The month of Ramadan is the most sacred month in Islam. Many Non-Muslims believe that Ramadan is simply about fasting from dawn until dusk, but that’s not the case.
During this important time of the Islamic year, there are a lot of things to say and do. For those unfamiliar with Muslim practices, it may appear confusing at first.
We will explain everything about Ramadan that you need if you are struggling to understand what Ramadan is, why it is observed, and by whom it is observed.
Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic lunar calendar. Throughout the world, the month of Ramadan is considered one of the holiest and most sacred times of the year for Muslims. Islam observes Ramadan to honour Sawm, which is one of the pillar of Islam.
What Does The Word Sawm Mean?
Sawm is an Arabic word that means ‘to fast.’ Among the five pillars of Islam, Sawm is the fourth. So it’s one of the five principles in Islam that everyone should live by and follow as well.
Sawm is observed by Muslims to develop a more compassionate relationship with those who are not as fortunate as themselves—not eating leads to them becoming more appreciative of the gifts Allah (SWT) has bestowed upon them. This leads them to realize that nothing should be taken for granted.
Moreover, Sawm is not just about abstinence from food and water; in fact, it is about cultivating better habits and staying away from sins. Muslims observe Sawm cultivate perseverance, devotion, and self-discipline. Also, to purify themselves of any defilement and to draw closer to Allah (SWT).
When Does Ramadan Begin?
Knowing the exact date of Ramadan is perhaps the most challenging aspect of it. There is no set date for Ramadan; it is observed when the moon for the 9th lunar month is sighted and lasts continually throughout the month.
Due to the lunar calendar’s origin, the Islamic lunar calendar is shifted every year by 10-11 days in accordance with the Gregorian calendar due to the lunar cycle.
While the fast is observed from sunrise to sunset, it is not the only element of Ramadan. There are also certain activities that should be avoided during the month of Ramadan. Such activities include gossiping, cursing, lying, arguing, etc.
Ramadan is not only an opportunity to abstain from food and impure thoughts. It is also the ideal time to recite the Quran and perform Salah (Namaz) during prayer times. Ramadan is also the time to improve your understanding of Islam.
Muslims take help from apps, such as the Muslim Pro app, to know the exact time for prayers. Such apps also inform about the exact times of ‘Sahur’ and ‘Iftar’ as well in case you are travelling or residing in a Non-Muslim country.
There are two scenarios in which one may break the fast: intentionally or unintentionally. Muslims do not lose their fast solely because they forget they are fasting and have a drink or eat some food between sunrise and sunset.
Once they have realized what they have done, they should not be concerned as long as they continue to fast. Definitely, one of the most interesting Ramadan facts since it proves Sawm’s leniency.
An individual who deliberately breaks the Ramadan fast for no good reason is required to fast in replacement. As for breaking a day of fast by having a sexual relationship with one wife, its expiation is observing an additional 60 consecutive days. They must pay Kaffarah if they are not able to fast for 60 days.
A Kaffarah contribution is similar to a Fidya donation in that it provides food to the hungry, but the amount paid for Kaffarah is considerably greater.
10 Interesting Facts to Know about Ramadan
- Ramadan is a month during which Muslims are prohibited from eating and drinking in daylight. Moreover, any type of sexual relationship, smoking, or indecent behaviour is forbidden during the fast.
- It is commonly remembered that the Prophet Muhammad received the first revelation of the Quran during the month of Ramadan.
- Ramadan begins 11–12 days earlier than the previous year as it is based on the lunar calendar, not the Gregorian. The Gregorian calendar adjusts to Ramadan’s position approximately every 33 Islamic years.
- There are five pillars of Islam, and Ramadan is one of them. The other four pillars are Salat, Shahada, Zakat, and Hajj.
- During Ramadan, fasting is required of all adults, with the exception of some. The exceptions are those who are elderly, ill, persons travelling, pregnant, nursing, and diabetics. Any person suffering from chronic illness and women who are menstruating are also exempt from fasting.
- It is not mandatory for children to fast during Ramadan until they attain puberty.
- During Ramadan, if someone gets sick and is unable to fast, they can make up the fast after they have recovered.
- Ramadan is a time of fasting between sunrise and sunset. Muslims typically consume a meal of pre-fasting called “Sahur” before breaking the fast with a date when the sunsets. This time is called Iftar.
- Ramadan is a month of giving and generosity. During this month, it is extremely rewarding to conduct charity and show benevolence. Muslims recognize this as a time for humility, simplicity, and remembering those less fortunate. During the month of Ramadan, many people decide to donate to charity. Among those who contribute to the cause, some give regularly, some volunteer to assist with one of the many campaigns, and some participate in fundraising efforts.
- Muslims living in polar regions can fast for a longer period each day since daylight can last up to 22 hours per day.
The End of Ramadan
The facts about Ramadan and Eid are now complete, now that we have a thorough understanding of Ramadan fasting. Let’s talk about what Muslims do once Ramadan ends.
Eid ul-Fitr celebrations begin with the sighting of the 10th new moon. In celebration of their month of self-control and restraint, Muslims gather together for prayers, feasts, gift exchanges, and celebrations.
By Muhammad Shoaib