[Ambassador Series] Observing Ramadan in Korea
Photographs from the iftar banquet hosted by H.E. Abdulla Saif Alnuaimi, Ambassador of UAE to the Republic of Korea.
To those participating in Ramadan, and to those who would like to know more about Ramadan, ‘Ramadan Mubarak’! (‘Happy Ramadan’!)
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim calendar and the holy month of fasting, one of Islam's Five Pillars. According to Islamic belief, Allah gave the Qur'an to the Prophet Muhammad during Ramadan. Serving as guidance for the people, it is one of the holiest months for Muslims. Ramadan is an occasion of meditation, prayer, and Quranic reading. It is also a time when Muslims are encouraged to donate to charity, to be courteous, and patient.
Fasting is more than simply not eating. Muslims can eat during this period, just not from dawn until sunset. As the sun rises, they are forbidden from eating or drinking anything, even water. They celebrate the breaking of the fast with close friends and family with a feast known as iftar, which non-Muslims can also attend. Ramadan is not merely about abstaining from hunger and thirst, however. It also requires people to refrain from food, drink, sexual activity, impure or unkind thoughts, and all forms of immoral behavior. This encourages Muslims to become conscious of their physical, spiritual, and psychological growth.
During Ramadan, the Muslim community in Korea visit the mosques closest to them for iftar. However, the biggest gathering occurs at Seoul Central Masjid, the largest mosque in the country. The Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosts an Iftar dinner every year to show solidarity and deepen the friendship between Korea and Muslim and Islamic countries.
Did you know? Have you ever felt uneasy about eating in front of Muslims while they are fasting? There is no need to be. If you are polite and can avoid arranging work lunches during this time, this is wonderful. Being flexible with your schedule around prayer time and avoiding misconceptions about fasting merely being a weight-loss practice is also a marvelous way to understand Muslim people and their traditions more respectfully.