June 28th, 2014
08:12 AM ET
(CNN) - For 1.6 billion people, the holiest month of the year began this past Saturday.
The exact starting date sometimes depends on the locale, but most Muslims across the globe will be fasting, praying and abstaining from sex and smoking during daylight hours. Many call it a time of spiritual purity and rededication to God.
Here's everything you need to know about the observance.
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is the name of the ninth month in the Hijri, or Islamic calendar. The word derives from the Arabic ramida or ar-ramad meaning a fierce, burning heat.
August 9th, 2013
02:00 PM ET
From CNN affiliate KPRC
Houston - New signs posted outside a mosque in Spring Branch, Texas, have sparked outrage from Muslims nationwide.
In black letters, the signs reads, "No Muslim parking in the Westview Shopping Center. Your car will be towed."
The posters lined the street near the El Farouq Mosque, where Muslims heading to worship services said they were were offended.
"I feel sorry for the person who wrote it," Ahmed Hassan told CNN affiliate KPRC. "This is what comes to mind because obviously he has a lot of hate."
August 6th, 2013
06:26 PM ET
Opinion by Hussein Rashid, special to CNN
(CNN) - During Ramadan, the holy month of fasting for Muslims, there is a night that I look forward to every year.
This night is called Laylat ul-Qadr, which translates as the “Night of Power” or the “Night of Destiny.”
It is the night when Muslims believe that the Prophet Muhammed received the first revelation of the Quran. He was in a cave, praying, when he hears the angelic voice of Gabriel speaking to him, bearing him a revelation from God.
CNN's Peter Bergen thinks that this night has symbolic meaning for al Qaeda, and perhaps it does.
August 4th, 2013
09:49 AM ET
By Slma Shelbayah, CNN
(CNN) This Ramadan, Amina Jabbar faced a difficult decision.
The University of Toronto medical student’s rotation at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre began around July 9, the start of the Muslim holy month.
That meant working unpredictable shifts for as long as 26 hours while fasting from eating and drinking during the day.
The fast-paced hospital environment was already challenging Jabbar’s ability to keep up with colleagues and patients. As a new physician, she felt more “error prone” and said fasting would increase her anxiety on the job.
July 11th, 2013
05:27 PM ET
By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
(CNN) – The Transportation Security Agency has issued an advisory about the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, telling its workforce and passengers that they may observe Muslims fasting, carrying prayer beads and whispering prayers on planes and in airports.
Ramadan begins this week, though the exact date varies depending on locale. It is the holiest month of the year for the world's 1.5 billion Muslims, during which many fast during daylight hours and dedicate more time than usual to praying and reading the Quran.
"Whenever the TSA is trying to create an environment of understanding, we welcome that," said Haris Tarin, director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council's Washington office. "At the same time, it highlights certain actions that can make the American Muslim population seem almost alien."
August 18th, 2012
02:20 PM ET
By Yasmin Amer and Moni Basu, CNN
(CNN) – To mark the end of Islam's holiest month, Iftikhar Ali will head not to a mosque but to a convention center guarded by law enforcement officers.
That's because this month, during Ramadan, the mosque in Joplin, Missouri, burned to the ground. Its rubble smoldered for two days as a shocked Muslim community came to terms with what had happened.
"I think there are a few people who don't like anybody," Ali said. "They don't like a different color than their color or different religions."
Ali, who is the president of the Joplin mosque said the congregation rented a convention center so people would have a place to pray and celebrate Eid al-Fitr, the feast that marks the end of fasting for Ramadan.
July 22nd, 2012
03:00 AM ET
By Richard Allen Greene and Aroub Abdelhaq, CNN
London (CNN)– Olympic judo competitor Hemeed Al Drie plans to sin during the Games in London, he admits with a grin.
"God is merciful and compassionate, even when our sins are many," said Al Drie, kneeling on a mat while martial artists hurled each other to the floor around him.
Al Drie's sin isn't what you might expect. It's that he is planning to eat and drink while the sun is up during the Olympics, even thought the Games fall smack in the middle of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Observant Muslims are supposed to fast during Ramadan, abstaining from all food and drink, even water, during daylight hours, then eating and drinking after sundown. Fasting for the month is a major religious obligation, one of the Five Pillars of Islam.
But Al Drie, 19, knows that fasting on days when he has up to six judo matches against the world's best competitors would doom his chances of winning.
"If you don't eat and you enter a competition, you might faint," he said. That would lead to instant elimination.
August 31st, 2011
07:42 PM ET
From Kiran Khalid CNN
Rye, New York (CNN) –What was meant to be a celebration marking the end of Ramadan turned into a melee at an amusement park on Tuesday when a group of Muslim women were told they weren't allowed on certain rides with their headscarves.
Rye Playland was full of visitors celebrating Eid al-Fitr when the festive mood turned angry. Westchester County Police said the women wearing the hijab, a traditional Muslim headscarf, became argumentative when park employees enforced the no-headgear policy and men sprang to their defense.
August 29th, 2011
10:16 AM ET
By Chris Welch, CNN
Eden Prairie, Minnesota (CNN) - Watching Minnesota Vikings starting safety Husain Abdullah on the sun-drenched field during practice on a recent afternoon, you’d never guess he hasn’t had any food or drink since sunrise.
Abdullah is an observant Muslim, which during Ramadan - the Islamic holy month that ends Monday night - means no eating or drinking from sunup to sundown, not even water.
“My religion is very important to me," Abdullah said after practice. "I mean, it’s the basis of my life.”
August 25th, 2011
05:16 PM ET
By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
(CNN) - The Israeli ambassador to the United States hosted a dinner celebrating the Muslim holy month of Ramadan on Thursday, marking the first time an ambassador from the Jewish state has hosted such a dinner in the United States, the embassy said.
Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren hosted the dinner at his residence, with about 65 guests in attendance, including imams, rabbis and officials from the White House, Congress and the State Department, according to Israeli Embassy spokesman Lior Weintraub.
Oren said the unusual dinner is fitting at a time when the future of the Middle East is uncertain, as the Arab Spring has unseated regimes in Tunisia and Egypt and as Libya appears poised on the brink of a revolution.
About this blog
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.