The Significance of Ritual and Sacred Objects

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Sam Veda once said, “Rituals that are performed with the desire of attaining salvation also helps a man to achieve growth and progress in this world.” Rituals play an integral part in every religion and the lives of its followers. These rituals develop followers into better people and link them with the divine. Ramadan is a month long religious ritual that holds great importance for the Muslim community. In order to learn more about this ritual I attended a service at mosque during Ramadan earlier this year. There I learned that Ramadan focuses on fasting from eating, sexual intercourse, etc. The fast is meant to allow Muslims to seek nearness to God, to express their gratitude to and dependence on him, atone for their past sins, and to remind them of the needy. During my visit I learned that Ramadan is an intricate ritual that holds many purposes for its participants. In order to learn more about Ramadan I decided to reflect upon my experience at the mosque and to examine it according to Lester Kurtz’s five characteristics of rituals: they provide solutions to problems; they are rooted in experience; they involve the demarcation of boundaries and the identification of evil; they include non-rational as well as rational aspects of behavior; and they reinforce, or reify, social processes.

The Ramadan prayer service differed greatly from anything I have witnessed at a Roman Catholic mass. I arrived at the community center around sunset. Those celebrating Ramadan had been fasting for the entire day. Before they went into the prayer service they ate dates as their first meal of the evening. The call to prayer began over the loud speaker, which consisted of a person singing verses of the Qur’an in Arabic. People then began going i...

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...g problems in one’s life and identifying evil. Based on my experience I discovered that Muslim people seek to reach out to others and welcomed me with open arms as a part of their community. They painstakingly answered my questions and remained open and honest with me. I am extremely glad that I took this opportunity to experience this ritual because it gave me a new perspective on the Islam faith and a deep respect for those who participate in Ramadan.

Works Cited

1. Esposito, John (1998). Islam: The Straight Path (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press.

2. Kurtz, Lester R. “Gods in the Global Village: The World’s Religions in Sociological Perspective”. Pine Forge Press, 2010.

3. “Purpose of Ramadan.” Http://, accessed 4/11/11.

4. “Ritual Quotes.” Http://, accessed 4/10/11
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