandu, Nepal, Tuesday, July 29, 2014. Millions of Muslims across the world are celebrating the Eid al-Fitr holiday, which marks the end of the month-long fast of Ramadan. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)

  • Indian Muslim women offer prayers on Eid al-Fitr in Chennai, India, Tuesday, July 29, 2014. Millions of Muslims across the world are celebrating the Eid al-Fitr holiday, which marks the end of the month-long fast of Ramadan. (AP Photo/Arun Sankar K.)

  • Indian Muslims take part in Eid al-Fitr prayers in the ruins of the Feroz Shah Kotla Mosque in New Delhi, Tuesday, July 29, 2014. Millions of Muslims across the world are celebrating the Eid al-Fitr holiday, which marks the end of the month-long fast of Ramadan. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

  • Indian Muslims take part in Eid al-Fitr prayers at the Jama Masjid mosque in New Delhi, Tuesday, July 29, 2014. Millions of Muslims across the world are celebrating the Eid al-Fitr holiday, which marks the end of the month-long fast of Ramadan. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

  • Iraqi Shiites clean the grave of a relative at one of the world's biggest cemeteries in the holy city of Najaf, on July 29, 2014, during the Eid al-Fitr celebrations marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. AFP PHOTO / HAIDAR HAMDANI (Photo credit should read HAIDAR HAMDANI/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Iraqi Shiite women clean the grave of a relative at one of the world's biggest cemeteries in the holy city of Najaf, on July 29, 2014, during the Eid al-Fitr celebrations marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. AFP PHOTO / HAIDAR HAMDANI (Photo credit should read HAIDAR HAMDANI/AFP/Getty Images)

  • An Indian Muslim child reacts as he is taken for a camel ride with his father and a relative during celebrations for the Eid al-Fitr festival in the Muslim-majority enclave of Nizamuddin in New Delhi on July 29, 2014. Muslims around the world are celebrating the Eid al-Fitr festival, which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. AFP PHOTO/TENGKU BAHAR (Photo credit should read TENGKU BAHAR/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Indian Muslim children, clad in new clothes, enjoy a ride on a hand-cranked ferris wheel during celebrations for the Eid al-Fitr festival in the Muslim-majority enclave of Nizamuddin in New Delhi on July 29, 2014. Muslims around the world are celebrating the Eid al-Fitr festival, which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. AFP PHOTO/TENGKU BAHAR (Photo credit should read TENGKU BAHAR/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Indian Muslim children, clad in new clothes, enjoy a ride on a hand-spun carousel during celebrations for the Eid al-Fitr festival in the Muslim-majority enclave of Nizamuddin in New Delhi on July 29, 2014. Muslims around the world are celebrating the Eid al-Fitr festival, which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. AFP PHOTO/TENGKU BAHAR (Photo credit should read TENGKU BAHAR/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Indian Muslim devotees offer Eid prayers on the first day of the Eid al-Fitr festival at Nakhoda Masjid and along surrounding streets in Kolkata on July 29, 2104. Muslims around the world are celebrating the Eid al-Fitr festival, which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. AFP PHOTO/Dibyangshu Sarkar (Photo credit should read DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Indian Muslim devotees offer Eid prayers on the first day of the Eid al-Fitr festival at Nakhoda Masjid in Kolkata on July 29, 2104. Muslims around the world are celebrating the Eid al-Fitr festival, which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. AFP PHOTO/Dibyangshu Sarkar (Photo credit should read DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Indian Muslim devotees leave after offering Eid prayers on the first day of the Eid al-Fitr festival at Nakhoda Masjid in Kolkata on July 29, 2104. Muslims around the world are celebrating the Eid al-Fitr festival, which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. AFP PHOTO/Dibyangshu Sarkar (Photo credit should read DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP/Getty Images)

  • DHAKA, BANGLADESH - JULY 29: Women pray at the National Mosque, Baitul Mukarram, during Eid al-Fitr on July 29, 2014 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Muslims around the world are celebrating Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

  • DHAKA, BANGLADESH - JULY 29: A woman prays at the National Mosque, Baitul Mukarram, during Eid al-Fitr on July 29, 2014 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Muslims around the world are celebrating Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

  • DHAKA, BANGLADESH - JULY 29: Men purchase balloons outside the National Mosque, Baitul Mukarram, during Eid al-Fitr on July 29, 2014 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Muslims around the world are celebrating Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

  • DHAKA, BANGLADESH - JULY 29: Men buy coconuts after prayer at the National Mosque, Baitul Mukarram, during Eid al-Fitr on July 29, 2014 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Muslims around the world are celebrating Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

  • DHAKA, BANGLADESH - JULY 29: A man is surrounded while giving alms to beggars after prayer at the National Mosque, Baitul Mukarram, during Eid al-Fitr on July 29, 2014 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Muslims around the world are celebrating Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

  • DHAKA, BANGLADESH - JULY 29: A woman and her child wash before praying at the National Mosque, Baitul Mukarram, during Eid al-Fitr on July 29, 2014 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Muslims around the world are celebrating Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

  • DHAKA, BANGLADESH - JULY 29: Women pray at the National Mosque, Baitul Mukarram, during Eid al-Fitr on July 29, 2014 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Muslims around the world are celebrating Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

  • DHAKA, BANGLADESH - JULY 29: A man holds balloons outside the National Mosque, Baitul Mukarram, during Eid al-Fitr on July 29, 2014 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Muslims around the world are celebrating Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

  • Iraqi Shiite women perform the Eid al-Fitr prayer at the headquarters of the Shiite Muslim Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council (SIIC) in Baghdad, on July 29, 2014, as followers of Iraq's top Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani celebrated the end of the holy month of Ramadan one day after Sunni Muslims in the country. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Azerbaijani Muslims pray in Taza Pir Mosque in the Azerbaijan's capital Baku, on July 29, 2014. Muslims around the world are celebrating Eid al-Fitr which marks the end of the month of Ramadan, after the sighting of the new crescent moon. AFP PHOTO/ TOFIK BABAYEV (Photo credit should read TOFIK BABAYEV/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Pakistan Eid

