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Ramadan: Everything You Need To Know About The Holy Month

Ramadan: Everything You Need To Know About The Holy Month

Ramadan: Everything You Need To Know About The Holy Month

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar which holds significant religious importance for Muslims worldwide. It commemorates the revelation of the Quran to Prophet Muhammad (SAW) by Angel Gabriel.

Ramadan is the holiest month in Islam, observed by Muslims worldwide with fasting, prayer, reflection, and community gatherings.

The month-long fast begins at dawn and ends at sunset, during which Muslims are expected to abstain from food, drink, smoking, and other physical needs.

Ramadan fasting is designed for spiritual growth, self-discipline, and communal unity, the history of Ramadan dates back to the early days of Islam when the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) received revelations from Allah.

Fasting is not merely an act of refraining from food; it is a spiritual journey aimed at self-discipline, empathy, and closeness to Allah.

Brief History Of Ramadan

Ramadan Kareem

The first Ramadan fast is believed to have been observed in the year 610 CE and ever since then, Ramadan has been observed annually by Muslims worldwide, becoming one of the Five Pillars of Islam.

Throughout history, Ramadan has served as a time for Muslims to strengthen their faith, seek forgiveness, and deepen their connection with Allah, it also helps in increasing prayer, introspection, and acts of charity.

Ramadan period has been a time for Muslim faithfuls to come together as a community, share meals, and support one another.

Over the centuries, Ramadan traditions and practices have evolved which is influenced by cultural, social, and geographical factors, but its core significance remains unchanged.

Ramadan 2024

Each day of Ramadan begins with Suhoor, the pre-dawn meal, and ends with Iftar, the breaking of the fast at sunset. Iftar is often a communal affair, with families, friends, and communities coming together to share meals and prayers.

Mosques host special nightly prayers called Taraweeh, where the Quran is recited in its entirety over the course of the month.

Ramadan is not just about physical fasting; it also encourages spiritual reflection, increased prayer, and acts of charity (Zakat). Muslims strive to purify their hearts and minds, seeking forgiveness for past sins and making resolutions for self-improvement.

The last ten days of Ramadan are particularly significant, with Laylat al-Qadr, or the Night of Power, occurring during this period, believed to be the night when the Quran was first revealed.

At the end of Ramadan, Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr, the Festival of Breaking the Fast, with prayers, feasting, and giving of gifts. It marks the end of fasting and the beginning of Shawwal, the month following Ramadan.

Ramadan is a time of spiritual renewal, community bonding, and deepening one’s connection with Allah. It fosters empathy for the less privileged, gratitude for blessings, and a sense of unity among Muslims worldwide, transcending geographical and cultural boundaries.

Why Do Muslims Fast During Ramadan

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Muslims fast between 11-16 hours depending on the time of year for a period of 29-30 days. Ramadan entails forgoing food and drink, and if married, abstaining from sex during sunlit hours.

For Muslims, Ramadan is a time to train themselves both physically and spiritually by avoiding any negative acts such as gossiping, backbiting, lying, or arguing.

Muslims welcome Ramadan as an opportunity for self-reflection and spiritual improvement as well as a means to grow in moral excellence.

Ramadan Kareem

Ramadan is also a highly social time as Muslims invite each other to breakfast together and meet for prayers at the mosque.

The ultimate goal of fasting is gaining greater God-consciousness, known in Arabic as taqwa, signifying a state of constant awareness of God.  From this awareness, a person should gain discipline, self-restraint, and a greater incentive to do good and avoid wrong.

In commemoration of the revelation of the Qur’an, Muslims attempt to read the entire book during Ramadan. The entire Qur’an is also recited during special nightly prayers.

7 Things To Do In The Month Of Ramadan?

Ramadan

As a Muslim during the month of Ramadan, you are expected to participate in these seven key practices and rituals which include:

1. Fasting (Sawm): Muslims abstain from food, drink, smoking, and other physical needs from dawn (Fajr) until sunset (Maghrib). Fasting is an act of worship and self-discipline aimed at developing spiritual awareness, empathy for the less fortunate, and closeness to Allah.

2. Prayer (Salah): Muslims engage in increased prayers throughout Ramadan, including the five daily prayers and additional prayers such as Taraweeh, which are performed after the Isha prayer. Taraweeh prayers are typically conducted in congregation at mosques and involve the recitation of portions of the Quran.

3. Recitation and Reflection: Muslims often dedicate time during Ramadan to reading and reflecting on the Quran, aiming to complete its recitation at least once during the month. This includes pondering the meanings of verses and seeking spiritual insights.

Ramadan Kareem

4. Charity (Zakat and Sadaqah): Ramadan is a time for giving generously to those in need. Muslims are encouraged to give Zakat, a mandatory form of almsgiving based on their wealth, and Sadaqah, voluntary acts of charity. This includes providing food, clothing, and financial assistance to the less fortunate.

5. Self-Reflection and Repentance: Ramadan is an opportunity for Muslims to engage in self-reflection, seeking forgiveness for past sins, and making resolutions for self-improvement. It is a time to purify the heart, strengthen one’s faith, and cultivate good habits.

6. Community Engagement: Ramadan fosters a sense of community and solidarity among Muslims. Breaking the fast (Iftar) and attending Taraweeh prayers with family, friends, and fellow believers are important aspects of community bonding during this month.

7. Dua (Supplication): Muslims are encouraged to increase their supplications during Ramadan, especially during the last ten nights, seeking blessings, guidance, and mercy from Allah.

Overall, Ramadan is a time of spiritual renewal, self-discipline, and devotion for Muslims, encompassing various acts of worship, charity, and community engagement aimed at drawing closer to Allah and attaining spiritual growth.

 Who Is Entitled To Fast During Ramadan

All Muslims who have reached puberty are obligated to fast. However, people for whom fasting would be a hardship are exempted from fasting.

This includes anyone who is sick or travelling; women who are pregnant, nursing, or on their menses; or older people who are too weak or ill to fast.

Meanwhile, these set of people are meant to make up the fast later, except for those who cannot fast due to age or chronic illness. Instead, they can feed a poor person for every day of fasting which they miss.

Ramadan Kareem

While children are not required to fast until they reach puberty, it is customary for children beginning around seven years of age to perform limited or symbolic fasting such as fasting half days or on weekends.

This trains them gradually and helps to engender a sense of inclusion during the month-long observance. Mosques often give special recognition to children who are fasting on their first full day or first Ramadan.

Benefits Of Ramadan Fasting

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Doctors agree that fasting is extremely beneficial for lowering cholesterol levels and for other health benefits.

Fasting is a means of purifying the body as well as the spirit, as it gives the body a rest from the continuous task of digesting food.

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