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  • 1.  Community Conversations - 3/11/24 - No Call in Observance of Ramadan

    Posted 03-07-2024 12:33 PM

    The meeting on Monday, March 11 has been cancelled in observance of Ramadan. We hope to see you again on Monday, March 18 for a presentation on how San Diego service providers keep pets & people together. We hope you can join us then!

    Recognizing holidays like Ramadan is vital for inclusivity in our movement. By honoring diverse cultural and religious observances, we show respect and foster unity for all people in our community. Learn more about the meaning of Ramadan below, written by Altamush Saeed. Altamush Saeed is a BIPOC, award-winning Pakistani Interspecies Justice lawyer, activist, philanthropist & teacher. He is an Animal Law Professor at the University of Central Punjab Law School where he teaches Pakistan's 1st Animal Law Advocacy Course. He is a Founding Managing Partner at  Environmental and Animal Rights Consultants, Pakistan's 1st dedicated Animal and Environmental law and policy firm. He also co-founded Charity Doings Foundation which works on Interspecies Justice (501c3 Tax Exempt US/Non-profit in Pakistan) and serves as the Animal Welfare ambassador to Comprehensive Disaster Response Services ( in addition to various leadership roles at Green Islam, Northwest Animal Rights Network, the BIPOC in Animal Wellbeing Collective, Proveg Youth Board and many more. He holds 3 LLMs, respectively in Animal Law, Environmental law, Human Rights, and International Law from Lewis and Clark Law School and the University of Michigan and a BA-LLB from Lahore University of Management Sciences Pakistan.

    Ramadan: A snapshot

    Ramadan is a holy month of fasting, introspection, and prayer for Muslims, the followers of Islam. It is celebrated as the month Muhammad received the initial revelations of the Quran, the holy book for Muslims. Fasting is one of the five fundamental principles of Islam. Each day during Ramadan, Muslims do not eat or drink from dawn to sunset. They are also supposed to avoid impure thoughts and bad behavior.

    Muslims break their daily fasts by sharing meals with family and friends, and the end of Ramadan is celebrated with a three-day festival known as Eid al-Fitr, one of Islam's major holidays. Ramadan always falls on the ninth month of the 12-month Islamic calendar. Ramadan 2024 is expected to begin on the evening of Monday, March 11, following the moon sighting, and conclude at sundown on Tuesday, April 9.

    Did you know? The conclusion of Ramadan is marked with a major celebration known as Eid al-Fitr (or Eid ul-Fitr), the Feast of Fast-Breaking. It starts the day after Ramadan ends and lasts for three days. Eid al-Fitr includes special prayers and meals with friends and relatives, and gifts are often exchanged. In 1996, then-first lady Hillary Clinton hosted the first Eid al-Fitr dinner at the White House. President Bill Clinton and subsequent presidents continued the tradition during their terms in office. President Biden  restarted the tradition of Eid ul Fitr at the White House after his predecessor had scraped it. 

    When is Ramadan:

    Ramadan, in Islam, the ninth month of the Muslim calendar and the holy month of fasting. It begins and ends with the appearance of the crescent moon. Because the Muslim calendar year is shorter than the Gregorian calendar year, Ramadan begins 10–12 days earlier each year, allowing it to fall in every season throughout a 33-year cycle.

    Did you know? Lebanese immigrants in North Dakota built America's first mosque in the 1920s. The mosque was torn down in the 1970s and later replaced. What's believed to be the oldest surviving mosque in the U.S. was constructed in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in the 1930s.

    What is the essence of Ramadan:

    Islamic tradition states that it was during Ramadan, on the "Night of Power" (Laylat al-Qadr)-commemorated on one of the last 10 nights of Ramadan, usually the 27th night-that God revealed to the Prophet Muhammad the Qurʾān, Islam's holy book, "as a guidance for the people." For Muslims, Ramadan is a period of introspection, communal prayer (ṣalāt) in the mosque, and reading of the Qurʾān. God forgives the past sins of those who observe the holy month with fasting, prayer, and faithful intention.

    Ramadan, however, is less a period of atonement than it is a time for Muslims to practice self-restraint, in keeping with ṣawm (Arabic: "to refrain"), one of the pillars of Islam (the five basic tenets of the Muslim religion). Although ṣawm is most commonly understood as the obligation to fast during Ramadan, it is more broadly interpreted as the obligation to refrain between dawn and dusk from food, drink, sexual activity, and all forms of immoral behaviour, including impure or unkind thoughts. Thus, false words or bad deeds or intentions are as destructive of a fast as is eating or drinking.

    Observing Ramadan in Pakistan at a Charity Doings Foundation Pakistan Iftar

    After the sunset prayer, Muslims gather in their homes or mosques to break their fast with a meal called ifṭār that is often shared with friends and extended family. The ifṭār usually begins with dates, as was the custom of Muhammad, or apricots and water or sweetened milk. There are additional prayers offered at night called the tawarīḥ prayers, preferably performed in congregation at the mosque. During these prayers, the entire Qurʾān may be recited over the course of the month of Ramadan. To accommodate such acts of worship in the evening, work hours are adjusted during the day and sometimes reduced in some Muslim-majority countries. The Qurʾān indicates that eating and drinking are permissible only until the "white thread of light becomes distinguishable from the dark thread of night at dawn." Thus, Muslims in some communities sound drums or ring bells in the predawn hours to remind others that it is time for the meal before dawn, called the suḥūr.

