Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar; Muslims worldwide observe this as a month of fasting. This annual observance is regarded as one of the five pillars of Islam. The month last 29- 30 days based on the visual sightings of the crescent moon. The word Ramadan comes from the Arabic root ramida or ar-ramad which means scorching heat or dryness. Fasting is a wajib(obligatory) for adult Muslims, except those who are ill, traveling or going through menstrual bleeding. While fasting from dawn until sunset Muslims refrain from consuming food, drinking liquids, smoking and sexual relations; and swearing. According to Islam, the sawab (rewards) of fasting are many, but in this month they are believed to be multiplied. Fasting for Muslims during Ramadan typically includes the increased offering of salat (prayers) and recitation of the Quran. (Holy book of Islam).
In the Quran
Chapter 2, Revelation 185 of the Quran states:
The month of Ramadan is that in which was revealed in the Quran; “ A guidance for mankind, and clear proofs of the guidance, and the criterion (of right and wrong). And whosoever of you is present, let him fast the month, and whosoever of you is sick or on a journey, a number of other days. The lord desires for you ease; he desires not hardship for you; and that you should complete the period, and that you should magnify The Lord for having guided you, and that perhaps you be thankful.”(Quran 2:185). According to the Quran, Muhammad (prophet of Islam) first received revelations in the lunar month of Ramadan. Therefore, the month of Ramadan is considered to be the most sacred month of the Islamic calendar.
Beginning of Ramadan
Hilal (the crescent) is typically a day (or more) after the astronomical new moon. Since the new moon indicates the beginning of the new month, Muslims can usually safely estimate the beginning of Ramadan.
Practices during Ramadan (Fasting)
Ramadan is known as a time of spiritual reflection, improvement and increased devotion and worship. Muslims are expected to put more effort into following the teachings of Islam. The fast (sawm) begins at dawn ends at sunset. In addition to abstaining from eating and drinking, Muslims also increase restraint, such as abstaining from sexual relations and generally sinful speech restraint, The act of fasting is said to redirect the heart away from harmful impurities. Ramadan also teaches Muslims how to better practice self-discipline, self –control, sacrifice, and empathy for those who are less fortunate; encouraging actions of generosity and compulsory charity (zakat). It becomes necessary for Muslims to start fasting when they reach puberty, so long as they are healthy, sane and have no disabilities or illnesses. Exemptions to fasting are travel, menstruation, illness, older age, pregnancy, and breast-feeding. However, many Muslims with medical conditions insist on fasting to satisfy their spiritual needs, and healthcare professionals must work with their patients to reach common ground. Professionals should closely monitor individuals who decide to endure with fasting. While fasting is not considered compulsory in childhood, many children Endeavour to complete as many fasts as possible as practice for later life. Those who are unable to fast are obliged to make up for it. According to the Quran, those ill or traveling are exempt from obligation, but still must make up the days missed later on.
Each day before dawn, Muslims observe a pre-fast meal called Suhoor. Due to the high diversity of the global Muslim community (Ummah) the typical suhoor or iftar meals vary. After stopping a short time before dawn, Muslim hasten to pray the first prayer of the day, the Fajr prayer.
At sunset, families hasten for the fast-breaking meal known as iftar. Considering the high diversity of the global Muslim population, it is impossible to describe typical suhoor or iftar meals. Suhoor can be dinner, or...