Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Celebrating Ramadan

Members of the Muslim faith are currently observing Ramadan.  So this month, I decided to blog on Ramadan.  No, I am not Muslim and do not profess to be well versed in the culture.  I do, however, believe that we all have an obligation to at least attempt to understand the culture of others.  As I began to research for this posting, I found a lot of interesting information on Ramadan.   So, it is in that vein that I am writing this blog.

Ramadan is celebrated during the ninth month of the Muslim lunar calendar and lasts for 29 or 30 days.  The dates for Ramadan vary each year, moving backwards by about eleven days per year, thus in 34 years; Muslims will have fasted every day of the calendar year. Muslims believe that Ramadan is the month in which the first verse of the Qur’an was revealed to the Islamic prophet, Muhammad.

It is a time of spiritual reflection and worship.  Muslims are expected to put more effort into following the teachings of Islam and to avoid obscene and irreligious sights and sounds.   During fasting, intercourse is prohibited as well as eating and drinking, and resistance of all temptations is encouraged.  Purity of both thought and action is important.  The act of fasting is said to redirect the heart away from worldly activities, its purpose being to cleanse the inner soul and free it from harm.  It also teaches Muslims to practice self-discipline, self-control, sacrifice, and empathy for those who are less fortunate; thus encouraging actions of generosity and charity.

Ramadan is also a time when Muslims are to slow down from worldly affairs and focus on self-reformation, spiritual cleansing and enlightenment; this is to establish a link between themselves and God through prayer, supplication, charity, good deeds, kindness and helping others.  Since it is a festival of giving and sharing, Muslims prepare special foods and buy gifts for their family and friends and for giving to the poor and needy.  There is also a social aspect involving the preparation of special foods and inviting people for iftar, the fast-breaking meal.  Iftar begins with the eating of three dates.  After eating dates, it is prayer time and finally the celebratory meal.

While you may not be celebrating Ramadan, if you are like me, you probably need to slow down – and breathe.  So please, prepare a meal, invite a few friends over and maybe bake this pie. 

New Fashioned Bean Pie


2 cans (15 ounces, each) white beans, such as,
   Great Northern Beans, Navy or Cannellini
1 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon nutmeg
2 Tablespoons melted butter
1 pie crust

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Drain and rinse beans. 
  3. In a blender or food processor, blend beans and the remaining ingredients.  Blend until smooth. Pour mixture into a pie crust.
  4. Bake at 375°F for 1 hour or until the center is slightly soft. 
Note:  If this pie is made in a purchased deep dish pie crust, you will have a little filling left over. 

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