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What is Ramadan? (Thirsty is the Hardest Part)
August 12th, 2010
07:00 AM ET

What is Ramadan? (Thirsty is the Hardest Part)

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

In the religious literacy quiz I have given my Boston University students on the first day of the semester over the last few years, I always ask, “What is Ramadan?  And in what religion is it celebrated?”

Of the students who took this quiz, 61 percent knew this holiday, which began yesterday for Sunnis and today for Shias, was Islamic, but only 38 percent knew it was a fast.

During Ramadan, which falls during the ninth month of the Islamic year, observant Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and sex.  This holiday commemorates the period when Muhammad is said to have received the first recitations of the Quran from Allah via the angel Gabriel.

This year, Minnesota Vikings safety Husain Abdullah and his brother Hamza Abdullah of the Arizona Cardinals are observing Ramadan during a rough month of NFL training camp.

A significant minority of NBA basketball players are also observant Muslims, and the decisions of Hakeen Olajuwon, Shareef Abdur-Rahim and others to observe this fast have called public attention to Ramadan, just as Sandy Koufax’s decision, as a Jew, not to pitch in a 1965 World Series game on Yom Kippur called public attention to that Jewish Day of Atonement.

I spoke this week with Zeenat Rahman about common misconceptions about Ramadan. Rahman, a Muslim American who serves as Director of Policy at the Interfaith Youth Core in Chicago, says there are a few. First, Muslims do not fast for a whole month. If you did that, Rahman observes, “you would be dead.” Muslims fast instead from sunrise to sunset.

Second, the hardest part about the fast isn’t abstaining from eating but abstaining from drinking.  “My biggest fear is being thirsty,” Rahman says, “and the fact that you can’t drink water is really, really difficult.” Finally, fasting at Ramadan extends not only to food and water but to just about everything else you might put into your mouth, including gum and breath mints.

For Rahman, however, the “Ramadan mindset” isn’t really about food and drink prohibitions. A bit like Lent in the Christian calendar, this holiest month in the Islamic year provides an opportunity to “reset” yourself, to call yourself back to the things that really matter, including remembering and caring for the poor.

Ramadan is in some respects harder to practice in the United States, where restaurants do not stay open all night in most places and you might need to explain to your business associates why you aren’t eating anything at a lunch meeting.

According to Rahman, however, observing Ramadan in religiously plural America also offers unique benefits, including iftars (evening meals breaking the day's fast) hosted by a variety of different religious and civic groups.

For example, “Iftar in the Synagogue” brings together Jews and Muslims in Chicago for “an evening of what both traditions do best: eating, praying, discussing and schmoozing."

Ramadan ends with Eid ul Fitr, the feast of the breaking of the fast. It is now something of a tradition for U.S. presidents to send greetings to Muslims and to host dinners at the White House on Eid ul Fitr.

Last year at the conclusion of Ramadan, President Obama issued this holiday greeting and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton posted a video message on the State Department website wishing Muslims "Eid Mubarak."

“All faiths,” she said, “have a home here in the United States.”

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Holidays • Islam • Muslim

soundoff (123 Responses)
  1. Paul S

    What about people at North and South poles, where there is any sunrise or sunset? Does muslims exixt there? Do they correct the time of Ramadan?

    August 13, 2010 at 11:58 am |
    • A

      @ Paul, if you are seeking an honest answer, and can we agree that the only pesons there would be researchers? ...who may or may not be Muslim. South Pole time aligns with that of New Zealand . As for the North Pole...there is no registered time zone but GMT time is usually applied.

      August 13, 2010 at 1:55 pm |
  2. Marc

    Islam and its follows are cause of much terror and destruction, persecution and repression around the world its mind boggling.
    They killed and maimed many people, their own people every day, through suicide attacks and the like.
    They have caused billions maybe trillions of dollars to be thrown away in "security" all over the world.
    Yet, the attention give to their silly practices are so great. Ramadan? who cares? They are selfish smelly bastards? Yet islam is the "religion of peace"
    Can anyone here name one POSITIVE accomplishment Islam has brought the world??

    August 13, 2010 at 11:16 am |
  3. madmo

    The very idea of building a mosque there is a dangerous sign of Muslim demands on Western societies, says British authority Douglas Murray—and it shows that the U.S. must make a stand.

