The Muslim holy month of Ramadan started on April 23rd, 2020, and continues through May 23rd. Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic world's lunar calendar, commemorates when Allah revealed the first verses of the Quran, Islam's sacred text, to Prophet Muhammad.
During the entire month of Ramadan, Muslims fast every day from dawn to sunset. It is a time of spiritual discipline — of deep contemplation of one's relationship with God, extra prayer, increased charity and generosity, and intense study of the Quran.
This year, Muslims around the world are practicing Ramadan in strange, new ways. Families and communities usually come together after their evening prayer to join in community and have an iftar, or a breaking of the fast. Many do so in their homes with their friends, neighbors, and at their temples with their communities.
Ramadan also reminds us to deepen our empathy for those who are distressed. We join the nation in extending our most heartfelt gratitude to the heroes who are keeping us fed - from our farm workers to our grocery store workers - and healthy and also those who pick up the garbage each week. We send our blessings to all of them and their families.
We also extend our most sincere condolences to the families who have lost loved ones and also those who are infected with the virus. And our special prayers go out to those who lost their livelihood and pray that together, we will support each other through this difficult time.
Let us strive together and transcend ourselves to transform this world into a place of love and respect for all.