The World

The Muslim calendar is set by the stages of the moon so every year Ramadan comes 11 days earlier. Ten years ago, the first day of Ramadan fell on New Year’s Eve. This year Ramadan corresponds roughly with September. This 23 year old has only experienced Ramadan during the comfortable winter months. Now he’ll have to get up and eat and pray at 4 AM and fast until 8 PM without food or water, or smoking. Still he says he’s excited to test his faith, which will only get harder in the next few years. this man remembers the last time Ramadan cycled through the summer in the 1970s. He says it was hot and it was terrible not drinking water. Next year Ramadan will start in mid-August and it will take a full decade before Ramadan falls in the cooler days of May. For religious leader the hardship has its rewards, says this Imam in Jerusalem who says the reward is greater if one experiences more difficulty in one’s religious observance. Some methods being used to aid the long day is starting work days earlier when the day is still cool, and as always anyone who’s sick or traveling is excused from fasting. Everyone else, says the Imam, takes Ramadan in stride.

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