    “Islam is a religion of peace.” That is what every Western leader says every time a Muslim sets something off.

    They never tell us which ones they think are the violent religions. But for Islam it’s a win-win. Knock down a tower and everyone in government says how terrific Islam is. Build a tower and everyone in government says how terrific Islam is. Either way it’s a gain for Islam.

    My country, Britain, has led the way in this. But it is fascinating watching Mayor Bloomberg and Co. following the British curve.

    Subway bombs? “Peace.” Airline plots? “Peace.” Car bombs? “Peace.” It must be hard these days being a violent jihadi. No one in power believes what you say. It’s just impossible to get your message across.

    The U.S. authorities are making the same mistakes, and in exactly the same order, as those that the British government has made. Violent Islam is the problem and therefore some other form of yet to be decided upon peaceful Islam is the solution. Either way, win for Islam. Whatever the question, the answer is “Islam.”

    In my experience this is a terrible mistake. The answer to violent Islam is not Islam. And contra every liberal pundit practicing their religion of peace and acceptance speech, building a mosque by ground zero is not a counter-argument to violent Islam. It is an apology, and an offering, to it.

    [....]

    . But even if the imam of that mosque didn’t have questionable affiliations. Even if he’d never addressed an event organized by the revolutionary empire-building far-right bigots of Hizb ut-Tahrir. Even if the imam behind the ground zero mosque was the nicest, most peaceable, most out-on-a-limb progressive Muslim anyone had ever heard of, the building would still be wrong and it should still be possible to oppose it without being branded—nonsense-term of the hour—an “Islamophobe.”

    When the pope comes to London next month, he is going to be greeted by substantial numbers of protests organized by people calling for his arrest and accusing him of the wildest hatreds. Yet we do not hear that critics of the pope are bigoted, “Christianophobic.” Nor even if they were should it cause any alarm. But Islam is different.

    Why? It goes back to the “phobia” business. Arachnophobia is an irrational fear of spiders and claustrophobia is an irrational fear of small places. They are irrational because most small spiders and most small spaces do not kill you. There are, however, very sensible reasons to be fearful of many forms of Islam. Commuters in London and Madrid know why. As do Dutch filmmakers. And so do the numerous Muslim-born writers, artists, and musicians who spend their lives in hiding for fear of murder from their erstwhile co-religionists for “crimes” like “apostasy” and literary criticism.

    But the cowardice in identifying this and cringing stupidity of what passes for intellectuals and commentators in America, like the U.K., today is staggering.

    I regard myself as pretty much color blind and religion blind. And I expect the favor to be returned. When I go into a mosque, I take my shoes off. When I go to Muslim countries, I behave in the manner they expect. But religious toleration is a two-way street. America is not a Muslim country.

    Islam however has never been historically very good at understanding this. For all leading Islamic scholars the whole world belongs to Islam. Non-Muslims don’t have a say in it.

    Except we do.

    It is not illegal, and nor should it be illegal, to pray in a building of your choice to whatever god you pick. But, as with the claims for minaret building in Switzerland, more is being demanded by Muslims. In point of fact, Muslims do not have to pray in a building with a tall tower that spoils the surrounding landscape. Nor do they have to pray in a large purpose-built multiplex in a place that treads very painfully across many peoples’ raw grief.
    If the people who are building the ground zero mosque cared about improving Islam’s image, they would have taken their mosque elsewhere. If they cared about cultural sensitivities, reciprocity or freedom of religion, then they wouldn’t be trying to provoke people by building a mega-mosque at ground zero.
    The very idea is stupid and offensive. Needlessly provocative, needlessly offensive or, at the very best, entirely needlessly thoughtless.
    For Muslims, the answer to radical Islam may well be some nice official version of Islam that hasn’t yet been discovered. But for free and open societies, the answer to radical Islam is not Islam. It is free and open societies. It doesn’t matter what Muslims believe, anymore than anybody else. But it matters how they behave. If the New York mosque is anything to go by, that test at least is being failed by some American Muslims very conspicuously indeed.
    [from Douglas Murray's article in the Daily Beast]

    August 13, 2010 at 10:48 am |
  4. Joe C

    I am a Christian but I met a muslim family yesterday at the beach enjoying themselves without food or water. I want to invite this family over to our home and enjoy the day/evening but I also don't want to violate their beliefs. What time do they consider sunset? Are all foods okay to partake after sunset?

