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The Fourth Pillar of Islam: Ramadan

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim calendar, calculated according to when the crescent moon is sighted. During this entire month, adult Muslims do not eat from sunup to sundown. This is called fasting. In the evening, the day's fast is broken with a meal called iftar. Before the day's fast begins, Muslims eat a pre-dawn meal called suhoor. When the month is over, Muslims celebrate a three-day holiday with feasting and gift exchanges, called Id-ul-Fitr (the Festival of Breaking the Fast).

Ramadan is very important to the Muslim faith. It is the fourth "pillar" of the five pillars of Muslim religious obligation. In addition to fasting, Muslims pray more often, read the Qur'an (holy text), and give to charity.

Because this is a unique time, many Muslims prepare special food. According to TheHolidaySpot.com, at sundown each day fasting is broken with sweet dates and water or an apricot drink. Following this is a traditional soup, such as lentil, and a bread and greens salad like fattoush. There are no restrictions with the main meal: "Olives, cheeses, meats, everything goes." Read more about Ramadan recipes and food here.

Check out one of these books or Web sites for more information on Ramadan.

In the Library
Click on a link to reserve a book and pick it up at your local branch. You can find more books for children about Ramadan here.

Celebrating Ramadan = Ramadan al-mu'azzam by Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith
During the holy month of Ramadan, Ibraham and his family, along with millions of other Muslims, eat and drink nothing from sunup to sundown. They are participating in a 1400-year-old-tradition that is one of the pillars of the Islamic faith. It marks the time when the Prophet Muhammad began to receive the revelations of the Qur'an, the sacred book of Islam.

Magid Fasts for Ramadan by Mary Matthews
Magid, an eight-year-old Muslim boy in Cairo, is determined to celebrate Ramadan by fasting, despite the opposition of family members who feel that he is not yet old enough to participate.

Ramadan by Suhaib Hamid Ghazi
Describes the celebration of the month of Ramadan by an Islamic family and discusses the meaning and importance of this holiday in the Islamic religion.

On the Web

Fact Monster: Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr
Learn about "the month of fasting." Includes a glossary of some Islamic terms.

Ramadan Coloring pages
Six themed sheets ready to print out and color from Crayola.