Fasting is just one aspect of Ramadan
Attention during Ramadan typically is directed toward the fasting aspect of the monthlong Islamic period, but for Allison Moore the most significant spiritual practice is rereading the Quran.
Moore, a Tulsa native and Muslim convert, said delving back into the holy pages brings her closer to God, allowing her to see and experience more of God’s work in everyday life. For example, when Moore walks outside and sees birds flying, she is reminded of a verse in the Quran about them being held in the sky by God, their creator.
“It’s really kind of a moving experience,” she said of reading the text’s 30 parts during the 30-day fasting period, one section per night.
Ramadan began Saturday, and Muslims worldwide were eating their first breakfasts of the holy month before dawn.
Reading the Quran is a component of Ramadan, one of the five pillars of Islam. The most widely noted aspect is fasting, Moore said, but Muslims also pray and make concerted efforts to be charitable.
The Quran acts as a moral compass, and becoming reunited with it during Ramadan helps to guide Moore throughout the rest of the year, she said.
Moore, who teaches Sunday school and gives tours as a volunteer for the Islamic Society of Tulsa, is the executive director of the Surayya Anne Foundation. The group has several apartments in Tulsa and helps the poor and others in need from all faiths.
The Quran often mentions poor people, which is what Moore’s daily job revolves around.
“I read these verses, and I remember my purpose in life,” she said.
The mosque at the Islamic Society of Tulsa, 4630 S. Irvington Ave., hosts prayer services from 10 p.m. until midnight every night during Ramadan. One part of the Quran is recited at each gathering.
The Quran is recited in Arabic across the world, so Muslims memorize prayers in Arabic.
Moore said people often read the Quran in their homes, as well, but in their native language.
Sheryl Siddiqui, the Islamic Council of Oklahoma’s spokeswoman, uses Ramadan to try to read a different translation of the Quran each year.
She can’t read Arabic, so doing so provides her with more depth and a better understanding of the Arabic, Siddiqui said.
When you understand the Arabic, she said, it’s “almost irresistible.” She said the scripture has cadence and rhyme.
“The Arabic, it just draws you in,” Siddiqui said.
“It’s beautiful. When you hear it recited, it’s beautiful.”
Siddiqui emphasized the importance of the advice contained within the Quran, which helps her to re-evaluate and take a wide-angle view of life and where God is guiding her, she said.
The text preaches values, including ones considered important in America, she added.
“It gives a person hope and helps us find not just balance but instills values,” Siddiqui said.