Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam. Muslims observe this obligation during the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, which shifts approximately 11 days each year.
The term Ramadan in Arabic means ‘scorching’. It was established as a holy month after Prophet Muhammad received his revelation in 610 CE. Since Quran, the book of Islam, was received by Muhammad progressively from this date over a period of 23 years, the month is sacred to Muslims. The night in which the first revelation was sent down to Muhammad during this month is called “the Night of Power.”
This is a month of self-purification, spiritual reflection, self-discipline and control for the Muslims, and more profoundly they must also refrain from behaviors that are deceptive and not truthful and must participate in charity. Although charity constitutes another pillar of the faith, it is highly recommended during this month and giving food to the poor is encouraged.
Ramadan is also a month of peace in Islamic tradition and history. In 628 CE Muslim communities in Medina established a 10-year peace treaty with the tribe of Quraysh in Mecca. According to this treaty, loyalties and religions were respected as long as each side respected the other. But the Quraysh reneged and Mohammad assembled an army to capture Mecca on the 6th day of Ramadan in November 630. Not only did he triumphantly captured Mecca and reenter the city, he also offered amnesty to all – against the advice of a those of his commanders seeking revenge.
This incident has become a cornerstone of Islamic tradition in establishing peace through non-violent means even when war and revenge are held out as options. Reformist Muslims all over the world rely on this example and tradition in the history of early Islam to combat radicalism and terrorism advocated by those deluded about the true meaning of Islam. For this reason Ramadan is a month during which Muslims participate actively in mending differences with others and establishing peace among relatives and neighbors.
During this key month the Chaplaincy supports Ramadan activities compatible with airport security and safety regulations, and respects the spiritual essence and inspiration it offers all people. Water is available in both chapels, but only individually-wrapped dates can be left out.