    Pakistani customers buy bangles ahead of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr in Islamabad, Pakistan, Monday, July 28, 2014. Pakistani Muslims will celebrate the Eid al-Fitr holiday that marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan. (B.K. Bangash)

  • An Egyptian child plays as Muslims pray Eid al-Fitr prayers, marking the end of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan at Al-Azhar mosque, the highest Islamic Sunni institution, in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, July 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

  • A relative of a child who was wounded in an Israeli strike, blows up a balloon in the corridor of the Shifa hospital in Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, Monday, July 28, 2014. A truce between Israel and Hamas militants remained elusive as diplomats sought to end the fighting at the start of the Eid al-Fitr holiday, marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

  • Marwan Hassanein, 4, receives a present for the Eid al-Fitr holiday, at the Shifa hospital in Gaza City, where he is hospitalized, Monday, July 28, 2014. Marwan was injured in head and eyes by shrapnel while fleeing with his family on July 20 during Israeli shelling in the Shijaiyah neighborhood. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

  • Muslim worshippers pray during the first day of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, at the Al Aqsa Mosque Compound in Jerusalem's Old City, Monday, July 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

  • Yemenis exchange greetings after Eid al-Fitr prayers that mark the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan in Sanaa, Yemen, Monday, July 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)

  • A Yemeni girl poses for a photograph as she attends the Eid al-Fitr prayer with her father, in Sanaa, Yemen, Monday, July 28, 2014. Monday marked the beginning of the three-day Eid al-Fitr holiday, which caps the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. Muslims usually start the day with dawn prayers and visiting cemeteries to pay their respects to the dead, with children getting new clothes, shoes and haircuts, and families visiting each other. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)

  • Kenyan Muslims join others to offer prayers outside Masjid Noor mosque during the first day of the Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan in Nairobi, Kenya on Monday, July 28, 2014. The Eid al-Fitr, one of the holiest religious practices, is celebrated with prayers and family reunions and other festivities among Muslims all over the world. (AP Photo/Sayyid Azim)

  • Indonesian Muslims leave their village by long boat to offer Eid al-Fitr prayers that marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan at the port in North Jakarta in Jakarta, Indonesia, Monday, July 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

  • A Bangladeshi Muslim girl living in Malaysia offers a prayer during the first day of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Monday, July 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin)

  • An Egyptian girl rides a swing in a street in Old Cairo celebrating the Eid al-Fitr holiday, marking the end of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan, in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, July 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

  • Iraqi Sunni Muslims pray on the first day of Eid al-Fitr prayers in Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, July. 28, 2014. Muslims worldwide are celebrating Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim

  • Kirkuk provincial Governor Najm al-Din Karim (C-L) have lunch with Kurdish peshmerga forces in the district of Daquq, 45 kms south of the multi-ethnic northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk on July 28, 2014 on the first day of the Muslim Eid festival ending the month-long fast of Ramadan. Islamic State jihadists who overran swathes of northern and western Iraq last month have not taken Kirkuk. AFP PHOTO/ MARWAN IBRAHIM (Photo credit should read MARWAN IBRAHIM/AFP/Getty Images)

  • LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 28: People arrive for morning prayers ahead of an Eid celebration in Burgess Park on July 28, 2014 in London, England. The Muslim holiday Eid marks the end of 30 days of dawn-to-sunset fasting during the holy month of Ramadan. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

  • LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 28: A girl blows bubbles during an Eid celebration in Burgess Park on July 28, 2014 in London, England. The Muslim holiday Eid marks the end of 30 days of dawn-to-sunset fasting during the holy month of Ramadan. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Click here for more information about Eid

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We have a commitment to each other in our shared humanity to be our very best on this day and every tomorrow that we are blessed to see. Don't be selfish and keep yourself from being surrounded by selfish people. The mindless consumption that renders a short-lived complacency from a simple a satiation of our stomachs should no longer be our pursuit. Instead elevate yourself to your highest station, free of any of fear of reaching your potential, and pursue real contentment by satisfying your soul through a nourishment that sees beyond the acquisition of things worldly. Do it so that the world will be better, even if it's just the world of those who are blessed to meet you. Where they might end up will be totally different because of how you impacted their life.

Read Imam Khalid Latif's full reflection here

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07/24/2014 3:02 PM EDT
The Last Few Days Of Ramadan
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As I am sure was the case with most of you, the last couple of weeks for me have been a roller coaster of emotions. The social media waves bombarding their respective networks with tweets and statuses filled with the faces of young, innocent Palestinian babies killed for no justifiable reason and the annoyance of those seeking still for some reason to justify it nonetheless has been more than intense. Our eyes have seen homes blown apart, people's faces fall as their lives shatter in front of them, the dirty realities of politics and the superficiality of some relationships. These images have hit us all hard, even those who knew better from before hand. How could one not be disturbed at such utter disregard for life?

gaza

Read Imam Khalid Latif's full reflection here

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A Reddit user found a note outside his university which shows the real meaning of the holy month of Ramadan. It was shared with the explanation, "Kid's note about Ramadan - found outside my uni. I am not Muslim but this made my day."

Read more here

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07/23/2014 9:55 AM EDT
Learning The Art Of Fasting

As I was sitting under an old Oak tree in Harvard Yard reading, the midday heat slowly crept up on me. I paused, put down my book, and observed the sunlight filtering through the green branches, causing tiny beads of sweat to form on my forehead. Coming from Europe, I had yet to get adjusted, not only to the intense heat, but also to the high demands of my educational endeavors, and life in the United States as a whole. In addition, having just recently embraced Islam as my religion of choice, I was still in the process of exploring my new faith.

The summer semester was soon to begin, and so was my first Ramadan. It was hot – too hot – and I couldn’t imagine fasting for over 16 hours each day, while at the same time taking classes, conducting research and studying for exams. I was about to give up before I even started. Picking up my book once again, I sifted through pages of poetry, and found some well needed inspiration:

"Stop eating bread. The sweet fast is here! You learned the art of eating. Now learn the art of fasting!"

Rumi’s call resonated. I too wanted to learn the art of fasting. Despite my concerns – and despite the heat – I was eager to find out the purpose and deeper meaning of Ramadan.

