CAIR-PA Hosts Interfaith ‘Sharing Ramadan’ Events
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Share the breaking of the fast with American Muslim families

(PHILADELPHIA, PA, 8/8/08) – Beginning September 6, the Pennsylvania chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-PA) will host ‘Sharing Ramadan’ events that offer opportunities for people of all faiths to experience the Muslim month of fasting.

“These events will allow American Muslims to share and celebrate the importance of the month of Ramadan with people of all faiths,” said CAIR-PA Philadelphia Interfaith Chair Lee Phillips. “Ramadan is the month on the Islamic lunar calendar when fasting, charity, prayer, and peace are prescribed for all Muslims.”

Ramadan is the month on the Islamic lunar calendar during which Muslims abstain from food, drink and other sensual pleasures from break of dawn to sunset. The fast is performed to learn discipline, self-restraint and generosity, while obeying God’s commandments. Fasting (along with the declaration of faith, daily prayers, charity, and pilgrimage to Mecca) is one of the “five pillars” of Islam. The end of Ramadan is marked by communal prayers called “Eid ul-Fitr,” or Feast of the Fast-Breaking. (Ask local coordinators for exact dates and times of Ramadan events.)

During Ramadan, Muslims fast from break of dawn to dusk and end their fasts with a meal after sunset prayers. They also invite friends and family to their homes and mosques to share meals together at this special time of the year.”

Upcoming Sharing Ramadan Events:
RSVP by contacting Sharing Ramadan Event Coordinator Justin Peyton 215.592.0509 or e-Mail: cairphilly@gmail.com

Sharing Ramadan Schedule:

September 13 at 6:50 p.m.
Foundation for Islamic Education, 1860 Montgomery Avenue, Villanova, PA

September 13 at 6:50 p.m.
Islamic Society of Greater Valley Forge, 958 Valley Forge Road, Devon, PA

September 14 at 6:50 p.m.
Foundation for Islamic Education, 1860 Montgomery Avenue, Villanova, PA

September 20 at 6:00 p.m.
Upper Providence Elementary School, 833 South Lewis Rd. Building #3, Royersford, PA

September 20 at 6:40 p.m.
Foundation for Islamic Education, 1860 Montgomery Avenue, Villanova, PA

September 20, 2008 at 6:40 pm
North Penn Mosque, 600 Maple Avenue, Lansdale, PA 19466

September 21 at 6:40 p.m.
Foundation for Islamic Education, 1860 Montgomery Avenue, Villanova, PA

September 27 at 6:30 p.m.
Foundation for Islamic Education, 1860 Montgomery Avenue, Villanova, PA

September 27, 2008 at 6:30 pm
Zubaida Foundation, 850 Big Oak Road, Yardley, PA 19067

September 28 at 6:30 p.m.
Foundation for Islamic Education, 1860 Montgomery Avenue, Villanova, PA

WELCOME TO OUR RAMADAN FAST-BREAKING

Welcome to the Iftar!

The iftar, or ‘fast-breaking,’ is an integral part of Muslim community life during the sacred month of Ramadan. At sunset every night during Ramadan, Muslims around the world gather in their homes and mosques to break their fast together with their families and communities. This communal meal comes after a day of self-discipline in which Muslims abstain from food and drink and make an extra effort to avoid impatience and harsh words. After eating, Muslims will spend the evening seeking the pleasure of God through contemplation and prayer.

The Islamic Greeting

The Islamic greeting frequently heard in the mosque is the Arabic phrase, “As-salamu alaykum” meaning “peace be with you”. The customary response is “Wa alaykum as-salaam”, which means “and with you be peace”.

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan (pronounced rom-uh-dahn) is the ninth lunar month of the calendar used by Muslims. This month is special because the Qur’an (Islamic holy scripture) was first revealed during this month. During Ramadan, all healthy adult Muslims must fast by abstaining from food and drink from break of dawn until sunset every day. They also strive to spiritually purify themselves by trying to abstain from all that is evil in speech and action. It is also recommended that each Muslim read the entire Qur’an during this month.

