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The Muslim holy month of Ramadan starts on Monday, April 12, and even amid a global pandemic, most of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims will observe it in some form.
Which means there’s a good chance you might encounter someone — a friend, a coworker, a neighbor, your child’s teacher — who will be celebrating, fasting, and doing all sorts of other activities that are unique to the holy month.
But what is Ramadan, exactly? What’s the deal with fasting? And is there anything special you should do or say when you’re around Muslim friends and acquaintances during Ramadan?
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered: Here are the most basic answers to the most basic questions about Ramadan.
1) What is Ramadan actually about?
Ramadan is the most sacred month of the year for Muslims — the Prophet Mohammed reportedly said, “When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of heaven are opened and the gates of hell are closed and the devils are chained.”