Imagine not taking in food or drink during daylight hours for twenty-eight days straight. Envision what it would be like for that practice to be directly linked to your standing in society or your stature with God. This is the reality for Muslims during the month of Ramadan, a time when every follower of Islam is encouraged (and in some cases required) to spend the month exercising many forms of self-restraint, seeking to be aware of God, and thinking about how they should best worship him.
If you were to visit an observant Muslim country during this time, you would find restaurants closed during daylight hours. Refrigerated boxes of soft drinks found on the sidewalk on most streets are padlocked. Cigarette venders are missing from the daily street traffic. Until sunset approaches and dinner preparations can finally be made, many normal patterns of life are completely halted. [Read more…]