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June 6th Marks the Beginning of Ramadan 2016!
With the start of Ramadan today, we would like to take this occasion to wish all of you who are fasting a blessed and peaceful month. We hope that this month will be a source of inspiration, good deeds and spiritual rejuvenation.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, during which Muslims fast daily from dawn to sunset as part of an effort towards self-purification and moral excellence. The fast of Ramadan entails forgoing food and drink during the fasting hours, which extend from pre-dawn until sunset. The ultimate goal of fasting is to gain greater God-consciousness and to draw closer to God through excellent character and good deeds. Muslims believe that Ramadan is the month in which the first verses of Islam’s holy book, the Qur’an, were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, and so they make special efforts to complete a reading of the entire Qur’an and to observe extra prayers and good deeds during this month.
For Muslims, Ramadan is a time to train themselves both physically and spiritually by avoiding any negative acts such as gossiping, backbiting, lying or arguing. Muslims welcome Ramadan as an opportunity for self-reflection and spiritual improvement. Ramadan is also a highly social time as Muslims invite each other to break their fast together and meet for nightly prayers at the mosque. To learn more about Ramadan, visit our online fact sheet.
To God we belong and to Him we return.
Rest in Peace Champ.
As we mourn the passing of one of the most renowned American Muslims, we are reminded not only of Muhammed Ali’s athletic abilities as a boxing champion but also of lesser known aspects of his life and accomplishments. These include his work to promote humanitarianism and challenge bigotry towards African Americans, his efforts to promote religious freedom and, most recently, his stance against Islamophobia.
But his life and legacy also symbolize the place of the American Muslim community in the larger society. Muhammad Ali represents the quintessential story of Islam in America, which begins with enslaved West African Muslims in the 18th and 19th centuries, some of whom were notable for their deep knowledge, dignity and cosmopolitan outlook. It is a story which continues in the 20th century in African American communities through movements such as the Nation of Islam, whose major goal was to uplift and inspire African Americans with a new vision of themselves. It is through the Nation of Islam that Muhammad Ali made his journey to mainstream Islam, performing the hajj and served as a spokesperson and model for American Muslims across races and ethnicities. This is a story that we tell in our presentation and online curriculum for educators, A History of Muslims in America, which traces the roots of Muslims in the United States and also includes the history of white and Hispanic converts and the various waves of Muslim immigrants.
What is remarkable about Muhammad Ali is that he was at once authentically Muslim and authentically American. ING founder Maha Elgenaidi reflects on his role, saying:
A true reflection of America’s diverse ethnic, racial, and religious identities, what Muhammad Ali represented most of all was a “Black American Muslim,” a fused identity that was both indigenous and utterly American, to the degree that everyone — black, brown and white Americans — claimed him as his/her own and are mourning him now that he is gone.
Rest in Peace Champ — you will be mourned and missed.
Invest in Our Work Today
Invest in ING this Ramadan. We count on you to help us work together to combat hate and bigotry for an America that values diversity, inclusion and pluralism. With your help, we will continue to represent American Muslims even more intensely, broadly and effectively.
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