For many new Muslims, learning how to fast can be as rewarding as it is challenging. The process not only involves a change in eating and sleeping patterns, but also the acquisition of important religious practices, such as the nightly Taraweeh prayers. Perhaps the most valuable gift during this learning experience is the spiritual aspect of fasting, which involves establishing a connection with your inner self and the Devine. Despite the benefits however, fasting can be difficult, particularly for new Muslims whose bodies are not used to abstaining from food and water. Therefore, it is crucial to seek encouragement, support and guidance.

Luckily, I was surrounded by a vibrant Muslim community whose positive attitudes and uplifting spirits made fasting so much easier and enjoyable. I also signed up for a number of programs at local mosques, tailored specifically for converts. These programs ranged from classes regarding the basics of Islam, to monthly converTsations and iftar dinners for new Muslims and friends. Harnessing the power of social networks has also helped me to connect with and learn from likeminded individuals. Making use of these opportunities not only facilitated fasting, but also helped me to form enduring friendships, deepen my knowledge about Islam, and gain confidence as a new Muslim.

Islam is one of the fastest growing religions in the United States and around the world. Nearly a quarter of the estimated six million American Muslims are converts, coming from diverse cultural backgrounds and ethnicities. It is therefore crucial to accommodate the needs of converts – not only during Ramadan but throughout the year – in order to facilitate the learning process and to support new Muslims in their quest for knowledge, meaning and purpose.

Thinking back, sitting and sweating under the old Oak in Harvard Yard, exited and anxious, inspired by Rumi to learn the art of fasting. I am now wondering, what did it teach me? Fasting cultivates within me – within us – important values. It teaches empathy towards the poor and the needy. It provides space for community and friendship. It teaches patience, gratitude and perseverance. Fasting empties our stomachs, yet nourishes our souls.



Michelle Bangert studies International Relations at Harvard University’s Division for Continuing Education, specializing in Middle Eastern Affairs. She is an avid believer in the power of storytelling. Follow her on Twitter at @michellebjj

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07/23/2014 9:51 AM EDT
Ramadan For All
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This combination of two photos taken on Thursday, July 3, 2014, shows an Iranian Muslim family waiting to break their fast, top, and their meal, bottom, during the holy month of Ramadan in Tehran, Iran. After a long day of fasting, the moment of pay-off finally comes in the form of “iftar”, the evening meal that breaks the fast. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

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  • Day 1: A Different Kind of Thirst

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/imam-khalid-latif/ramadan-reflection-day-1_b_5541362.html" target="_blank">Read Imam Khalid Latif's full reflection here</a>

  • Day 2: Ramadan Is Making Me 'Hangry'

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/imam-khalid-latif/ramadan-reflection-day-2_b_5544808.html" target="_blank">Read Imam Khalid Latif's full reflection here</a>

  • Day 3: The Problem With Conditional Compassion

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/imam-khalid-latif/ramadan-reflection-day-3_b_5548941.html" target="_blank">Read Imam Khalid Latif's full reflection here</a>

  • Day 4: Mopping vs. Manliness -- You Don't Have to Be a Woman to Clean

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/imam-khalid-latif/ramadan-reflection-day-4_b_5552474.html" target="_blank">Read Imam Khalid Latif's full reflection here</a>

  • Day 5: Change it to #EyalGiladNaftaliMuhammed

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/imam-khalid-latif/ramadan-reflection-day-5_b_5555712.html" target="_blank">Read Imam Khalid Latif's full reflection here</a>

  • Day 6: Bringing Life Back Into Our Work/Life Balance

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/imam-khalid-latif/ramadan-reflection-day-6_b_5558791.html" target="_blank">Read Imam Khalid Latif's full reflection here</a>

  • Day 7: Prayers for the People of Burma's Concentration Camps

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/imam-khalid-latif/ramadan-reflection-day-12_b_5575863.html" target="_blank">Red Imam Khalid Latif's full reflection here</a>

  • Day 9: Ramadan Garbage Wars -- Ways to Close the Junkyard

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/imam-khalid-latif/ramadan-reflection-day-9_b_5564587.html" target="_blank">Read Imam Khalid Latif's full reflection here</a>

  • Day 10: I vs. We, Illness vs. Wellness

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/imam-khalid-latif/ramadan-reflection-day-10_b_5567966.html" target="_blank">Read Imam Khalid Latif's full reflection here</a>

  • Day 11: 'I'm Just Here to Pray' -- A Woman's Story About Being in the Mosque

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/imam-khalid-latif/ramadan-reflection-day-11_b_5571190.html" target="_blank">Read Imam Khalid Latif's full reflection here</a>

  • Day 12: Halal or Horrendous? Meat in the Muslim Community

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/imam-khalid-latif/ramadan-reflection-day-12_b_5575863.html" target="_blank">Read Imam Khalid Latif's full reflection here</a>

  • Day 13: A Love Supreme

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/imam-khalid-latif/ramadan-reflection-day-13_b_5579788.html" target="_blank">Read Imam Khalid Latif's full reflection here</a>

  • Day 16: Small Acts, Big Impacts

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/imam-khalid-latif/ramadan-reflection-day-16_b_5585573.html" target="_blank">Read Imam Khalid Latif's full reflection here</a>

  • Day 17: Organized Evil vs. Disorganized Righteousness

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/imam-khalid-latif/ramadan-reflection-day-17_b_5589179.html?1405619296" target="_blank">Read Imam Khalid Latif's full reflection here</a>

  • Day 18: No Woman Left Behind

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/imam-khalid-latif/ramadan-reflection-day-18_b_5592137.html" target="_blank">Read Imam Khalid Latif's full reflection here</a>

  • Day 19: When Bad Things Happen to Good People -- Dealing With Terrible Sermons in the Muslim Community

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/imam-khalid-latif/ramadan-reflection-day-19_b_5596575.html?1405634456" target="_blank">Read Imam Khalid Latif's full reflection here</a>

  • Day 20: Selfless Worship -- What Have I Done This Ramadan?

