Understand Ramadan

  • Week of June 3, 2018

The Muslim holy month of Ramadan started this year on Tuesday, May 15 and an estimated 1.6 billion Muslims around the world will observe it. According to a Pew Research study, “Muslims will grow more than twice as fast as the overall world population between 2015 and 2060 and, in the second half of this century, will likely surpass Christians as the world’s largest religious group.” Despite this, last year Trump abandoned a 20-year tradition of a Ramadan dinner at the White House. And don’t let Trump’s recent Happy Ramadan tweet fool you--his hateful rhetoric and actions have emboldened anti-Muslim extremists and spurred an increase in hate crimes against Muslims.

While Islam is the world’s fastest growing religion, and Muslims are fasting from sunrise to sunset this Ramadan (yep, that includes no water!), the growth of our collective understanding of Islam has been slow.

All-of-us must increase our understanding of the Muslim faith and of Ramadan.

Here’s how:

1. Read this (entertaining!) Medium piece “Ramadan FAQ”, written by Rafah Ali, a student at Northwestern.

2. During Ramadan, Muslims give Zakat, or donations, to those in need. Participate by supporting Muslim charities. We’d like to suggest this one, by Zam Zam Water, which will support orphans in Afghanistan. You can also donate to CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

3. Watch this Being Muslim and American podcast created by the Aspen Institute.

4. Learn about and celebrate Ibtijah Muhammad, the first Muslim woman to wear a Hijab while in the Olympics. Ibtihaj is a fencer and, like many Muslim athletes, fasts for Ramadan even when training. Listen to this interview on this podcast (See Something Say Something) focused on Muslims.

5. Wish your Muslim friends “Ramadan Mubarak” or “Ramadan Kareem”!