    August 13, 2010 at 10:37 am |
    • A

      @ Joe. Through tolerance, civilization celebrates its most intrinsic feature...growth. Sunset in the US is considered at or near 8:30PM and after they offer salaat, of course dining is acceptable. As for the menu, I urge you to discuss with your new friend(s) as they may wish to contribute to the meal with one of the traditional iftaar foods for you and your family's edification. May the experience be mutually beneficial.

      August 13, 2010 at 1:47 pm |
  5. kaci

    Stoning is a big thing for Islam. What is that? Cutting off heads, killing women and children? What kind of God goes for that stuff. This is all about Power of men over women. You have no souls, or you wouldn't treat your familiies like that. Men are basically ignorant so they rule by force. Old story. You know if there is a God, you guys are going to be the last people to get there. Instead you should be wondering why your race is not progressing. Why do you keep these murderous beliefs? Why can't you realize that God is Allah, or whatever you want to call him. There is only 1 God. It's very amusing to hear you speak about Allah and his wise ways, since you don't follow his rules. All that praying hasn't seemed to work out for you.

    August 13, 2010 at 9:53 am |
    • JJ

      You are completely and utterly ignorant. "Stoning is a big thing for Islam." How did you come to that conclusion? Because you read a sensationalist news story about some tribe in who knows where that stoned someone, and therefore, you have concluded that "stoning is a big thing for Islam." There are roughly 2 million Muslims in the US. Why don't you get to know them before reaching your broad conclusions? If everything I learned came from the news, I would think that all white men were wife beaters and meth heads, and that automobiles were deadlly 100% of the time.

      August 13, 2010 at 10:45 am |
    • Bible has stoning too

      Have you read the Bible much? How about Deuteronomy?
      20:14 Take women, livestock as plunder.
      22:13-21 Stone non-virgin bride.
      22:23-24 Stone rapist and rape victim.
      22:28 Rape victim must marry rapist; rape victim's father compensated for depreciation of his property.
      25:11-12 Cut woman's hand for touching foe's penis.
      24:1-5 Man can "send" wife from HIS house. Man must not marry "used" woman.
      28:18 The FRUIT of your womb will be cursed – eclectic "pro-life" verse!

      August 13, 2010 at 10:49 am |
  6. PeaceandLove

    I am Indian, but born and raised in the United States and I utterly dislike that some people assume that I am muslim or from "that region." I have zero respect for murderers, and so I suggest you keep your religious beliefs (including your Ramadan) to yourself because, frankly, I could care less.

    I would choose to be surrounded by Christians over Muslims any day. I have gotten to know many Muslims, and they all seem to have a temper problem, and say their religion is "esoteric."
    I went to largest Baptist University for my undergraduate studies and I met some of the kindest, compassionate people that I have ever met in my entire life. I know that a lot of people say that Christians also killed other non-Christians in history, but they are also the ones that are extending their hands out to the impoverished, orphans, women, etc. not only here in America, but also places overseas. I cannot speak the same about Muslims. Indian people do not even have that much of a heart.

    THANK YOU AMERICA. GOD BLESS YOU ALL.

    August 13, 2010 at 9:42 am |
  7. Ryan

    I am so SICK of these fairy-tales, a.k.a religions. As for the people who believe in them, I think the majority of them are decent people, but the sheer amount of them is what gives power to the extremist nutjobs of every religion who are ripping our world apart. Whatever happened to reason and humanism?

    August 13, 2010 at 9:22 am |
    • Woody

      "When religion comes in at the door, common sense goes out at the window."
      — Lemuel Washburn

      August 13, 2010 at 10:55 am |
    • Ron

      It must be really hard for you to sleep at night...I mean all of these "fairy-tales" seem like they have really got a grip on you. Grow up you imbecile! BTW- I only target the obvious tools..welcome to the club!

      August 13, 2010 at 11:33 am |
  8. A

    @ John. The empathy with which you view the sacrifices of Ramadan is absolutely refreshing. The fast serves a dircrete purpose and in some instances decres (fatwas) have been issued to modify the work/ school day to facilitate its completion and in some instances the consumption of water is allowed to those who deem it necessary like those whose work is labor intensive while exposed to the elements. But the fast is more about introspection than it is for public display. What I am trying to explain is that it is tantamount to a puppet show for one to observe the restriction on consumption yet harbor impure thoughts because while mortal man cannot view one's heart, you cannot hide your heart from God (irrespective of your religious belief). Positivity, empathy and the pursuit of understanding will lead us through the darkness to the light!

