Chicago Public Radio: Ramadan Fast Lasts Longer

Ramadan begins today. And local Muslims may find it harder to fast this year.

Islam follows the lunar calendar. This year, for the first time since the 1980s, Ramadan falls entirely in the summer here when days are longer. That means the fast from sunrise to sunset is longer too.

Ahmed Rehab, who heads the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Chicago, thinks that’s a good thing.

REHAB: The whole point of Ramadan is self control, being able to aspire to the triumph of the will of the soul against the temptations of the soul. And so with the longer days and the hotter weather that challenge becomes more difficult. Therefore the ensuing triumph becomes more meaningful.

Rehab says fasting also helps Muslims understand the suffering of the poor.

Not everyone has to fast. There are exceptions for pregnant women, the elderly and the sick.

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