One colleague from work was asking me whether Muslims break the fast at sunset, or in accordance to another time or signal. She told me the time of the sunset, but the time for Iftar is 20-30 minutes later than that. The instruction in Al-Quran is as follows:
And eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct to you from the black thread [of night]. Then complete the fast until the night [i.e., sunset].
At one point in the conversation I found myself speaking in the first person plural, as if I were part of the Muslim community. It was as if I stepped back and heard myself saying that 'we start fasting' or 'we break the fast,' surprised at myself for considering myself part of Islam. On Wednesday evening I am invited to break the fast with an Eritrean family, and I'm quite looking forward to it. I've prepared a gift of dates from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and I am hoping to make a sweet treat to give the family as well.