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Ramadan, The Muslim Month Of Fasting, Its Early Development And Religious Meaning

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Chapter Summary

The total or partial abstinence from food during certain periods, coupled or not with voluntary self denial of sexual pleasures, is a practice common to many religions. As to fasting in pre-Islamic Arabia, the most plausible traditions are those which report that this was done during Rajah, the holy month of the spring. The Koran itself, however, provides a full and authentic commentary on the claim of Muhammad to be in a particularly close relationship with Moses and the specific connection of Moses with the Day of Atonement. The various stages of the early development of obligatory fasting in Islam fit well into the chronological scheme of Muhammad's activities after his &t;flight&t; from his native city of Mecca. Many sections of the population of Cairo, especially of the richer quarter of the city, disregard Ramadan in practice, but would not care or dare to fight against it in theory.

Keywords: Atonement; Cairo; fasting; Koran; Mecca; Moses; Muhammad; pre-Islamic Arabia; Ramadan

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