Most observant Muslims will begin fasting Friday for Ramadan, the holy month commemorating the first revelation of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar during when Muslim adults fast from dawn until dusk, unless they are ill, pregnant, diabetic, breastfeeding or traveling.
Fasting is one of the “five pillars” of Islam, along with the declaration of faith, daily prayers, charity and pilgrimage to Mecca.
“The fast is performed to increase spirituality, discipline, self-restraint and generosity while obeying God’s commandments,” said Hussam Ayloush, executive director of CAIR-LA, Southern California’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization.
Ramadan began with prayer at sundown Thursday.
Like the observances of Easter and Passover earlier this month, the observance of Ramadan has been altered by the stay-at-home order issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom in an attempt to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
With mosques closed, like churches and synagogues, some mosques will stream daily Quran recitations, commentaries and Isha and Taraweeh prayers.
The Fiqh Council of North America, a national council of Islamic legal scholars, has called on mosques and Islamic centers to “strictly follow the health and state official guidelines for social gatherings and distancing” and to hold special nightly Ramadan prayers “at home within a family setting.”
“Ramadan will be a difficult time for many Muslims who will be fasting and praying without their families and friends around,” Ayloush said.
The end of Ramadan is marked by communal prayers called Eid ul-Fitr, the Feast of the Fast-Breaking.
In his message on Ramadan, President Donald Trump said, “For millions around the globe, this holy month is an opportunity to renew and strengthen their faith through rigorous fasting, devout prayer, reflective meditation, reading the Quran, and charitable deeds. These acts are closely aligned with the universal values that the Islamic faith promotes — peace, kindness, and love and respect for others.
“Over the past months, we have seen how important the power of prayer can be during challenging times.”