Are you celebrating Ramadan this year? Or are you just curious and want to learn more about what Ramadan is? If you’ve answered yes to any of those questions then you’re in the right place! The clock is winding down to the celebration many Muslims look forward to every year - RAMADAN!
Ramadan is said to be one of the most sacred months of the year for Muslims, as it is during this time that Allah revealed the first verses of the Quran to Mohammed. Many also believe that the gates of heaven are opened and the gates of hell are closed when the month of Ramadan starts. Ramadan starts on a different day each year because it is determined by the phases of the moon, with the new crescent moon marking the beginning. This year’s Ramadan begins the evening of April 13th and ends the evening of May 12th.
There are five pillars of Islam: Zakat (giving to charity), Shahadah (the profession of faith); Salat (daily prayers); Sawm (fasting during Ramadan); and Hajj (a pilgrimage to Mecca). Every Muslim is expected to carry out each one of these duties.
Sawm is the practice of fasting during Ramadan. Muslims are not allowed to eat or drink anything (even water!) from dawn to sunset. This is done so Muslims can starve their physical needs to attend to their spiritual needs. Fasting is a way for Muslims to practice self-control and focus on Allah. Food isn’t the only thing Muslims don’t partake in during Ramadan. There is also refraining from sexual intercourse and any unclean thoughts and actions towards others. All of which aids in growing spiritually and cleansing one's spirit from its impurities.
Before the sun comes up, Muslims will eat a pre-dawn breakfast called a suhoor, to give them sustenance throughout the day. When the sun goes down, the Iftar comes out! This is the light meal that breaks the day’s fast, usually consisting of something sweet such as dates. A larger evening meal is usually enjoyed in the company of others and it is an honor to be invited to share Iftar with others.
After the month of fasting and spiritual discipline, there is a three day holiday called Eid Al Fitr. Muslims celebrate by decorating their homes, enjoying large feasts and exchanging presents. How do you celebrate Eid Al Fitr?