Thursday, October 11th, 2007
Language from the programme
to eat little or no food over a certain period of time, often for religious or health reasons
to hold yourself back from doing something you enjoy
dawn until dusk / sunrise to sunset
during the daytime, when there is light
a sandwich (informal)
a difficult experience
Word Facts - Ramadan
Download the Ramadan Word Facts mp3 (1 MB)
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Let's start with our first Ramadan-related phrase: 'to fast'. This verb means to eat little or no food over a certain period of time, often for religious reasons:
Muslims are expected to fast during Ramadan.
I can't eat that - I'm fasting!
It can be a noun too:
The fast will begin tomorrow.
A fast is a good way to make you stop and think about all the things that are important in life.
The word 'breakfast' is related to the word 'fast'. 'Breakfast' literally means 'to break a fast' - to start eating again after a period without food, in this case because you've usually been sleeping.
Now we're going to look at another word which often comes up when we
talk about Ramadan and that's 'abstinence'. Abstinence is the practice
of not having something that you enjoy, often for health or religious
reasons. For example, it could involve not having chocolate, cigarettes
or sex. We use it with 'from':
Abstinence is an important part of Ramadan.
Abstinence from sex before marriage is an important part of my religion.
The verb form is 'to abstain':
Pilots must abstain from alcohol 24 hours before they start work.
He says he will abstain from sex before marriage.
As well as fasting and other forms of abstinence, during Ramadan, Muslims
are expected to pray. To pray means to speak to God in order to ask
for help or give thanks.
I pray every night before I sleep.
He prays for peace.
To pray is an act of 'worship'. 'Worship' is a term we often hear in
religious contexts. It means to do something which shows respect and
love of God:
They bowed their head in worship.
The ceremony will take place in a place of worship.
In everyday situations, to worship someone can mean to really admire
He worships his big brother.
I think she's the most popular girl in the school - everyone seems to worship her!
'To worship' and 'to pray' are both signs of 'faith', 'faith' - a belief
or trust in God:
I have faith in God.
She has deep religious faith.
In non-religious contexts, the word faith can simply mean trust in
someone or something:
I still have faith in her, I know she can do it!
The public has lost faith in the government. And that's all for today's word facts!