Ramadan began yesterday for Belgian Muslims. Up until the next new moon, Muslims are invited to abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and having sex between sunrise and sunset.
“I pronounce the wish that the sacred month of Ramadan contribute to peace, social cohesion, mutual understanding, solidarity, and the ending of any form of polarization in our country. I also wish that this month be one of conflict resolution and human beings’ protection from any form of injustice,” declared the day before the newly elect administrative president of Belgian Muslims (EMB), Mehmet Üstün.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Arab lunar calendar, of which the first day is determined locally by the appearance of the new moon. It is considered to be the month during which the Koran was revealed to Muhammad. It is a time of prayer and, for those who are not dispensed from it for health reasons, fasting, which constitutes one of the five pillars of Islam. It ends with the Eid al-Fitr celebration.
Tuesday evening, the theologians’ council, related to EMB, established Thursday as the beginning of Ramadan in Belgium, like in Saudi Arabia and most of the Muslim countries. In several States, such as Turkey, which rely on their astronomical calculation rather than on the observation of the moon with the naked eye, Ramadan began Wednesday. For all of the religious authorities do not have the same method of identifying the beginning of each lunar month.