    August 13, 2010 at 9:17 am |
  9. A

    I have one question..When are we going to turn the corner on merely restating pieces of misinformation and start the pursuit of the truth about each other? There is a fantastic book that could and should be a valuable starting point "More in Common than you think" by Dr. William Baker.

    August 13, 2010 at 9:09 am |
  10. syzito

    Religious myths bind the intellect and dim the light of reason.How a sane person can believe in fantasy land legends and stupid folklore is beyond comprehension to a rational mind.Religion breeds violence and insanity.

    August 13, 2010 at 8:57 am |
  11. John

    man, Ramadan in summer must be rough. And it's gonna be that way for the next 3-4 years (I think).

    At least during winter the days are short, so you're not hungry or thirsty for long.

    I'm all for the fasting, but the prohibition on drinking water doesn't seem to make much sense for a religion primarily centered in a desert environment. There's probably special dispensations for that aspect of it though.

    August 13, 2010 at 7:46 am |
  12. chris

    Yep, I'm sure that the women who are hanged in Afghanistan and Iran because they didn't wear burqas or have an escort with them when they left the house were very impressed with their religious rights. You can say a lot of things about Christianity, but they don't currently keep their women chained to posts.

    August 13, 2010 at 7:14 am |
    • John

      Not everywhere and not anymore, but Christianity sure has in the past, and still does in places. That FLDS guy with all the child brides is as Christian as the Taliban is Muslim.

      August 13, 2010 at 7:47 am |
  13. Koongsu

    Anyone else find it interesting that in both Iraq and Afghanistan the amount of violence against Coalition Forces increase by 400%? Peace loving and understanding all right........Yet more religious fanaticism that will be the destruction of our society. The Angel Gabriel told me so. Now go buy my book!

    August 13, 2010 at 6:34 am |
  14. kba

    Hey, has anyone noticed that there are only men in the photo of those praying in the Mosque? Hmmmmm. Doesn't that tell you something?

    August 13, 2010 at 12:33 am |
    • Cleopaktra

      Women can go to a mosque if they want to however, most women choose not to because of the family obligations. Women are exempt from praying and fasting when they have periods because Quran recognized the physical weakness it brings. Why do westerners have to bring women in when women are being raped, beaten and persecuted in America and the rest of the world as well? I grew up as a Muslim and never had to face any of the violence that is mentioned here and I'm not the only one. I went to the best schools, was allowed to make my own decisions and have always lived the life of a free person in my father's house in Pakistan and my husband a Muslim and a Pakistani has always supported me in everything. So kindly stop this propaganda that Muslims are evil aliens who beat their wives and throw bombs at strangers.

      August 13, 2010 at 12:54 am |
    • Al

      Because of the kneeling and bowing, the women pray together as a group, either in a section next to the men or behind. The camera can only capture so much.

      August 13, 2010 at 3:20 am |
    • Al

      And they may accompany their husbands and stand next to them.

      August 13, 2010 at 3:22 am |
  15. David Craig

    I am appalled at the reaction of many so called "Christian" Americans. The ignorance being shown by many of them is only being exceeded by their bigotry and hatred. If they were to read the Quran they would see that they are totally wrong (if they are intelligent enough to read and understand it). Our forefathers would be ashamed to see the false charges and hatred being espoused toward others. Many Muslims died on 9/11 in the Trade Centers. I have no doubt that the Christians that died that day with them know they were not to blame. Wake up America. Terrorists come in Christian preachers clothing too.

    August 13, 2010 at 12:18 am |
    • Cleopaktra

      Thank you!

      August 13, 2010 at 12:46 am |
    • Al

      Amen, David. And thank you.

      August 13, 2010 at 3:24 am |
    • Koongsu

      you're right David, many Muslims did die that day. Around 17 to be exact. Remember the ones who flew the planes into the building because they thought all non-believers must die. Lets not forget about the Muslim leaders who praised the attack in private and the current muslims who use the videos of that event as propaganda to this day to recruit other young Muslims to sacrifice themselves in the name of Islam. Sounds like a peachy religion to me. Just like those silly Christians and their crusades and those wacky Catholics and the Spanish inquisition. I tell you what, religion certainly has proved to be a guiding light for humanity. Let's do everything in the name of religion and see how quickly we can exterminate the Human Race.......