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/imam-khalid-latif/ramadan-reflection-day-20_b_5601242.html" target="_blank">Read Imam Khalid Latif's full reflection here</a>

  • Day 22: Lessons for Life from a Fight with My Wife

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/imam-khalid-latif/ramadan-reflection-day-22_b_5603906.html" target="_blank">Read Imam Khalid Latif's full reflection here</a>

  • Day 24: Giving Voice to the Voiceless -- Why We Need More Ayman Mohyeldins in the World

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/imam-khalid-latif/ramadan-reflection-day-24_b_5611265.html" target="_blank">Read Imam Khalid Latif's full reflection here</a>

  • Day 25: Yesterday I Met One of the Children of Gaza

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/imam-khalid-latif/ramadan-reflection-day-25_b_5615501.html" target="_blank">Read Imam Khalid Latif's full reflection here</a>

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07/16/2014 1:06 PM EDT
There Is Power In This

What happens when a billion people decide to collectively starve together?

RAMADAN!

The feelings of Ramadan are ones that Muslims know too well. It’s the most wonderful time of the year—so wonderful that it makes Christmas seem lame. There’s an air, a spiritual high of sorts—and once a year, the Muslim world gets a taste of what it’s like to embrace Islam in its true glory. Mixed with our bad breath is a wonderful sense of brotherhood, sisterhood, and community. We struggle together to refrain from food, and come together as a community almost every day- realizing once again why we like being Muslim. The struggle is there, but success is sweet, and it can be- dare we say it- fun!

We taste the unity, the sense of community and the beauty that can ensue when an ummah comes together in submission to the Almighty. We eagerly spend in the name of God, we work together, have dinners together, and we pray together . We give much in charity and we empathize with our brothers and sisters suffering around the world. We remember their plight and feel their pain. Some of us may even live in the mosque. We do all of this while we struggle to survive without food and water in the summer’s heat for 18 hours. For a month, we have the type of community that God envisioned for us to have throughout the entire year. We forsake the world for loftier goals, and we take pleasure in our worship. We take control of our own destinies, and become free in the way that God intended: submitting to Him entirely, free of any other attachment.

The beauty that we see in Ramadan is the result of a funky social experiment. This is what happens when people voluntarily starve together.

It’s not only beautiful, it’s a powerful idea. As Tariq Ramadan said: “Muslims, through this month of fasting are resisting: [showing] that they are against this order of profit and consumption." And, it’s true. There is nothing except for Allah SWT that can control us—there is nothing that we will not forsake in submission to Him. We will not bow to any system of power and greed. Materialism and satiation cannot control us—we control it. We are the epitome of self-control. We will resist and stay away from our most basic needs in submission to our Lord, and we will be united and composed even when ravenously hungry. Struggling together creates an unbreakable bond between us. In more revolutionary terms: There’s nothing they can do to stop us. Israel may wonder why starving Palestinians into submission to their internationally illegal occupation isn’t working, but to those who have seen Ramadan at work, it’s not that weird.

We will surely test you with a measure of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth, lives, and fruits; and give good news to the patient—those who, when an affliction visits them, say, ‘Indeed we belong to Allah and to Him do we indeed return. [The Qur’an, 2:155-6]

Threatening us with starvation [or anything else] will not work in coercing us to submit to oppression. The truth of the matter is that we will voluntarily starve in submission to our Lord, in our journey for the truth. We will let go of our most basic needs in submission to God, and we cannot be tempted by desires or needs: we are headstrong.

There is power in this-- hold it.

-Fatimah Amirali

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07/16/2014 10:11 AM EDT
Forgiveness
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07/15/2014 5:28 PM EDT
Make Real Changes
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As many Muslims sit down tonight to break their Ramadan fast at the annual White House iftar, a tradition started by President Bill Clinton, I am thinking about my brother Ahmed spending his 11th Ramadan away from my family.

President Obama, just as he has done every year since coming to office, will probably include in his remarks stories of successful Muslims making significant contributions to American society, attempting to show how interwoven Muslims are in the fabric of this country. What he won't mention, and what most in the room would rather not think about, is the growing number of Muslims who are victims of the U.S government's ruthless persecution of Muslims that includes spying, torture, and unfair trials.

Read more from Mariam Abu-Ali here

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07/15/2014 11:02 AM EDT
Amazing Ramadan Photos

Ramadan around the world!

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  • A Muslim youth, prays inside the Dome of the Rock mosque in the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, the third holiest site in Islam and referred to by Jews as the Temple Mount, during the holy fasting month of Ramadan, in Jerusalem's Old City, Wednesday, July 16, 2014. Muslims throughout the world are celebrating the holy fasting month of Ramadan, when observers fast from dawn till dusk. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

  • Roadside vendors sell delicacies for breaking the day-long fast during Ramadan, in Allahabad, India, Thursday, July 17, 2014. Muslims throughout the world are marking Ramadan, a month of fasting during which observant Muslims abstain from food and drink from sunrise to sunset. (AP Photo/ Rajesh Kumar Singh)

  • This combination of two photos taken on Tuesday, July 8, 2014, shows a Syrian refugee family waiting to break their fast, top, and their meal, bottom, during the holy month of Ramadan, next to the Temporary Centre for Immigrants in the Spanish enclave of Melilla, Spain. The family is from Aleppo, Syria, and they arrived to Melilla about four months ago. They fled war crossing through Turkey, Egypt, Algeria and Morocco before arriving to Spain. They are currently waiting for the Spanish authorities to allow them to travel to Europe. (AP Photo/Santi Palacios)

  • Iranian Shiite Muslims pray as they place the Quran, Islam's holy book, on their heads during a religious ceremony at the graves of soldiers who were killed during 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, at the Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery, during the holy fasting month of Ramadan, just outside Tehran, Iran, Saturday, July 19, 2014. Iranian Muslims spent the night in prayer and devotion commemorating Laylat Al Qadr, or the Night of Power, which is the anniversary of the night that Muslims believe Prophet Muhammad received the first revelation of the Quran by the angel Gabriel. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

  • Bangladeshi twins chat as they wait to buy train tickets to reach their homes ahead of Eid al-Fitr, at the Kamlapur central railway station in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Sunday, July 20, 2014. Special trains are being run anticipating heavy rush of passengers during the Muslim festival that marks the end of holy fasting month Ramadan. (AP Photo/A.M. Ahad)

