Ramadan is the ninth month (lunar) in the Islamic calendar. Muslims from all over the world fast during this month from the beginning of dawn to the evening. No food or water is allowed during daylight hours. Ramadan is a time for prayer and spiritual reflection and worship. Muslims are expected to avoid irreligious sights and sounds. In Afghanistan under the Taliban rule, women and girls are still not allowed outside. Ramadan is a time when Muslims are to slow down from worldly affairs and focus on good deeds and charity and kindness and helping people yet the Taliban continues to kill people in this holy month. According to Islamic tradition, the gates of hell are closed and those who attain martyrdom stand a better chance of entering heaven during Ramadan. Radical Islamists such as the Taliban regard violence as a form of ridding the world of impurities.
It becomes compulsory for Muslims to start fasting when they reach puberty. Children at the age of ten are encouraged to fast during daylight hours a day at a time, to prepare them for this discipline. The last 10days are meant to be the holiest and it is one of these days that the children begin fasting on.
The fast is broken at sunset when the family gathers. Breaking of the fast is called Iftar. The meal starts with eating three dates just like Mohamed is said to have done. The prayer is then said and the main meal is served.
Dates have been a staple food of the Middle East for thousands of years. Dates are a concentrated source of essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals required for normal growth. [continues]
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