      August 13, 2010 at 7:36 am |
    • John

      Koongsu, you ignorant tool.

      62 innocent Muslims died in the towers and in surrounding areas, and the hijackers were as Muslim as the Spanish Inquisition was Christian.

      August 13, 2010 at 7:49 am |
    • Koongsu

      John, try talking to a pretty staggering number of people if either AFG or Iraq and you'll notice a lot of the same rhetoric as being spewed by (insert Muslim extremist organization here). I'm not saying it says it in the religion or that all members practicing a certain religion an be lumped in the same group as those on the far left or right, but there is a larger number of extremists than I think you realize. Organized religions in my opinion are the greatest evil visited upon man and are simply a means for man to control other men. Everyone pretty much believes that there is a higher power that control our fate, created the world etc.etc. but if you don't believe exactly as me then you should be killed or ridiculed. Something about that seems a bit ridiculous to me. Rules exist in religion not to further your connection with a spiritual power but to control society in whatever way meets the needs of the religious leaders.

      But I will agree my comments were those of an ignorant tool. It just kind of seemed to be the common theme on these threads. Just trying to fit in. (As im sure you'll agree with my comment in your follow about my ignorance and lack of tolerance and so forth you can save yourself the trouble. Consider it understood that you think I'm crass, uneducated, racist, hate-filled, war-mongering Neanderthal)

      August 13, 2010 at 8:56 am |
    • Miss Me

      If you are Mr. Craig from SEMO – I must say I am somewhat surprised to read your views – but overjoyed that a Christian leader from that area is standing up and speaking truth to power about our nation's history, 9/11, and the possibility that some Christian preachers may not be as innocent/righteous as they hold themselves out to be. I hope you are the same David Craig. God bless you and yours.

      August 13, 2010 at 1:25 pm |
  16. WildMontana

    I don't understand this "religion." Forced/arranged marriages for under-aged girls, stoning on trumped up charges of adultery...against a DEAD husband, cutting off the nose and ears of an abused child bride. This is not a religion, it's a malignant disease worse than Nazism and should be dealt with exactly the same way. Please don't post that your poor religion has been usurped by radicals...I don't see any of you so-called mainstream muslims doing anything about combating it. Qui tacet consentit. I think that every airline coming to/from the U.S. should be stocked with live pigs. This way if they blow up the plane, they can't go to heaven as they would have died in unclean circumstances.

    August 13, 2010 at 12:02 am |
  17. aamir

    what is ramazan ramazan is a month of reviving certain basisc tenets on which islam is founded, including fasting. fasting is to abstain, from before sunrise to after sunset, from eating, drinking, and sex. You will note that eack one of these three commonly are considered important for a human being–eating provides nourishment, water and similar liquuids slake thirst(which is probably the most fundamental need of the human physiology), and sex which is a normal natural urge (not talking about debauchery and animal-like excessive behavior).
    the purpose is to forergo these basic requirements for the sake of Allah, and prove to Him that we are yours and ready to exemplify it by giving up these needs. A hungry stomach makes you think of the poor including widows and orphans, thirst brings to you just that, thirst there woud be no words to quite describe how you feel when you are thirsty

    It is a spirit of fortitude and taking pains for the sake of Allah and Islam

    To call Prophet Muhammad a ranting uneducated shepherd just brings out the total lack of knowledge and ignorance for another religion. For those who make such comments, Islam teaches us to just let be. Allah will take care of them, at His own time!
    The fasting of Ramazan is the one most strenuous fast of any religion-every religion has fasting some allow you to drink water, some allow you to do it for less than sunrise to sunset, some even allow eating certain things and not eating others– it is things like this spirit of abstinence shown by Muslims during Ramazan that makes them resolute, hardy and willing to die, when needed!

    August 12, 2010 at 11:43 pm |
  18. kba

    I lived amongst them in Saudi Arabia for over 3 years. Even though I was not a muslim I couldn't eat or drink in public. My child, who was 3 could not eat or drink in public. It makes me sick that they have "issues" because they live in a multi-religious country. Get over yourselves. I have no sympathy for all muslims who have to fast from sun up to sun down. It's your religion. Don't make a big deal about it and don't expect us to do anything about it. Just do it and shut up.

