Inside Ramadan With Arsalan Iftikhar

Muslims around the world began their month-long observance of Ramadan this weekend. It marks the month when the Koran was revealed to Mohammed. We get an overview of Ramadan from Arsalan Iftikhar, author of the blog The Muslim Guy dot com.

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JENNIFER LUDDEN, host:

I'm Jennifer Ludden, and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News.

Muslims around the world began their month-long observance of Ramadan this weekend. In the Islamic faith, it marks the month when the Qur'an was revealed to the prophet Muhammad. In a moment, we'll hear from Muslim parents about how they're passing down the traditions and rituals of the holy month to their children.

But first, we get an overview of Ramadan from Arsalan Iftikhar. He writes the blog themuslimguy.com and he also brought us sound from evening prayer in his mosque, the All Dulles Area Muslim Society in Sterling, Virginia.

(Soundbite of Muslim prayer)

Unidentified Man: (Chanting) (Speaking foreign language)

Mr. ARSALAN IFTIKHAR (Blogger, themuslimguy.com): Every year, for 30 days, from dawn until dusk, over 1.2 billion Muslims worldwide fast and abstain from food, drink, sexual relations, smoking to sort of remind themselves of their own human fallibility. It's a self-purification process to remind everyone that, you know, there are people who are worse off in the world.

(Soundbite of Muslim prayer)

Unidentified Man: (Chanting) (Speaking foreign language).

Mr. IFTIKHAR: We wake up around 4:30 in the morning to eat pre-dawn breakfast meal with our families, and then once the sun rises, that's when the abstention from all food, drink begins. And a lot of people find that during Ramadan, you know, their work hours in the days tend to stretch out.

You know, I'm a caffeine junkie, so you know, not having my espresso shots, you know, during the day is something that makes the day a little bit longer for me.

(Soundbite of Muslim prayer)

Unidentified Man: (Chanting) (Speaking foreign language).

Mr. IFTIKHAR: If there's one word that would describe the month of Ramadan, it would be appreciation. It really is a month of appreciation for all the bounties that god has given us, and I think that it really helps bring in spiritual equilibrium for, you know, nearly one-fifth of the globe's population.

(Soundbite of Muslim prayer)

Unidentified Man: (Chanting) (Speaking foreign language).

LUDDEN: That was Arsalan Iftikhar, explaining what Ramadan means to him. He's the founder of themuslimguy.com, and he's also a regular contributor to TELL ME MORE's weekly Barbershop.

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