The roughly six million Muslims who live in France are observing Ramadan from August 21 to September 22. FRANCE 24 takes a look at a religious rite that is as sacred and personal as it is familiar and pervasive.
The Muslim holiday of Ramadan commemorates the revelation of the Koran to the Prophet Muhammad. Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five duties, or “pillars”, of the Muslim faith. The other duties are the profession of faith, prayers, alms giving and pilgrimage to the city of Mecca, in Saudi Arabia.
From sunrise to sunset during Ramadan, Muslims must abstain from eating, drinking and engaging in sexual relations. The goal of this practice is said to be the purification of the mind and body, control of one’s passions and desires and avoiding all activity that could harm others.
FRANCE 24 examines the habits and rituals of a centuries-old religious event that has persisted in and been adapted to a secular country – France.
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With exclusive parties on private beaches, special TV series with plenty of commercial breaks, and massive inflation during the holy month, the debate about the meaning of Ramadan is growing louder in Lebanon and also elsewhere.
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The month of Ramadan, the holiest month of the Muslim calendar, has begun across most of the Muslim world. The start of the month differs from place to place and is traditionally determined by the sighting of the new moon.
Ramadan begins today for millions of Muslims throughout Europe. On a continent where they are now more than sixteen million people, this event raises the question of integration: how easy is it to be a Muslim in Europe today?