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Ramadan Mubarak! Brooklyn's Muslim Community Begins the Holy Month of Prayer, Fasting and Celebration

Ramadan is a period of fasting and spiritual introspection, a celebration of the month during which Muhammad received the initial revelations of what became the Quran.
eid, ramadan
Photo: Rayn L/

One of the most sacred Muslim holidays, Ramadan, began at sundown on Sunday, March 10.

Ramadan is celebrated as the month during which the prophet Muhammad received the initial revelations of what became the Quran.

During this holy month of spiritual introspection — which includes cleansing, charity, good deeds, kindness, gift-giving and helping others — thousands of Muslim people across Brooklyn will sustain up to 16 hours without food and water.

Fasting, which is one of the ways to honor the holy month, can help people feel closer to God and ensure they are not led astray by materialistic desires during Ramadan or any other month. Fasting can also serve as a meaningful equalizer between the rich and the poor.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the 12-month Islamic calendar, a lunar calendar that's based on the phases of the moon. The lunar calendar falls short of the solar calendar by 11 days. As a result, Ramadan doesn't start on the same date each year and instead, over time, passes through all the seasons.

The Muslim community in New York City is nearly 800,000 people strong, according to Muslims for American Progress. Some will wake up before sunrise to eat a small meal, called suhoor, before the fast begins. Each day's fast is broken with a festive meal, called iftar. Traditionally, a date is eaten to break the fast.

The daily routine includes special Ramadan prayers and Quran recitations at night, lasting from 9:30pm-11:30pm. Besides fasting, some Muslim people will also commit to abstaining from intimate relations and some will read the entire Quran. For children, fasting usually begins after puberty hits. 

The conclusion of Ramadan is marked with a major celebration known as Eid al-Fitr, the Feast of Fast-Breaking. It starts the day after Ramadan ends.

Eid al-Fitr includes special prayers and meals with friends and relatives, and gifts are often exchanged. This year, the three-day celebration of Eid al-Fitr will begin at sundown on April 9.

"Ramadan mubarak" is Arabic for "blessed Ramadan," and is a traditional greeting. 

Ramadan mubarak, Brooklyn!