    August 12, 2010 at 11:35 pm |
    • Fayrouz

      As a Muslim, I find that outrageous. Why can't you eat or drink in public? And a three year old child?! Saudi Arabia might seem like the ultimate Islamic country of the world, but really, they have a lot to fix. They serve alcoholic beverages on their airlines AND deny women the right to drive (even the Quran says NOTHING about not letting women drive).

      August 12, 2010 at 11:46 pm |
    • kba

      Fayrouz, I guess you haven't done the Haj yet. In Saudi women can't even walk down the street with their children without being accosted by men. When I lived there, they had a sign posted on the local beach that read, "No dogs or women allowed on this beach". I personally saw it. And they don't serve alcohol on THEIR airlines. Saudia does not serve alcohol but once other airlines get out of Saudi air space they serve alcohol. Then, the Saudis start the partying. It's the same in Bahrain. The Saudis are lined up at the bars with Russian prostitutes on each arm, getting snockered. So much for the country that houses the two Holy Mosques.

      August 12, 2010 at 11:55 pm |
    • Al

      So it was SA! What you experienced was Wahhabism. Different animal, I must say.

      August 13, 2010 at 3:35 am |
  19. Kevin

    Join my religion, atheism/agnosticism. We have 12 months a year in celebration of life and learning.

    August 12, 2010 at 11:33 pm |
    • John

      Or try mine, paganism. We have 8 major holidays a year, many located conveniently close to existing holidays, and a few other holidays besides. Each has a cool story, and how you want to observe them is largely up to you.
      Samhain – Halloween, October 31st
      Midwinter/Yule – corresponds to the Winter Solstice, close to Christmas, 20-23 December
      Imbolc – Groundhog Day, February 2nd
      Ostara – Easter, corresponds to the vernal equinox. There's a reason Easter is on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox. Jesus didn't die on a different day every year
      Beltane – May Day, May 1st
      Midsummer – summer solstice, June 12-23
      Lughnasadh/Lammas – first harvest festival, nobody really observes it but if you want to, go to town
      Autumnal equinox

      You're never more than a month and a half from a holiday in neopaganism, and the rest of the year? Just be a decent person.

      August 13, 2010 at 7:56 am |
  20. Kaci

    I somehow don't feel the love and joy of Ramadan as a woman. I feel that a people that can treat their Mother's and sister's as peasants, beat them, kill them, doesn't have must joy in their religion. I guess they missed the part about honoring their Mother's. Why should these people be included in a Western Society, when we are not welcome in their society? I would much rather they stayed in their country and we in ours. Poeple that have no respect but are at heart barbarians to weak and the poor, are definitely people that need a God, because they will not be going to a good place, they have no Karma left in their lives, and will not see a good outcome on their death.

    August 12, 2010 at 10:42 pm |
    • Fayrouz

      Women have more rights in Islam than they do in Christianity. Muslim women are allowed to divorce, own money that their husbands can't touch or ask about, and SO much more. Just because some countries or cultures don't allow that doesn't mean that's how Islam is. Muslims have a God, thank you very much, and they love him and respect him, unlike other people who joke about their God and have humans play his roles in movies. It's tragic that's how you think because while a visit to a Muslim country might not be very rich and lavish to you as an American, Muslims really have no problem with other religions and there are many Christians in the Middle East that wouldn't want to live anywhere else.

      August 12, 2010 at 11:43 pm |
    • kba

      Fayrouz, come on...As I said. I have lived amongst moslems. A moslem man can divorce his wife by declaring "I divorce you" three times. That's it. End of story for her. SHE on the other hand has to go before the Shariah court and prove that her husband has not been a good husband according to Shariah law. This is not always easy. So please don't lie about your own laws. It's unbefitting a true believer. And, by the way, we Christians, Jews and Moslems all worship the God of Abraham. According to the three of our religions, there is only one God. Whether you call him Allah, Yaweh or God. He is the same!

      August 13, 2010 at 12:26 am |
    • Al

      kba, you must have lived in Saudi Arabia. That country is culturally and religiously different from others. Did you know that only 20% of muslims live in the middle east?

      August 13, 2010 at 3:33 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.