While those who observe the solar calendar are getting ready for the new year, devout Muslims throughout Ventura County are in the midst of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic year, a period commemorated by fasting, abstinence and prayer.
For 30 days, Muslims older than 12 will rise before dawn, eat a small meal and fast until night falls. Adults are required to make sacrifices, abstaining from conjugal or material pleasures.
For religious reasons, Muslims follow the Islamic calendar, which follows lunar cycles, rather than the Gregorian, or solar calendar. This year Ramadan began on Dec. 10.
Bader Iqbal, 37, of Westlake Village looks forward to Ramadan as a time to rekindle his spiritualism and distance himself from materialism. He honors this month by closing his family practice medical office by 5 p.m.--an hour early--so he can break the fast with his family.