A range of topics were discussed, Kelley said, such as how local religious leaders should work together in times of tragedy, like 9/11.
“Ramadan is a season of self-obedience and self-reflection where we take some time to reflect on our life, on our deeds, on our role in this life, on our goals and dreams,” Al-Qazwini said. “We do that with the help of intense devotion, prayers, fasting and charity giving. It is a month that gives us a spiritual boost. It energizes our spirit and renews our hope in God’s mercy and God’s forgiveness. It’s a period of reflection.”
Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam, along with a profession of faith, prayer, alms-giving and the pilgrimage to Mecca, or Hajj. During Ramadan, Muslims are prohibited from eating or drinking anything — not even water — from roughly 5 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The sacrifice, sometimes exhausting, has a spiritual foundation not restricted to Islam.
“The source of a desire to sacrifice is to bring yourself to a level of humility, to realize that we aren’t the center. We are not the focus of life,” said Jaimie Day, director of interfaith relations for the Newport Beach Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, who was also at Saturday’s Ramadan dinner. “Religion is based upon a love of God more than a love of self. When you fast your physical body, you feed your spiritual self.”
Ramadan this year began on Sept. 13 and concludes Oct. 12 at sunset.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim year when the Koran was sent down to provide guidance. During Ramadan, Muslims fast from food, drink and sex. Muslims must also abstain from wicked thoughts and deeds. It is regarded as a time of sacrifice, reflection and obedience to God. Ramadan’s beginning and end depend on when a witness announces the new moon has been seen, so cloudy skies could prolong the fasting. Muslims celebrate the fast’s end on ‘Id al-Fitr, one of the two major Islamic holidays.
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