  • A Muslim woman is seen through a curtain as she offers a prayer in Petaling Jaya, near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Monday, July 21, 2014. During Ramadan, the holiest month in Islamic 2calendar, Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, smoking and sex from dawn to dusk. (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin)

  • A Bangladeshi Muslim reads the holy Quran at a mosque during Ramadan in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Thursday, July 17, 2014. Muslims throughout the world are marking the month of Ramadan, during which they fast from dawn till dusk. (AP Photo/A.M. Ahad)

  • Muslim women pray inside the Dome of the Rock mosque in the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, the third holiest site in Islam and referred to by Jews as the Temple Mount, during the holy fasting month of Ramadan, in Jerusalem's Old City, Wednesday, July 16, 2014. Muslims throughout the world are celebrating the holy fasting month of Ramadan, when observants fast from dawn till dusk. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

  • Workers make toffee-like traditional sweet cake called "dodol," one of special Ramadan delicacies, at a factory in Serpong on the outskirts of Jakarta, Indonesia, Thursday, July 17, 2014. Muslims around the world are observing the holy fasting month of Ramadan in which they refrain from eating, drinking, smoking and sex from dawn to dusk. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)

  • In this photo taken in Sarajevo on Tuesday, July 15, 2014 a restaurant waitress dressed in traditional clothes of Bosnian Muslims prepares food for iftar dinner served at the end of the daylong fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Bosnian Muslims usually share iftar meal with family and friends, at home or in traditional restaurants. (AP Photo/Amel Emric)

  • In this photo taken in Sarajevo on Tuesday, July 15, 2014 a group of bakers are seen preparing flat, yeasty bread known as somun. All year around, bakeries in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo prepare the somun bread, served with many of the country’s traditional meals. But it is only for Ramadan that bakers sprinkle the somun dough with black cumin seeds that release an aromatic smell when baked in wood burning ovens. (AP Photo/Amel Emric)

  • In this photo taken on Tuesday, July 15, 2014 a group of young people are seen breaking their fast on top of an old fortress overlooking the historic core of Sarajevo. Now that Ramadan falls during the summer months, many young Sarajevo Muslims like to break their fast with friends on top of the fortress, replacing traditional meals with a simple slice of pizza.(AP Photo/Amel Emric)

  • Men and boys of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community pray after breaking their fast, Tuesday, July 15, 2014, at the Bait ul Naseer Mosque in Hallandale Beach, Fla. On the 17th day of Ramadan and 17th of Tammuz, Muslims and Jews broke the fast together at the mosque and prayed for peace in the Middle East. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

  • Rabbi Barry Silver, standing right, the spiritual leader for the Congregation L'Dor Va-Dor in Lake Worth, Fla., exposes his shirt that reads, "Peace," in English, Hebrew and Arabic, as he speaks to members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Tuesday, July 15, 2014, at the Bait ul Naseer Mosque in Hallandale Beach, Fla. On the 17th day of Ramadan and 17th of Tammuz, Muslims and Jews broke the fast together at the mosque and prayed for Middle East. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

  • Members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community break their fast at sunset by eating dates and other fruit, Tuesday, July 15, 2014, at the Bait ul Naseer Mosque in Hallandale Beach, Fla. On the 17th day of Ramadan and 17th of Tammuz, Muslims and Jews broke the fast together at the mosque and prayed for peace in the Middle East. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

  • An Indian Muslim boy takes a bowl as he arranges food for iftar inside a mosque during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan in Allahabad, India,Tuesday, July 15, 2014. Muslims throughout the world are observing the holy fasting month of Ramadan, refraining from eating, drinking and smoking from dawn to dusk. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

  • Iranian women recite verses of the Quran, Islam's holy book, during the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan at the shrine of Saint Mohammad Helal Ibn Ali in the city of Aran and Bidgol, some 140 miles (225 kilometers) south of the capital Tehran, Iran, Friday, July 11, 2014. Ramadan is a Muslim holy month of fasting during which Muslims abstain from food, drink and other pleasures from sunrise to sunset. For believers, Ramadan is meant to be a time of reflection and worship, remembering the hardships of others and being charitable. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

  • A Nepalese Muslim prays inside a mosque in Katmandu, Tuesday, July 15, 2014. Muslims throughout the world are marking the month of Ramadan, the holiest month in Islamic calendar during which devotees fast from dawn till dusk. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)

  • A Palestinian man rides a donkey cart past a damaged building following an early morning Israeli missile strike in the Gaza Strip, Friday, July 11, 2014. It’s the holy month of Ramadan, and throughout the Muslim world people are socializing with friends and family, buying presents for loved ones and breaking a day long fast amid colorful night time street scenes that inject even more vigor into already busy urban centers. But not in Gaza City, one of the world’s most densely populated cities. A ceaseless Israeli bombing campaign, with airstrikes every five minutes, has turned the frenetic hub of the Gaza Strip into a virtual ghost town, emptying streets, closing shops and keeping hundreds of thousands of people close to home where they feel safest from the bombs. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

  • In this Friday, July 11, 2014 photo, a main street is empty in Gaza City. It’s the holy month of Ramadan, and throughout the Muslim world people are socializing with friends and family, buying presents for loved ones and breaking a day long fast amid colorful night time street scenes that inject even more vigor into already busy urban centers. But not in Gaza City, one of the world’s most densely populated cities. A ceaseless Israeli bombing campaign, with airstrikes every five minutes, has turned the frenetic hub of the Gaza Strip into a virtual ghost town, emptying streets, closing shops and keeping hundreds of thousands of people close to home where they feel safest from the bombs. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

  • Indian Muslim students read religious texts during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan at the Madarse Madinatul-Uloom in Hyderabad on July 15, 2014. Like millions around the world, Indian Muslims celebrate the month of Ramadan by abstaining from eating, drinking, and smoking as well as sexual activities from dawn to dusk. AFP PHOTO/NOAH SEELAM (Photo credit should read NOAH SEELAM/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Bangladeshi Muslims attend Friday prayers at Baitul Mukaram mosque during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Friday, July 11, 2014. Muslims across the world refrain from eating, drinking and smoking from dawn to dusk during Ramadan. (AP Photo/A.M. Ahad)

