Tariq Ramadan writes: Ramadan is a time for Self-Criticism

The first Ramadan began with a man climbing a rocky mountain and retreating into a tiny cave. He sat there, alone, for a month of fasting, meditation, reflection and prayer, as he had many times before. He was trying to distil the mysteries of the universe, compassion and the knowledge of God.

Somewhere during the last ten days of that month, the angel Gabriel – the same angel that visited Mary in the Gospels – appeared to this man in his cave and had an exchange with him that would change his life, revolutionise his society and affect the world forever.

It was also an exchange that gives us profound lessons about the nature of our physicality, and the connection between our bodies and divine inspiration – lessons that have resonated through every Ramadan since.

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The Month of Ramadan

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Ramadan did not become a religious obligation for Muslims until the year 624. The obligation to fast is explained in the second chapter of the Quran: “O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint … Ramadan is the (month) in which was sent down the Quran … and so, in the year 2016 the Muslim communities of the Goulburn Valley commence the month of Ramadan.
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