News / Middle East

US Muslims Begin Ramadan

TEXT SIZE - +
Karlina Amkas
Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting, begins for Muslims in the U.S. on Friday. How do Muslims in America set the first day of fasting and what are the roles of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and Indonesian Muslim organizations here in this country?
 
The Fiqh Council of North America, which interprets Islamic law, decided that the first day of Ramadan in the U.S. would be Friday, as it is in most of the Arab world and parts of Asia. The Council, consisting of a set of American Muslim scholars, based its decision on a scientific calculation called Hisab. It enables them to determine the start of the fasting month years in advance.
 
The Hisab method is different from another method called Rukyah, which is based on sighting the moon, and is commonly used by Muslims in Indonesia to determine the beginning and end of Ramadan.
 
Key facts about the Muslim holy month of Ramadan
 
  • Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. 
  • The start of Ramadan is determined by the appearance of a new moon.
  • Muslims are expected to refrain from eating, drinking, smoking and sex from daybreak to sunset during Ramadan.
  • For Muslims, Ramadan is intended to teach spirituality, patience and devotion to God. 
  • After sunset, Muslims celebrate with family visits and iftars, shared meals that break the fast.
  • Ramadan ends with the Eid al-Fitr festival, which includes feasts and an exchange of gifts.
 
ISNA adopted the Hisab method three years ago.
 
"So far it’s working very well because the majority of the Muslim countries have fasted according to this calculation now, [and] because that has helped the Muslim community," stated ISNA President Mohammad Magid.

Muslims from Indonesia living in the U.S., usually belong to one of two main associations -- the Indonesian Muslim Association in America (IMAAM) in the Washington, DC area, and the Indonesian Muslim Society in America and Canada (IMSA) and those groups have different opinions about the decision of the Fiqh council.

Oscar Zaky is the president of IMAAM. As an organization in America, he said, IMAAM needs to follow the Council's decision and not Indonesia's decision. Indonesia's government has decided that Ramadan starts on Saturday, July 21, 2012.

Zaky says that even though the majority of its members are Indonesians, IMAAM is part of the American Muslim community.

Arief Iswanto is president of IMSA. He explains why his organization does not follow the decision of the Fiqh Council.

Arief says the difference should not divide Muslims. He believes both decisions are right because each has its references.

The Islamic Center of Washington, DC, the largest mosque in the nation's capital, determined Thursday evening that Ramadan would start on Friday.
 
During Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn to sunset, and are not allowed food or drink. It is very challenging for some because of the heat wave that most of the United States is facing right now - the worst heat wave in decades. But Muslims are allowed to eat and drink again the whole night, after the sun sets and before the sun rises.
 
Muslims will crowd mosques to break their fast and pray the Taraweeh, a special prayer performed only during Ramadan. Based on the method of computation, Ramadan will last for 30 days.
 
Ramadan ends with the Eid al-Fitr festival, which includes feasts and an exchange of gifts. On that day, Muslims believe they are reborn and cleaned from their sins.
 
Muslim organizations estimate that there are 7 million Muslims in the U.S.

 

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: MODIBO from: Accra, Ghana
July 22, 2012 11:46 AM
Some of the comments are unacceptable (to me) but it is a free world. I think, however that, we must comment responsibily. It is a good report about an important occasion. I does not matter whether one believes in one faith or the other.


by: Eric from: Singapore
July 20, 2012 8:32 PM
Soon Islam will dominate U.S. muahahahaha...

In Response

by: Nazief Nirwanto from: Indonesia
July 22, 2012 4:48 AM
Why? Do you have a problem with that?


by: Godwin from: Nigeria
July 20, 2012 1:35 PM
Good it starts on a very high note - shooting at the Movie. What a wonderful way to usher in the ramadan fast! Another welcome party of the "good omen" is the unprecedented heatwave, another sign that America has arrived, at the CROSSROADS? Very soon there will be no more Americans but only infiltrators and immigrants, after all true Americans no longer believe in marriage of man and woman but only in same sex marriage, and the offspring is raised by adoption, from the arabs and north Africa. WELCOME TO AMERICA

In Response

by: Jay from: USA
July 21, 2012 6:01 PM
You are talking just like Bin Laden (and all those other right wing nuts) would like you to talk. This article is not even about Muslims coming to america. Did you know Jefferson owned a Quran? Do you think he got it while traveling abroad or perhaps from a Colonial Muslim ?
(You: Oh my God Forgive me!)

In Response

by: Anonymous
July 20, 2012 2:21 PM
USA itself is made up of immigrants, unless you are native.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid