By the grace of God, the world has entered another blessed month of Ramadan. This special time is one of celebration, community, and closeness with the Creator. See the collection of photos below from past Ramadans to get a glimpse of how American Muslims celebrate this anticipated time of year.
1- “Ramadan Kareem” translates to “Happy Ramadan,” and it is a way many Muslims greet one another upon the entry of the season. Photo courtesy of Muzdalifa Ayub Syed.
2 – Every Muslim is very aware of time during Ramadan days. Fasting begins at dawn and ends with sunset. Many families keep a clock that announces the call to prayer with each of the five prayer times, like the one pictured here. When the time for the Maghrib prayer at sunset comes in, Muslims can break their fast. Photo courtesy of Tehmina Tirmizi.
3 – Speaking of breaking the fast, Muslims often do so with a date (pictured in the jars above) and water. This is a practice, or sunnah, of the Prophet Muhammad (blessings and peace be upon him). Muslims try extra hard to act on the sunnah during the month of Ramadan, and eating a date is an easy way to incorporate one. Photo courtesy of the Qaadri Family.
4 – After breaking the fast with a date, many Muslims enjoy eating traditional foods from their homelands with Ramadan-specific recipes passed down from previous generations. Photo courtesy of Muzdalifa Ayub Syed.
5 – In Ramadan, Muslims try to build a stronger connection with the Quran, Islam’s Holy Book, and the Prophet Muhammad (blessings and peace be upon him). A verse in the Quran is called an ayah, and the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (blessings and peace be upon him) are called Hadith. On this decorated door, there is an “Ayah/Hadith of the Day” to keep the special words present in the minds of the home’s inhabitants during Ramadan. Photo courtesy of Mubeen Husain.
6 – Muslims are taught to always be kind to their neighbors, and that practice doesn’t stop in Ramadan. In this photo from a Ramadan in Seattle last year, the favor is ever-so-kindly returned. Photo courtesy of Iqra Ahmad.
7 – American Muslim parents try to get their kids involved in Ramadan festivities. While fasting is not obligated until the age of puberty, the spirit of Ramadan spreads to all members of the family. Decorating cupcakes are definitely a way to bring a smile to any face, fasting or not. Photo courtesy of the Qaadri Family.
8 – Another way for the children to enjoy the month is putting up decorations around the house. Lights, lanterns, geometric patterns, and crescent/stars are all common themes among Ramadan displays. Photo courtesy of Rafique Vahora.
9 – Adults will often have goals for themselves to focus on in the month, such as fasting, increasing in prayer, and reciting more Quran. Children have goals too. They can work on not arguing with their siblings, helping their parents prepare food, and cleaning their plates. Aysha Qamar, pictured above with her brother, says, “Because we were taught that Ramadan is the month of giving and patience, each year my siblings and I have a tradition of gifting each other something, no matter how small, throughout the month. We take Ramadan to not only reflect on the things we are grateful for but to also acknowledge and thank one another.” Photo courtesy of Aysha Qamar.
10 – While the Ramadan days are spent fasting, the nights are dedicated to performing prayer. The prayer specific to Ramadan nights is called Taraweeh. Many Muslims opt to go to the mosque where the prayer is made in congregation, often completing the entire recitation of the Quran over the course of the month. It is a beautiful community practice that reconnects Muslims with their mosques, like the Muslim Center of Greater Princeton pictured above. Photo courtesy of @mcgp_nj.