The Muslim month of fasting, Ramadan, begins on Friday.

It’s akin to a spiritual training camp, says Mohammad Khalil, director of Michigan State University’s Muslim Studies Program.

The Qur’an states that fasting was prescribed for believers so they may be conscious of God, he says. By abstaining from things people tend to take for granted (such as water), it is believed one may be moved to reflect on the purpose of life and grow closer to the creator and sustainer of all existence.

Unless physically limited, all Muslims are expected to fast. Besides experiencing feelings of hunger and thirst, believers often have to deal with fatigue because of late-night prayers and predawn meals, Khalil says. This is especially true during the final 10 nights of the month. In addition to being the period in which the Qur’an was believed to have been first revealed, this is a time when divine rewards are believed to be multiplied. Many Muslims will offer additional prayers during this period.

Also associate professor of religious studies, Khalil can discuss Ramadan’s history and its significance to Muslims around the world. He can be reached at (517) 884-6636 or [email protected].

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