What Ramadan will look like this year

Imam Omar Suleiman discusses the meaning of Ramadan and how Muslims are practicing during a second year in quarantine.
5:12 | 04/09/21

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Transcript for What Ramadan will look like this year
renowned scholar and civil rights activist and the founder and president of the yaqeen institute for islamic research Yes, and he is here today to talk about the Muslim holy month of Ramadan which is set to begin on the evening of April 12th, and is observed by 1.6 billion muslims worldwide. Please welcome Imam OMAR suleiman. Imam, thank you so much for being with us. And we know Ramadan begins in just a few days. Can you start by explaining to us the meaning of Ramadan, what is it all about? First of all, thank you for having me, and I hope you all are having a blessed day. Ramadan is the ninth month of the islamic calendar. It is a month of fasting. And what it is, it commemorates the revelation of the Koran and as muslims we see all of the holy books were in fact revealed at a time coinciding with Ramadan, and what we do is we fast from dawn until sunset, and that makes us more conscious of god, more conscious of the blessings of god, and more conscious of how we should receive those blessings and channel those blessings to the world around us. So there's no food, no drinking, including coffee, and no intimacy, from the before sun rise all the way to sunset, and that allows us to be more conscious of those blessings in our lives. Now that you mentioned the fasting and the time, and a few other things there, but is that essentially the typical day? Is there anything else you can tell us about a typical day during Ramadan? So the idea is to restrain the body and feed the soul. And so when you become more conscious and aware of the blessings that you ordinarily have easy access to, then that allows you to also be more conscious about the things that you are putting into your soul on a regular basis, and so what we do is we make sure that we spend our days in devotion. We have a lot of recitation of the Koran, a lot of charitable acts and volunteering is done as well, and so it's a lot of service initiatives, a lot of prayer, and a lot of giving our soul its proper time, since we give our body so much time throughout the year. This is now the second Ramadan in the middle of a global pandemic, so how will things look this year, how has it changed how you observe this holy period? So last year, you know, the quarantine came right before Ramadan, so practically every mosque was entirely shut. That didn't stop us from our service initiatives and so muslims were still, you know, in the inner cities serving food, serving the homeless, making sure they were involved in many of the service initiatives that mark Ramadan as a community. But this year is really interesting, because we've had a whole year of zoom and re-stream and figuring out technology and we also have, most mosques around the country at least, partially reopening, so what that means is that last year, we were completely forbidden from gathering in our mosques, this year you're going to have shortened prayers, you're going to have people still coming together, in some capacity, and obviously, with the rollout of the vaccines, probably going to be more towards the end of the month of Ramadan, you're still going to have a lot of charitable initiatives and people coming together to serve, but you're also going to have a lot of people that are going to be missing from our community that we have seen in prior ramadans, so I think that's going to really dawn upon us, in a very difficult way, since, you know, a lot of those familiar faces that we're used to seeing in the mosques, in the month of Ramadan, are not going to be there this year, as we gather even for that short time. Well we come now to that point which is one of our favorite parts of our faith Friday segment, where we have our guest just give our viewers, give us all kind of a message of hope, some inspiration going into the weekend. So what do you have for us? So Ramadan is about us becoming more aware of our blessings, and I think that there are a lot of blessings that we used to take for granted that we have now become more aware of, and the idea is that the more aware you become of those blessings, the more aware you become of the one who bestowed them upon you, and the more aware you become of yourself, and how you can channel those blessings to society, and so muslims will be trying to emulate the prophet Mohamed, who was described as more generous than the blowing wind, and the prophet Mohamed said even a smile is charity, and so my message to everyone, including my own community and myself of course, is to channel that spirit of generosity in the broadest sense possible, to be a force of healing, and not to underestimate the smallest act of kindness and charity, at a time when we are surrounded by acts of cruelty, and at the same time, are deeply in need of healing and deeply in need of the mercy that we seek to be vehicles of. Oh, my goodness, even a smile, some of the folks in our studio here are, some of our camera operators, stage managers, they just pull their mask down for a second and gave me a smile, when you say that thank you so much for that message. It's good to see you. We appreciate you, hope to have you back at some point, OMAR suleiman, thank you so much. Thank you, I appreciate you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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