What is Ramadan
Ramadan is also named Ramazan or Ramadhan. It is the 9th month of the Islamic calendar. Every year Ramadan is celebrated by Muslims around the globe. It is the month of fasting and prayers, which last for 29 to 30 days. Ramadan is a time of spiritual awakening, self-discipline, and strengthened commitment, loyalty, and devotion.
In this holy month of fasting, mosques arranged large iftars, particularly for the needy and poor people. Nightly prayers name as Tarawih are also carried out in mosques after iftar.
During Ramadan, it is common to cook special food for iftar. Moreover; Muslims arranged large iftar parties and invites guests over for iftar.
History of Ramadan
The name of Ramadan derived from the Arabic word “ar-ramad,” meaning heat. In A.D. 610, the angel Gabriel came to Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) and disclosed to him the first Quranic revelation on the night of Layla tul qadar which is one of the odd-digit nights during the last 10 days of Ramadan. Muslims around the world observe fast during this holy month to celebrate the revelation of the Quran.
The Quran says: “The month of Ramadan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, guidance for the human and clear proofs of guidance and criterion between right and wrong. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it.”
Ramadan Fasting Rules
In this month, Fasting is compulsory for all grown-up Muslims but fasting is not mandatory for people who are Elderly, Travelling, Menstruating, or Breastfeeding. Fasting is not obligatory for children until they hit the age of 12.
Fasting starts at sunrise and continues until sunset. The meal taken before dawn is called suhoor, and the food taken to break the fast is named iftar.
According to Islamic scholars, Muslims who live in the country with polar night ought to go along with the timetable of Mecca, in fact, it is the usual way to accompany the schedule of the nearest country where the day can be differentiated from the night.
The reward of fasting is said to be doubled during this month. During fasting, Muslims are prohibited not only from food and drink but also from smoking, sex, and any other unrighteous act such as gossiping, lying, and fighting, committing themselves rather to prayers and reading of Quran.
The beginning and last day of Ramadan
Islamic months usually last for 29 to 30 days depending on the cycle of the moon. In the month of Ramadan, if the moon is not sighted on the night of the 29th day. Then this holy month lasts for 30 days.
Muslims around the globe forecast the sighting of a new crescent moon which indicates the 1st day of Ramadan. The beginning of Ramadan changes every year since the Islamic calendar obeys the different stages of the moon.
The start and ending of Ramadan are decided by the moon sighting committee. The first day of Ramadan begins after the committee observes the crescent moon that can be difficult because it’s quite vague and disappeared after 20 minutes. However, sometimes the moon isn’t clear because of clouds, and then lunar calculations are used to anticipate the 1st day of Ramadan.
This year, Ramadan is expected to start on April 13th and end on May 13th. Ramadan is the month of blessings, during this month, Muslims gather with other Muslims and break their fast together.
The Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W) broke his fast with date and water, thus Muslims prefer to eat dates in order to break their fast. The date is a fruit of Middle East, which is not only full of nutrients but also helps in digestion and gives body the sugar it required after a day of fasting.
Muslims celebrate the ending of Ramadan with Eid ul fitr, The day of eid ul fitr starts with prayer. The festival of eid ul Fitr lasts for three days. During these days, Muslims visit their relatives and exchange gifts.
Why fasting is compulsory during Ramadan?
The month of fasting is believed to divert the focus of human beings away from worldly life and its pursuits; its aim is to purify the soul and redirect the heart toward spiritual matters.
Muslims also consider that Ramadan educates them to enhance self-control, self-improvement, self-sacrifice, and develop sympathy for those who are poverty-stricken, thus motivating the actions of hospitality, kindness, and charity.
Muslims also think that fasting makes them understand the painful situation poor people experienced when they starved and deprived of food. The aim of fasting is to be empathetic and tender-hearted towards needy people.
In this month, Muslims allocate extra time to prayers, donates more to charity, and try to enhance their self-control.
According to Quranic verses
“When Ramadan arrives, the gates of Heaven are opened and the gates of hell are locked up and demons are put in chains.”