Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is the period in which Muslims fast from dawn till sunset. Ramadan has 29 or 30 days; the difference is based on the physical sighting of the new moon which marks the beginning and end of the holy month.
What is the significance of Ramadan ?
This is the month in which Muslims believe that God revealed the Quran (the Muslim Holy Book) unto the Prophet Muhammad (via the Angel Gabriel) when he was forty years old. Ramadan is also one of the five pillars of Islam and is an obligatory duty for all Muslims who have reached the age of puberty. Muslims who are ill, sick, disabled, travelling long distances or have medical conditions that mean they cannot fast are excused from doing so.
What’s the point of Ramadan ?
Ramadan is a time for Muslims to ask for forgiveness of their sins, show appreciation to God and be grateful for all the blessings they have.
What do Muslims do during Ramadan ?
Muslims abstain from all types of food and drink from sunrise until sunset. During this holy month there is an emphasis on engaging in the following:
- Donating money to charity.
- Partaking in more non-obligatory prayers in the hope of praying on the night of power*
- Partaking in the night prayers (Taraweeh).
*The night of power is considered to be the night that the Angel Gabriel passed on the direct words of God (the Quran) to Muhammad. There is debate about which of the last 10 days or Ramadan the Night of Power of falls on, but general consensus is that it is the 27th of Ramadan.
What does a typical day in Ramadan look like ?
Muslims wake up before dawn to consume their pre-fast meal also referred to as Suhoor. People who are fasting must stop eating and drinking by time the morning prayer (Fajr) begins.
There is no explicitly prescribed routine that Muslims need to follow after they have prayed the morning prayer, other than the abstinence from eating, drinking, having sex, swearing, gossiping and other evil deeds. Some choose to go back to sleep in order to be fresh for the day ahead, whilst others may stay up are read passages of the Quran.
Muslims ensure that the rest of their cumpulsury prayers are completed and in each in their own special way get ready for sunset so they can open their fast and begin eating again (Iftar).
Once people have opened their fast, Muslims will get ready to go to the mosque to attend the night prayers (Taraweeh).
Typically once the night prayers have finished people come home and try to gain some rest and eat Suhoor before sunrise of the next day.