  • Bahraini children, some wearing traditional clothes, collect chips and sweets in palm baskets during a mid-Ramadan celebration in Malkiya, Bahrain, Saturday, July 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)

  • An Egyptian recites verses of the Quran, Islam's holy book, as another prays with his prayer beads during the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan at Al-Azhar mosque, the highest Islamic Sunni institution, in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, July 11, 2014. During Ramadan, Muslims abstain from food, drink and other pleasures from sunrise to sunset. It is the time Muslims believe God started to reveal the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad. For believers, Ramadan is meant to be a time of reflection and worship, remembering the hardships of others and being charitable. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

  • Bangladeshi Muslims rest in the premise of a mosque during the month of Ramadan in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Saturday, July 12, 2014. Muslims throughout the world are celebrating the holy fasting month of Ramadan, refraining from eating, drinking, and smoking from dawn to dusk. (AP Photo/A.M. Ahad)

  • A Muslin woman walks past headscarves on display for sale at a Ramadan bazaar in Klang, outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Sunday, July 13, 2014. During the holy month of Ramadan, a daily bazaar offers various selections of clothing, food, prayer mats and other religious items to Muslims who traditionally shop for new outfits to welcome the end of the month, Eid al-Fitr celebrations in Malaysia. (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin)

  • A perigee moon, also known as a supermoon, is seen under a traditional Ramadan lantern that decorates a building in Beirut, Lebanon, Saturday, July 12, 2014. The phenomenon, which scientists call a "perigee moon," occurs when the moon is near the horizon and appears larger and brighter than other full moons. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

  • A perigee moon, also known as a supermoon, is seen behind a lantern, used as decoration during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, at a shop in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, July 13, 2014. The phenomenon, which scientists call a "perigee moon," occurs when the moon is near the horizon and appears larger and brighter than other full moons. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

  • Afghan boys read the Quran during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan at a mosque in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Monday, July 14, 2014. For believers, Ramadan is meant to be a time of reflection and worship, remembering the hardships of others and being charitable. (AP Photo/Allauddin Khan)

  • Spain's King Felipe VI, left and Morocco's king Mohammed VI arrive at the king Palace for Ramadan iftar in Rabat, Monday, July 14, 2014. Recently crowned King Felipe VI was in Morocco during his third foreign visit as new king of Spain after meeting Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva on July 7. (AP Photo/Abdeljalil Bounhar)

  • A Nepalese Muslim reads verses from the Quran, Islam's holy book inside a mosque in Katmandu, Tuesday, July 15, 2014. Muslims throughout the world are marking the month of Ramadan, the holiest month in Islamic calendar during which devotees fast from dawn till dusk. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)

  • WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 14: (AFP-OUT) U.S. President Barack Obama delivers an opening speech as the host of an Iftar dinner celebrating Ramadan in the State Dining Room of the White House on July 14, 2014 in Washington. (Photo by Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images)

  • Bangladeshi passengers hang on to an overcrowded bus to travel home, as others wait for transport ahead of Iftar, the meal eaten by Muslims to break their fast, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Tuesday, July 15, 2014. Muslims throughout the world are observing the holy fasting month of Ramadan, refraining from eating, drinking and smoking from dawn to dusk. (AP Photo/A.M. Ahad)

  • Indian Muslims offer prayers after breaking their fast during the holy month of Ramadan at a Maszid in Hyderabad on July 11, 2014. Like millions of Muslim around the world, Indian Muslims celebrated the month of Ramadan by abstaining from eating, drinking, and smoking as well as sexual activities from dawn to dusk. AFP PHOTO/ Noah SEELAM (Photo credit should read NOAH SEELAM/AFP/Getty Images)

  • An Indian Muslim family offers prayers prior to breaking their fast in their home during the holy month of Ramadan in Hyderabad on July 11, 2014. Like millions of Muslim around the world, Indian Muslims celebrated the month of Ramadan by abstaining from eating, drinking, and smoking as well as sexual activities from dawn to dusk. AFP PHOTO/ Noah SEELAM (Photo credit should read NOAH SEELAM/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Malaysian Muslims cook the famous 'Dodol' dish to be given for breaking fast at a mosque during the fasting month of ramadan in Kuala Lumpur on July 13, 2014. Dodol is a sweet toffee-like confection, popular in Malaysia that is cooked and distributed during ramadan. AFP PHOTO / MOHD RASFAN (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • SURABAYA, INDONESIA - JULY 13: A Muslim boy walks in the Mosque to pray before breaking of the fast during Ramadan on July 13, 2014 in Surabaya, Indonesia. Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar is marked by a month of fasting, prayers, and recitation of the Quran. (Photo by Robertus Pudyanto/Getty Images)

  • SURABAYA, INDONESIA - JULY 13: A Muslim boy reads the Quran as he waits for the breaking of the fast during Ramadan on July 13, 2014 in Surabaya, Indonesia. Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar is marked by a month of fasting, prayers, and recitation of the Quran. (Photo by Robertus Pudyanto/Getty Images)

  • SURABAYA, INDONESIA - JULY 13: Muslims sit in a mosque for prayer and reading the Quran during Ramadan on July 13, 2014 in Surabaya, Indonesia. Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar is marked by a month of fasting, prayers, and recitation of the Quran. (Photo by Robertus Pudyanto/Getty Images)

  • An Afghan man distributes food to poor people during the holy month of Ramadan in Ghazni on July 13, 2014. Across the Muslim world, the faithful fast from dawn to dusk and strive to be more pious during the holy month, which ends with the Eid holiday. AFP PHOTO/Rahmatullah Alizadah (Photo credit should read Rahmatullah Alizadah/AFP/Getty Images)

  • SURABAYA, INDONESIA - JULY 13: An Indonesian Muslims girls show their henna painted hand during Ramadan on July 13, 2014 in Surabaya, Indonesia. Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar is marked by a month of fasting, prayers, and recitation of the Quran. (Photo by Robertus Pudyanto/Getty Images)

