Ramadan is the most sacred month of the year in Islamic culture. Ramadan is a month of intense spiritual rejuvenation with a heightened focus on devotion, during which Muslims spend extra time reading the Qur’an and performing special prayers. In Ramadan, Muslims fast from food and drink during the sunlit hours as a means of learning self-control, gratitude, and compassion for those less fortunate. During Ramadan, Muslims fast, abstain from pleasures and pray to become closer to God. It is also a time for families to gather and celebrate. This month is full of celebration and festivity as the Muslims immerse themselves in reading the Quran and Duas and spending maximum time doing Dhikr. The Muslims fast the whole month as it teaches them the true meaning of perseverance and tolerance.
When it is celebrated
Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, which is a lunar calendar based on the cycles of the moon. Observances begin the morning after the crescent moon is visibly sighted, marking the beginning of the new month.
The common practice during Ramadan is fasting from dawn to sunset. The pre-dawn meal before the fast is called the suhur, while the meal at sunset that breaks the fast is the iftar. Muslims also engage in increased prayer and charity during Ramadan. Ramadan is also a month where Muslims try to practice increased self-discipline.
Fasting: the fourth pillar of Islam
Fasting during Ramadan is the fourth of the Five Pillars of Islam. These pillars, or duties, form the basis of how Muslims practice their religion. According to Islam Guide, the Pillars of Islam are:
Shahada: faith in the Islam religion,
Salat: pray five times per day facing the direction of Mecca,
Zakat: give support to the needy,
Sawm: fast during Ramadan, and
Hajj: make the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once during one’s lifetime.
During this time, they refrain from eating food, drinking, smoking and engaging in sexual relations. A Muslim family usually rises about 5:00 a.m. before the first of dawn and eats a modest, breakfast-like meal called suhur. After the meal, the family performs the morning prayer, then, the family goes back to bed or begins the day. Particularly during the long summer months, people often take a nap in the late afternoon after work or school. At sunset, family members break the fast with a few dates and water, and depending on the culture, other light foods such as soup, appetizers or fruit. This is referred to as iftar which means “breaking the fast.” After performing the sunset prayers, the family eats dinner. Inviting guests to break the fast or going to someone else’s house for iftar is very common in Ramadan. Many families then go to the mosque for the night prayer and a special Ramadan prayer called taraweeh. After completing their prayers, the families return home around 11:45 p.m. During this month, Muslims are not only supposed to refrain from eating and drinking during the stipulated timing but they are also required to curb all negative emotions like anger and prove themselves to be the perfect Muslim.
At the end of Ramadan, Muslims celebrate one of their major holidays called Eid al-Fitr or the “Festival of the Breaking of the Fast.” This year, it will be held on June 4th, 2019. Children traditionally receive new clothes, money or gifts from parents, relatives and friends. A special prayer and sermon are held the morning of Eid day, followed by a community celebration usually in a park or large hall. Food, games and presents for children are important parts of the festivities, as friends and family spend the day socializing, eating and reuniting with old acquaintances.
There are certain situations when it is optional to fast during the month of Ramadan, however, the fast must be made up at a later date. This is the rule for the sick or for the one who is traveling. Women who are experiencing post-childbirth bleeding or are in their menses are not allowed to fast until their bleeding ends. For those who cannot fast due to a permanent illness or old age, they have to pay fidiya (feeding one poor person) for each day that they have missed.
You can also get details of the other festivals….Click on the link below