Ramazan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar used by Muslims, is the most spiritual time in Islam, and this year it arrives at an unsettled time for those in America.
Ramazan began with the first sighting of the new moon. At this time, observant Muslim families awake before dawn for suheri, the first and only meal of the day until sunset.
For 30 days, Muslims refrain from food or water from sunrise to sunset. Observing the fast is one of the five pillars of Islam, an act of faith required for all Muslims who are physically able.
Each evening the fast is broken, and families attend the mosque for daily prayers. It is also a time of giving to poors and needy. At the end of Ramazan, Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr, which also marks the end of the fast. Family and friends get together, and children receive candy and presents.
“Ramazan is the month that the Quran was revealed [to Muhammad PBUH]. It’s a time for spiritual restoration,” said Noora Brown of New Britain, “It’s not just a fast from food and water. It’s a fast from saying bad words or losing your temper. You don’t want to lose the reward of the fast, so you try to avoid those kinds of things.”
“As bad as things have been, some good has come out of it,” said Ghada Salhab of West Hartford. “People are asking questions and wanting to know about Islam and about Ramazan and what it means.”
“My colleagues ask me questions, and they have borrowed books from me,” said Lisa Kling, an East Hartford resident. “I think they are also very curious about women and Islam. They think we can’t talk for ourselves, or that we are all oppressed and that our husbands make us dress the way we do.”
Bookstores have been flooded with requests for books about Islam and the Middle East, as well as books on Afghanistan and terrorism. Publishers are updating new titles by the day to keep up with the interest.
“We have sold quite a few Qurans. People are obviously looking for [an] understanding of Islam,” said Teri LaClair, area marketing director for Borders Books & Music.