For those less familiar with the holiest month in the Islamic calendar, here’s what need to know about Ramadan:
What is Ramadan?
For Muslims, Ramadan is a holy month dedicated to prayer, Quran recitation, introspection and fasting during the sunlight hours.
Ramadan is a month of the Islamic calendar in which Prophet Muhammad is said to have revealed their holy book – the Qu’ran – to Muslims.
Ramadan is one of the 12 months in the Islamic calendar. The dates are based on the lunar cycle so they change each year.
Ramadan is a month of fasting during the daylight hours from dawn to sunset. This was stated as a ruling of Islam in 624 AD. Meals are served before dawn and after sunset.
The meal before dawn is called sufur, the one after sunset is known as iftar.
The task of fasting is considerably more demanding when Ramadan falls in the summer months, as there are many more hours of daylight and warmer temperatures can be taxing on the body.
Fasting is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, the mandatory acts that form the foundation of Muslim life.
Not only do Muslims abstain from food and drink, it is also a time of deep contemplation and prayer to Allah, and also charitable generosity.
What is the purpose of fasting?
Islam is a religion which sees its followers help the poor and less fortunate throughout their lifetimes.
While hungry and thirsty throughout the fasting day, Muslims have a constant reminder of the suffering of the poor in less fortunate parts of the world.
Ramadan allows worshippers to concentrate their minds on devotion to their faith through prayers, expressing gratitude, seeking forgiveness and helping the needy.
In some Muslim countries, it’s a crime to fail to observe the fasting.