Ramadan is a holy month for Muslims all over the world. The ninth month of the Islamic calendar is one of the most important times for Muslims.
If you are not familiar with Ramadan, here’s what you need to know about Ramadan and why is it so important for Muslims.
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is a holy month for Muslims where they won’t eat or drink and will be required to abstain from intimacy, between fajr (dawn) and maghrib (sunset) for the whole month. This practice is what we know as fasting.
Muslims are also encouraged to give up bad habits during Ramadan, as well as do more prayer and good deeds, such as reading the Qur’an (holy book of Muslims), spending time with family and friends, and helping people in need.
Fasting during the holy month of Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, which is the basis of how Muslims live their lives.
The Five Pillars of Islam include shahada (declaration of faith), prayer, charity, fasting, and making the pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca.
For Muslims, fasting is a form of devotion to their faith and Allah (God). However, children are not expected to fast until they reach puberty, typically around the age of 14.
If you are pregnant, in your period, have a physical or mental illness, are elderly, experiencing severe thirst or hunger, traveling, or your life is threatened should you not break the fast, then you are also allowed not to fast.
Ramadan is considered a holy month because in this month, the Qur’an was first revealed to Prophet Muhammad. The night that the Qur’an was revealed is known as Laylatul Qadr (The Night of Power).
During Ramadan, Muslims will have a meal just before dawn, known as the suhoor or sehri. They then will have another meal directly after sunset known as iftar.
Usually, families and friends will get together at the end of the fast for iftar. After iftar, Muslims usually will also go to the mosque to pray Taraweeh (a prayer specifically practiced during Ramadan).
When is Ramadan?
As we mentioned before, Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, but the date itself changes every year.
Islam uses the lunar calendar that is based on the cycles of the Moon. Therefore, the date isn’t fixed in the solar calendar.
This year, most countries around the world will start Ramadan on the 2nd of April. However, Muslims in some countries will start fasting on the 3rd of April due to the difference in Moon sightings.
And according to the moon cycles, Ramadan will approximately end on the 1st of May in some countries and the 2nd of May in others.
At the end of Ramadan, Muslims around the world will celebrate a holiday called Eid al-Fitr or Eid ul-Fitr.
Not only celebrating the end of fasting, but on this day Muslims will also be thanking Allah for the strength and blessings He gave throughout Ramadan.
Usually, Mosques will hold special services in the morning. Muslims will then gather with families and friends during the daytime and eat a special meal together.
On Eid al-Fitr, Muslims will be encouraged to dress in the best clothes they have, give gifts to children, spend time with families and friends, as well as give charity to those in need.