    What does Fasting symbolize?

    Many might think fasting is depriving one's body of food and water from sunrise to sunrise. However, the true essence of fasting is exercising restraint and relying completely on God. Additionally, such restraint is meant to invigorate a mental image inside a person of humans and animals who go often go days out without access to healthy nutritious food. Hence the month is considered a sharing of a celebration where communal iftars are conducted within the community where people from all walks of life come together. At this time, as Muslims, we must also acknowledge that many animals, particularly community animals are on the streets, with no access to life-saving vaccinations, clean bacteria-free water, and nutritious food. 

    Animals in Islam

    God created the planet Earth for all beings, and he placed a duty of trusteeship on all humans to make sure they keep the planet in their trust. Anyone who violates this trust will bear the burden of disbelief.
    He laid out the earth for all beings. (Quran 55:10)

    It is He Who made you vicegerents in the earth. So whoever disbelieves will bear the burden of his unbelief.(Quran 35:39)

    The Quran mentions animals as communities just like Muslims. 

    "There is not an animal that lives on the earth, nor a being that flies on its wings, but they form communities like you. Nothing have we omitted from the Book, and they all shall be gathered to their Lord in the end" (Quran 6:38).

    The word Community translates to the term Ummah, which means the community for whom the religion is made. 
    The Quran also mentions Animals have a form of prayer as well.

    Do you not see that Allah is glorified by all those in the heavens and the earth, even the birds as they soar? Each ˹instinctively˺ knows their manner of prayer and glorification. And Allah has ˹perfect˺ knowledge of all they do.(Quran 24:41)

    While we as humans, cannot understand animal speech, they do have a specific method of prayer. Have you ever seen a horse or a giraffe bowing down on its knees? That form symbolizes the prayer Muslims make 5 times a day.

    The Quran designates a punishment for animal cruelty as well as a reward for being kind to them.
    Whoever is kind to the creatures of God, is to himself. There is no man who kills {even} a sparrow or anything smaller, without its deserving it, but God will question him about it.(Hadith, Bukhari)

    "The Prophet cursed the one who treated animals harshly. Whoever treats harshly a living being and then does not repent, God will treat him just as harshly on judgment day.(Hadith, Bukhari)

    Similarly, all events of animal cruelty are recorded, and animals will be given a chance to make their statements at the day of judgment, an Islamic belief that all Muslims will eventually die and be resurrected at the day of judgment, where all their actions will be judges for their entry into heaven or hell. Heaven or hell is a constant mention in all Abrahamic religions. 

    What is Islam?

    Islam in all its forms is a religion of peace for all life, be it humans, animals, or the environment. 
    'It is Allah who made for you the earth a place of settlement and the sky a ceiling and formed you and perfected your forms and provided you with good things. That is Allah, your Lord; then blessed is Allah, Lord of the worlds'(Quran 40:64). · 'And He has cast into the earth firmly set mountains, lest it shift with you, and [made] rivers and roads, that you may be guided'.(Quran 16:!5)

    'Indeed, we offered the Trust to the heavens and the earth and the mountains, and they declined to bear it and feared it; but man [undertook to] bear it. Indeed, he was unjust and ignorant'.(Quran 33:72) · 'Do not strut exultantly on the Earth. You will never split the Earth apart nor will you rival the mountains in stature'.(Quran 17:37) · Allah also says, 'Indeed, the creation of heaven and Earth is greater than the creation of humankind, but most people do not know it'.(Quran 40:57)

    God mentions in the Quran that he created Earth for all life and he placed it in a form of trusteeship to the humans. However, man transgressed, which is evident from the amount of climate change and natural disasters that are happening in the era of the Anthropocene. 

    The act of fasting is aimed at a Muslim practicing restraint and realizing that his actions towards others are creating significant harm and that we need to reform ourselves. This act of reformation is what Ramadan is all about where we enter the month and leave it as purified souls. Ramadan is also about sharing such kindness and ideologies of empathy and justice with non-Muslims as well and the iftar is open to all, both humans and non-human animals. 

    This Ramadan, may we share our blessings and be truly able to understand ourselves, so we may reform ourselves one step at a time.
    JazakAllah Khayr.

    Here are a few resources for those interested in Ramadan, Islam, Animals and the Environment:

    For a more detailed discussion, feel free to email me at


    Maddie's Pet Forum Admin
    Maddie's Fund

  • 2.  RE: Community Conversations - 3/11/24 - No Call in Observance of Ramadan

    Posted 03-07-2024 03:22 PM

    Thank you Altamush for sharing! I learned so much from reading this. 

    [Nadia] [Oseguera]
    [CA Program Manager]
    [Koret Shelter Medicine Program]

  • 3.  RE: Community Conversations - 3/11/24 - No Call in Observance of Ramadan

    Posted 03-11-2024 11:08 AM

    Thank you so much for sharing this, Altamush! I really appreciate the emphasis on kindness to animals. Ramadan Mubarak! 

    Sheila Kouhkan