Muslims around the world are bracing for the toughest Ramadan in more than three decades.
No food or drink, not even a sip of water, for 14 hours each day during the hottest time of the year.
Ramadan is a sacred month for Muslims, during which time they are required to fast from both food and drink, from dawn to sunset. At sunset, the fast is broken.
Beginning Friday evening, the Birmingham Islamic Society welcomes non-Muslims to join with them in learning more.
Ashfaq Taufique, president of the Birmingham Islamic Society. Is ready for Ramadan.
"Our scholars consider this month to be a month to rejuvenate our faith," Taufique says. "By worshipping, this is submitting to the will of god and refraining from something that is permissible at any other time, food and drink, for the pleasure of our lord."
Taufique uses this time to grow his faith and also to welcome non-Muslims to get a better understanding of the Islam religion.
"We sit down, we chat, because we believe the biggest source of fear is ignorance, not knowing who we are," Taufique explains.
Letting the general community "get to know" what the Muslim community is about during Ramadan has been a passion project for the Birmingham Islamic Society for fifteen years.
In that time, Taufique says he has witnessed better dialogue and understanding among other faiths.
"People who have visited us, from churches, from governmental agencies, from schools and universities and I cannot recall anybody leaving, not having a better understanding of their neighbors, Muslims are in all walks of life in this country," he says.
Taufique knows that many non-Muslims have negative perceptions of the Islamic religion, he says, his faith is one of peace.
"As far as theology is concerned, as far as the religion of Islam is concerned and the Muslims in America are concerned, we are peaceful people," says Taufique. "To say we don't like the freedom, that the Muslims in the world hate freedom, that's the reason they react the way they do. That is not true."
During this next thirty days, the Birmingham Islamic Society welcomes anyone who is willing to break bread and mingle.
It's recommended to call the Hoover Crescent Islamic Center and make a reservation before coming.
The number is (205)-879-4247.