  • A Kashmiri Muslim woman prays inside a shrine of a Sufi saint during Ramadan in Srinagar, India, Wednesday, July 9, 2014. Muslims throughout the world are celebrating the holy fasting month of Ramadan, refraining from eating, drinking, and smoking from dawn to dusk. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)

  • A Kashmiri Muslim woman prays inside the shrine of a Sufi saint during Ramadan in Srinagar, India, Wednesday, July 9, 2014. Muslims throughout the world are celebrating the holy fasting month of Ramadan, refraining from eating, drinking, and smoking from dawn to dusk. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)

  • Kashmiri Muslim women pray on a window of the Grand Mosque during the holy month of Ramadan in Srinagar, India, Monday, July 7, 2014. Muslims across the world are observing the holy fasting month of Ramadan, where they abstain from food, drink and other pleasures from sunrise to sunset. (AP Photo/Mukhtar Khan)

  • An elderly Kashmiri Muslim woman arrives for prayers inside the Grand Mosque during the holy month of Ramadan in Srinagar, India, Monday, July 7, 2014. Muslims across the world are observing the holy fasting month of Ramadan, where they abstain from food, drink and other pleasures from sunrise to sunset. (AP Photo/Mukhtar Khan)

  • Indian Muslims perform Wudhu moments before Iftar, the sunset meal when Muslims break their fast during the holy month of Ramadan, at the Jama Masjid mosque in New Delhi, Sunday, July 6, 2014. Muslims throughout the world are marking Ramadan--a month of fasting during which observant Muslims abstain from food, drink and other pleasures from sunrise to sunset. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

  • An Indian Muslim woman prays after Iftar, the sunset meal when Muslims break their fast during the holy month of Ramadan, at the Jama Masjid mosque in New Delhi, Sunday, July 6, 2014. Muslims throughout the world are marking Ramadan--a month of fasting during which observant Muslims abstain from food, drink and other pleasures from sunrise to sunset. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

  • A Muslim vendor is seen through an Eid al-Fitr decoration as she waits for customers at a shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Sunday, July 6, 2014. During Ramadan, the holiest month in Islamic calendar, Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, smoking and sex from dawn to dusk. (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin)

  • A Palestinian girl reads the Quran, Islam's holy book, at sunset in Gaza City on Friday, July 4, 2014. Muslims throughout the world are celebrating the holy fasting month of Ramadan, refraining from eating, drinking, and smoking from dawn to dusk. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

  • Kosovo Muslims arrive for prayers at the newly constructed 'Bajram Pasha Isa Beg' mosque in Mitrovica on July 7, 2014 during the holy fasting month of Ramadan. Muslims around the world are expected to abstain from food, drink,smoking and sex from sunrise to sunset. AFP PHOTO / ARMEND NIMANI (Photo credit should read ARMEND NIMANI/AFP/Getty Images)

  • An Indian Muslim devotee reads from the Quran in the courtyard of the Jama Masjid during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan in New Delhi on July 6, 2014. During the holy month of Ramadan Muslims around the world focus on prayer, fasting, giving to charity, and religious devotion. AFP PHOTO/ SAJJAD HUSSAIN (Photo credit should read SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP/Getty Images)

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07/11/2014 11:39 AM EDT
Ramadan, Prayer, and Drawing Maps

Ever since I was a young girl, I knew that Ramadan was an extraordinary time of the year. It is a time when there was an abundance of everything in our lives -- food, family, friends, love, giving, forgiving, and prayers.

Much to the exasperation of my parents, I insisted on fasting all 30 of the fasts, including on school days, when I was only seven-years-old. My parents instructed my teacher to keep an eye on me -- to feed me and give me water if I felt faint. But I spent the whole day -- even sitting through lunch in the cafeteria- without craving a bite. Thoughts of iftar and breaking fast with my family kept me strong and full.

While breaking our fasts, Baba asked us to pray; to remember all that we were blessed with and to thank Allah for these blessings. He then reminded us of those who never broke their fasts because they were too poor to buy food to eat. Our iftars were a time for deep reflection.

Read more from Sabina Khan-Ibarra here

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07/10/2014 5:25 PM EDT
Fasting Safely

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has issued a leaflet with advice on how to fast safely in the current hot weather.

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The Muslim community hasn't always been the best about dealing with real-life experiences, including issues relevant to mental health. In the United States at least, aside from a masjid in most cities, there is an absence of other much-needed organizations and social services. Mental health and counseling have been taboo at best for many years and now as people start to discuss these topics more, one adverse consequence is many in our community being more confused about what they are supposed to do with the information they are hearing and how it is supposed to fit into their lives.

...

In Ramadan you're going to find a lot of people who are coming to terms with certain things about themselves. In order to move forward, they will be taking on obstacles that have existed within themselves for years but they're only starting to see now. You don't have to be their adviser or counselor. You don't even have to be their friend. You just have to be there. Take a step toward them so that they can continue to take steps forward in their lives.

Read Imam Khalid Latif's full reflection here

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07/08/2014 11:03 AM EDT
The Lost Soul Of Shariah Law

Excerpted from Maryam Sakeenah's "Boko Haram and the Crisis of Authority in the Muslim World":

‘Whose Shariah?’, however, is a contentious, tricky question we do not have many answers to- but it is the very heart of the matter. The implications of this are seriously damaging to the wider interests of Islam.

Because this gives a distinct religious colour to the violent, attention-seeking tactics used by these groups, Islam is perceived as either intrinsically violent or with a dangerous potency to fuel religious violence. Simplified, reductionist stereotypes of Islam and Muslims are strengthened. This makes harder the task of peacemakers, healers and arbiters engaged in toning down the precarious polarization between Islam and ‘the West.’

The media shows such violence and militancy as essentially religious, not seeing it for its secular-materialist socio political underpinnings and the raw drive for winning power to redress perceived disempowerment by fringe groups.

Speaking of Boko Haram, it has been heartening to see Muslim opinion leaders and scholars speak out against its methods, emphatically dissociating it from mainstream Islam. However, highly needful as it was, what was found wanting was a more specific refutation of the textual basis from where such actions of such groups seek justification.

