Muslims all over the world would be celebrating the start of Ramadan from the 13th of April. It involves fasting for a month with believers not taking part in eating or drinking and sexual intercourse between sunrise and sunset.
Ramadan is the Arabic name for the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, and It is considered one of the holiest Islamic months. It’s also one of the Five Pillars of Islam. These are five principles which Muslims believe are compulsory acts ordered by God. Muslims believe that some of the first verses of the Islamic holy book, the Qu’ran, were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad during the month of Ramadan. Extra emphasis is placed on reciting the Qu’ran at this time.
Fasting is considered to be an act of worship, which enables Muslims to feel closer to God and strengthen their spiritual health and self-discipline.
During Ramadan, Muslims aim to grow spiritually and build stronger relationships with Allah. They do this by praying and reciting the Quran, making their actions intentional and selfless, and abstaining from gossiping, lying, and fighting.
How does this work in practice?
Muslims have an early morning meal before dawn, known as suhoor or sehri, and then break their fast after sunset for the evening meal, called iftar or fitoor.
Ramadan is also a time when Muslims are encouraged to give to charity, strengthen their relationship with God, and show kindness and patience, and also during this month, believers also head to the mosque for an additional night prayer called Taraweeh. This is only held during Ramadan.
Who can Fast?
Fasting should only be done by people who are in good health, which exempts some Muslims which includes: Those who are sick or ill and whose health will be affected by fasting, Children, although some may begin to practise fasting from a young age, Pregnant and breastfeeding women, Menstruating women, and Travellers.
How and When Does it End?
The end of Ramadan is marked with a celebration called Eid al-Fitr where many Muslims attend Eid prayers at the mosque and then enjoy a large meal with friends and family. It’s also very common for believers to exchange money and gifts with each other.
Eid falls on the 12th of May.
Source : BBC/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC