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Houston Muslims Celebrate End Of Ramadan

The holy month fell in July this year, making fasting especially tough.


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Houstonian Priti Islam teaches Bollywood dance classes while fasting for Ramadan.

Tuesday marks the final day of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month when Muslims fast from dawn to dusk each day. This year, Houston Muslims faced the added challenge of fasting through the summer heat.

Ramadan fell in July, which meant local Muslims fasted through one of the hottest parts of summer. Because the Islamic calendar lasts 355 days, Ramadan slides around on the Western calendar.

The length of the daily fast varies around the world, anywhere from 10 to 22 hours. In Houston, it lasted about 14 hours this year.

Javid Sultan studies petroleum engineering at the University of Houston. The 21-year-old is also the president of the Muslim Students Association, one of the largest organizations on campus with over 400 members.

“It’s hard enough without fasting dealing with this heat,” Sultan said. “You sort of get used to the physical aspect, but Ramadan and fasting in general is more of a mental game.”

Muslims believe the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad during Ramadan. Sultan said it’s an auspicious time of year, like an Islamic Christmas.

The challenge of fasting doesn’t change much for 27-year-old Houstonian Priti Islam. After work, Islam teaches Bollywood dance classes, stepping and strutting to the latest hits on an empty stomach. She said staying physically active while fasting has tested her endurance.

“It’s just the strength of your mind,” Islam said. “When you come and you know you have to do it, it just happens.”

Next year’s Ramadan, beginning in mid-June, will offer some relief from the summer heat.