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STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – Millions of Muslims around the world began Ramadan this week, a month-long fast that honors the origins of the holy Qu’ran. Shann Moore of the Muslim Student Association at MSU started Thursday’s afternoon prayer this Ramadan with a traditional Islamic call-to-worship song.

“The prayer the Adan, as it’s called in Arabic, is to call the brothers and sisters in Islam to come to the prayer, the congregational prayer. So we all pray together to one God,” says Moore.

Moore says the call to worship is in complete reverence to God. The term Allah is an Arabic word for God.

“Ramadan is the 9th month of the lunar calendar and it’s commemorated because it is thought that the Qu’ran was first revealed during this month or the first verses were revealed during this month,” says Dr. Rani Sullivan, Faculty Advisor for the Muslim Student Association at MSU.

The Qu’ran is the holy book of Islam and means “The Recited”. Ramadan is spent fasting during daylight hours and includes the daily custom of praying five times in the direction of Mecca. Dr. Sullivan says being active in her community helps to dispel misconceptions and stereotypes about Muslim Americans.

“You know Muslims have had a variety of experiences here an throughout the world. But for me & my family overall, it’s been a very positive experience here. We’ve really been embraced by the community. I was actually raised here. For me, Islam embodies one thing primarily, which is to take gentle care of God’s creation,” Dr. Sullivan says.

Ramadan is meant to be a physical and spiritual cleansing. Fasting during the month of Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars of Islam: belief, worship, charitable giving, fasting during Ramadan and at least one trip to Mecca in one’s lifetime. According to the Islamic Center of America, Muslims make up about one-fifth of the world’s population.

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