In fact, there is a vital and basic understanding almost missing from Muslim collective consciousness- that many minutiae of Islamic law are rooted in cultural context. They were neither revealed laws nor stipulated as universal, absolute unalterable laws by divine will. The Quran and sunnah directly address and legislate for a few matters, and these texts are but few compared to the entire volume of Islamic juristic literature which was compiled and developed over the historical evolution of Islamic civilization.

...

The failure of contemporary Muslim jurisprudence has been the inability to put the spirit at the core of the letter of the law and to make Muslims understand that the law exists to protect the essential values; that it is the protection of those values that are the heart of the matter, while laws are often bound by culture and historicity. This explains the unseeing literalism and fanaticism for restoring the letter of the Shariah in corrupt and decadent Muslim societies and the preoccupation with juristic nitpicking in the Muslim world.

It is the crisis of authority in the Muslim world due to which random groups pining for the return of Muslim glory make bold claims as to what constitutes Shariah law and give their own misconstrued versions tracing them back to sacred texts or early Muslim culture. Those who got together to condemn Boko Haram’s actions as unIslamic must also with a single voice present a blueprint of Islamic law that is relevant, practical and applicable today, in tune with contemporary cultural and socio political context. It is a long haul, but unless such a juristic magnum opus is initiated, twisted, grotesque and soulless versions of ‘Shariah’ will keep haunting us like a spectre. Authority as to who interprets religious law and how has to be won back.

Continue reading more from Maryam Sakeenah here

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07/08/2014 10:39 AM EDT
Community

My name is Cody Scercy. I am twenty years old and a convert to Judaism. It has become my tradition, for the third consecutive year, to fast for the month of Ramadan in solidarity with the Muslim community. I'm from the small town of China Grove, North Carolina but I attended UNC Greensboro the year before last where I met some Muslim friends and became exposed to the Islamic community.

On July 5th, my synagogue, Temple Or Olam, will be doing a charitable act of Biblical origins. We will be gleaning a local farmer's corn field and donating it to the poor. Gleaning comes from the mandate in the Torah for farmers to leave an appointed portion of his crop unharvested to be given to the poor and needy (Leviticus 23:22). I can think of no other message more central to the theme of Ramadan than feeding the poor and hungry. As it is echoed within the Hebrew Bible: "Is this such a fast I desire? A day for men to starve their bodies? Is it bowing the head like a bulrush and lying in sackcloth and ashes? Do you call that a fast; a favorable day of the L-rd? No, this is the fast I desire, to unlock the fetters of wickedness and untie the cords of the yoke. It is to share your bread with the hungry, and to take the poor into your home; when you see the naked, to clothe him and not to ignore your own kin" (Isaiah 58:5-7). So, as I am fasting and my Jewish community is performing good deeds, know that you we stand with you in this holy time. We wish you all, Ramadan Mubarak!

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07/07/2014 3:37 PM EDT
Solidarity
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07/04/2014 2:04 PM EDT
Patience
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07/04/2014 2:03 PM EDT
DKNY Launches Ramadan Collection
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"Why is that in every piece written from the NY Times to CNN on Muhammed Abu Khdeir, all that is shown are images of soldiers fighting civilians? No tears, no sorrow, no grief to empathize with. Just images that add to the overt otherizing of a people that feel pain just like any other people would. Images that justify our own passivity to a real conflict that is taking place that all of our hearts should feel torn apart by. Images that make us numb to the reality that there are actual lives tied to the thousands of casualties of this conflict. Each one has a name and a narrative, including young Muhammed Abu Khdeir. He lived in the same land as Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Fraenkel, was the same age as them, and lost his life senselessly just as they did. Why do we not get to see him? Some articles are not even mentioning his name. They are just referring to him as "a young, Palestinian teen." His life, his Palestinian life, and the lives of countless others whose stories we will never hear, are just as important and we have a duty to sanctify each one."

Read the rest of Imam Khalid Latif's blog here.

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07/03/2014 2:18 PM EDT
Chinese Muslims Celebrate Ramadan

Even with China's recent sanctions on Ramadan fasting, these Chinese Muslims are celebrating the holy month.

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"Aisha, the wife of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said of her husband: "God's Messenger used to patch his sandals, sew his garment and conduct himself at home as anyone of you does in his house. He was a human being, searching his garment for lice, milking his sheep, and doing his own chores." She was once asked what did the Prophet use to do at home. She replied, "He used to keep himself busy serving his family and when it was time for the prayer, he would get up for prayer."

In discussing this briefly with a few other men, the idea came up that women are "supposed" to be the ones that take care of the home and that's why they don't really do too much. Because Islam tells them not to. I guess someone must have forgot to tell that to the Prophet Muhammad since he seemingly helped around the house. It's a good thing that we know better today. (This is sarcasm, by the way, in case you are reading it as something else.)

Our ability to do should not be stifled by a weak argument of whether we are obligated to do or not. As husbands, brothers, sons, nephews, friends or guests, we as men should be doing our fair share and beyond, especially in this month of Ramadan."

Read the rest of Imam Khalid Latif's blog here.

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07/02/2014 4:52 PM EDT
Ramadan Desserts
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"Many of us like to treat the month of Ramadan as a spiritual bubble that serves as a retreat away from the world. We hope that for 30 days and 30 nights we can engage in introspection and spiritual growth. It's important to remember that whether it's Ramadan or not, life doesn't stop. Being in a real state of fasting should make us more sensitive to the realities that this world sometimes slaps us in the face with.

The news of the last 24 hours has been heartbreaking to say the least. From the Supreme Court ruling on Burwell v. Hobby Lobby to the explosive disruption of rockets in the Middle East, the world regularly reminds us that it is not an easy place to live in. To see the images of rockets blasting in Gaza brought tears to my eyes. My thoughts and prayers are with all of the people there. And to anyone who reads that sentence and says, "What about the three Israeli boys whose bodies were found this week?" I include them and their loved ones in my thoughts and prayers as well. My question is, what is really the implication of that question and do we understand how asking it is a key indicator of why we are not moving forward together, but quite separate from each other."

Continue reading Imam Khalid Latif's erflection here

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