When will the fast be broken?

At sunset, the adhan (call to prayer) will be made. This call to prayer is always recited in Arabic and is the signal for Muslims to break their fast, often with the traditional three dates and water. Before sitting down for a meal, they stand together for the sunset prayer.

The Call to Prayer (translation)

God is most Great, God is Most Great
God is Most Great, God is Most Great
I bear witness that there is no God but [the One] God
I bear witness that there is no God but [the One] God
I bear witness that Muhammad is a Messenger of God
I bear witness that Muhammad is a Messenger of God
Hasten to prayer, Hasten to prayer
Hasten to success, Hasten to success
God is Most Great, God is Most Great
There is no god but [the One] God

The Sunset Prayer

Muslims strive for physical and mental purity before standing in prayer. To that end, they are required to wash their faces, hands, arms and feet before praying.

Guests are welcome to observe the prayers. Your hosts will direct you to an appropriate place to sit and watch. Kindly observe silence and kindly remove shoes before entering the prayer hall. Women are requested to cover their heads with scarves which should be provided by your hosts.

After the call to prayer, Muslims will move to the prayer hall to line up for the congregational prayer. They will form tight ranks, a symbol of unity and equality within the Muslim community. Men and women form separate lines for the prayer in order to maintain modesty and concentration during the physical movements of standing, bowing and prostration. Their separation does not, in any way, symbolize any relative superiority or inferiority.

The prayer begines as the imam, or prayer leader (pronounced ee-mahm), raises his hands with the words “Allahu Akbar” (“God is most Great”). From that moment, worshippers are required to devote total concentration to the prayer as they follow the words and actions of the imam. The imam first recites the opening chapter of the Quran, called Al-Fatiha, and follows this with more Quranic verses of his choosing. After the recitation, worshippers bow and prostrate in unison, silently praising God.

The prayer ends as worshippers turn their faces to either both sides with the Arabic words meaning, “Peace be with you and the mercy of God.” Some of the congregation will then stand to leave the prayer hall while others will add their own personal devotions afterwards.

Al-Fatiha (translation of opening chapter of Quran)

In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
Praise to be God, Lord of the Worlds
The Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful
Ruler of the Day of Judgment
Only You do we worship, only You do we ask for help
Show us the straight path
The path of those whom You have favored
Not that of those who earn Your anger nor those who go astray.

Children in the Prayer Hall

Children will often be present during prayers, whether participating or watching. Their presence continues the tradition of the Prophet Muhammad, who was very tender towards children. The Prophet sometimes carried one of his grandchildren on his shoulders while leading the prayer and was also known to shorten his prayer if he heard a baby crying.

The Iftar

After completing the sunset prayer, Muslims join in a joyous and nutritious meal. Because Islam is a global religion, there are many special Ramadan foods enjoyed by different ethnic groups. Among these are soups and salads, rice dishes and meat, and of course, sweets.

Since Islamic etiquette enjoins modesty in behavior, many mosques will have separate seating areas for single men and single women. Families may choose to sit together as a unit or family members may choose to sit down with their friends in their respective areas. Seating arrangements will vary from one community to another. During Ramadan, Muslims begin their meal with the prayer, “O God, for You I fasted, and in You I believe, with Your provision I broke your fast.” After eating, Muslims say “alhamdulillah” (“thanks be to God”).

The Night Prayer

The final of the five daily prayers is said as night falls. Like the other four prayers, it is preceded by the adhan and is carried out in congestion. A special lengthy prayer called salat al-taraweeh is said only during the month of Ramadan, after the night prayer. It is optional and characterized by long recitations of the Quran.

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CONTACT: CAIR-PA Executive Director, Justin Peyton, Tel: 215-592-0509, Email: jpeyton@cair.com

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