Today marks the beginning of Ramadan, a sacred month for Muslims around the world.

A time of fasting, reflection and spiritual growth.

Ramadan is celebrated during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar which follows the lunar cycle. A new month starts with the sighting of a new crescent moon, lasting around 30 days.

Any Muslim who is able to fast is obligated to participate.

Burhan Hamdan has fasted since he was about five-years-old.He’s the imam at the Islamic Center of Tucson (ICT) leading prayers at the mosque.

Ramadan comes at a time when things in the Middle East are extremely unstable. Hamdan tells me the people of Gaza are top of mind when praying alongside any suffering Muslim brothers and sisters around the globe.

Emphasizing the importance of elevating ones spirituality during Ramadan.

“The purpose of it is righteousness,” said Hamdan. “It’s really to come together as one community. Each one of us will come together as an individual and as a community to attain righteousness.”

It’s a month of self reflection and repentance.

The doors of the mosque are open all month long, giving the local Muslim community the chance to come together to celebrate the holy month.The ICT is holding different events for those participating to join in on.

“One of them is bringing us together for nightly prayer, another one is the break the fast together and then especially in the last ten nights of Ramadan, we encourage people to donate,” Hamdan said.

Ramadan is expected to end April 9th followed by an Eid al-fitr celebration.

As the Tucson community joins Muslims around the world in observing Ramadan, let us remember the spirit of unity and gratitude that this holy month brings.