The holy month of Ramadan (also known as Ramazan) is going on, and all our Muslim brothers and sisters around the world are fasting in this month. But what is the month of Ramadan and why are they fasting the whole month. So, let me tell you the most interesting things about Ramadan so we understand our Muslim friends better.
So, what is Ramadan?
Ramadan falls on the ninth lunar month in the Islamic Calendar. The lunar calendar means the start of each month is based on various factors, such as the sighting of the moon. Therefore, like all Islamic months, the month of Ramadan keeps shifting by 11-12 days every year. The month of Ramadan isbelieved to be the month in which the Holy Qur’an was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in 610CE. Laylat al-Qadr, or Night of Power, is thought to be the actual day when the Qur’an was given to the Prophet and usually falls within the last 10 days of the month.
What is the purpose of Ramadan?
During Ramadan, observers are expected to abstain from food, water, and other pleasures from dawn to dusk. It involves refraining from sinful acts such as cursing, lying, bad intentions and sexual relations; amongst many other things. These can negate the validity of a fast. Removing these comforts from daily routine is intended to focus the mind on prayer, spirituality, and charity and to purify the body and mind.
Exceptions to the fast
Several different groups are excused from fasting during Ramadan – pregnant women and sometime women who are breastfeeding, people who are mentally or physically ill. Children are not obligated to fast until they hit puberty, Individuals who are travelling, engaged in hard labor, women on their period can also skip some days and make up for the days missed later.
Breaking the fast
The beginning as well as breaking of the fast is initiated with a dua (prayer) of niyah (intention). Eating dates is a popular way to break the fast. It is said that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) used dates to break his fast with. The health benefits of dates are vast. They contain natural sugars, are high in fiber, are excellent for digestion, and contain lots of vitamins and nutrients.
Charity is an important part of Ramadan
Ramadan is an auspicious month for generosity and giving. The sawab (reward) for charity and benevolence in this month are immense. It is known as a month of humbleness and simplicity, and to remember those who are less fortunate than us. Muslims are obliged to give charity on a regular basis in the form of either Zakat, which is mandatory giving, or Sadaqah, which is voluntary and meant to go beyond the mere religious obligations. Zakat is typically calculated as 2.5% of total liquid assets held by the person.
The Five Pillars of Islam
Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam, the practices that all Muslims must follow. These are:• Shahada: This is a profession of belief in the one true God
- Salat (Namaz): Praying five time daily facing the direction of Mecca
- Zakat: The giving of charity to the poor and needy
- Sawm (Roza): Fasting during the month of Ramadan
- Hajj: The pilgrimage to Mecca that each Muslim must make at least once in his or her lifetime.Eid-ul-Fitr
Ramadan concludes with Eid-ul-Fitr, a celebration which follows the period of fasting. It is commonly known as a day of joy and thanking Allah for the strength in accomplishing the spiritual month. It is a day of gratitude, prayers, unity and happiness. For a large number of people, the day usually consists of attending the Mosque, praying, visiting family and friends, having a large meal during a day, exchanging gifts, giving to charity so that the poor may also celebrate.
The month of Ramadan is a blessing. A time to reflect on cleansing, prayer, religion, and remembrance of those around us.
– Shamnoor Vaidhya