Why Is Ramadan Important: Dos and Donts
|Food to Eat and Avoid in Ramadan Month|
|What is Ramadan: Interesting Facts, Traditions and Celebrations|
|Ramadan - Most Important for Musli. Photo: Getty Images|
Ramadan Mubarak! If you ask your friend out for lunch this month and they say no, don't take it personally. They may be celebrating the month where Muslims fast from dawn to dusk.
Here's what you need to know about Ramadan — including some basic do's and don'ts.
When Is Ramadan?
According to Saudi Arabia, Ramadan 2023 will begin on Thursday, March 23, and end on Thursday, April 20, 2023. Friday, April 21, 2023, is anticipated to be the date of Eid al Fitr. This is a provisional date, as the actual start of Ramadan 2023 depends on the visibility of the moon.
Ramadan lasts 29 or 30 days, depending on the year. The holiday of Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan and the beginning of the next lunar month.
Origin of Ramadan
|Ramadan is a month full of social festivities such as communal dinners, group prayers, and other gatherings|
One of the months in the Islamic calendar is Ramadan, which was also observed by ancient Arabs. The Arabic word for "scorching heat," "ar-ramad," is where the name "Ramadan" comes from. The Quran, the Islamic scripture, is believed to have been revealed to the Prophet Muhammad by the angel Gabriel in 610 CE. The "Night of Power," or Laylat Al Qadar, when this revelation reportedly occurred is associated with the holy month of Ramadan. Fasting is a central tenet of the monthlong celebration of the Quran's revelation that Muslims observe every year.
To Muslims, the Quran's 114 chapters represent the unmediated revelation of Allah. Hadith, or accounts by Prophet Muhammad's companions of his thoughts and deeds, are complementary to the Quran. As a whole, they constitute Islam's sacred canon.
Why Is Ramadan Important for The Muslim Community
|Even though Ramadan involves abstaining from food and water, it is a social festival that centres around coming together for a feast.(Supplied)|
One of the five pillars of Islam that shapes a Muslim's life is the sawm, or fasting during the month of Ramadan. The Arabic word for fasting literally means "to refrain," from anything bad you might do, think, or say.
Each day, from sunrise to sunset, the physical fast is performed. Those who observe Ramadan do so by eating two large meals: the suhoor before dawn and the iftar after sunset. Both meals are shared, but the iftar is a time when extended families get together and the less fortunate are welcomed into mosques to eat.
The month of observance
Muslims dedicate their fasting hours during Ramadan to improving their connection to God and expanding their souls. They accomplish this by regularly praying and reciting verses from the Quran, acting with purpose and altruism, and avoiding negative behaviors like backbiting, lying, and fighting.
From dawn until dusk every day this month, Muslims fast and abstain from all forms of intoxication and sexual activity. Except for those who are ill, pregnant, traveling, elderly, or menstruating, fasting is required of all Muslims. Fasting that has been skipped can be made up at any time during the year, either all at once or one day at a time.
Muslims break their daily fast with others in the community at communal meals. Suhoor, the morning meal eaten before the first prayer of the day (fajr), typically takes place around 4:00 a.m. Once the Maghreb prayer, said at sunset, is finished, usually around 7:30, the evening meal, iftar, can begin. Muslims eat dates at both suhoor and iftar because the Prophet Mohammad broke his fast with a handful of dates and a glass of water. Dates, a common food in the Middle East, break a fast by providing the body with sugar and a wealth of nutrients.
The last day of Ramadan is marked by Eid al-Fitr, also known as the "festival of breaking the fast," which begins with morning prayers attended by worshippers all over the world. Over the course of the three-day celebration, friends and family come together to pray, eat, give and receive gifts, and remember loved ones who have passed on. Carnivals and large prayer gatherings are also held in some urban areas.
The global coronavirus pandemic this year has caused many mosques to close and altered many people's plans for suhoor and iftar meals. Although festivities may be muted this year, many will still observe this centuries-old custom as a time for religious observance and introspection.
One of Islam's five pillars is philanthropy, known as zakat. As part of their faith, Muslims are expected to make regular donations (zakat), and they also have the option of making one-time donations (sadaqah). Some Muslims choose to show their faith by giving especially large amounts to charity during Ramadan, an act known as sadaqah.
|Photo: National Geographic|
The Islamic holiday of Eid Al-Fitr (also spelled "Eid") celebrates the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. The Islamic holiday of Eid begins on the first day of the lunar month of Shawwal and can last up to three days.
Salatul Fajr is a prayer said first thing in the morning by devout Muslims. They then need to go through the motions of getting ready for an important event by brushing their teeth, taking a shower, and donning their finest attire and a splash of their most expensive fragrance. It is customary to wish people "Eid Mubarak" (which means "Blessed Eid") or "Eid Sain" ("Happy Eid"). Like during Ramadan, Eid is a time when special prayers are recited in mosques and acts of charity are encouraged.
Ramadan do’s and don’ts guide
|Photo: Getty Images|
With only a few days to go, it's time to start thinking about how to make the most of the holy month of Ramadan.
For 30 days, beginning with sunrise on the first day of Ramadan and ending with sunset on the last day, Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, and smoking in public.
After breaking their fast at iftar at sunset, Muslims typically sleep until sunrise. Continue doing this for the next 30 days. One should not only refrain from eating and drinking during Ramadan, but also from engaging in negative behaviors. The trials of hunger and thirst are meant to teach us restraint, gratitude, and perseverance. The purpose of Ramadan is, at its heart, a spiritual one: drawing nearer to God.
DO embrace the community spirit and wish a blessed Ramadan to Muslim friends and colleagues.
DON’T eat, chew, drink or smoke in public during the hours of daylight, even if you’re not Muslim.
DO accept food and drink when offered during Iftar, it is a sign of respect and friendliness.
DO stay calm. Work might be a little less productive and people who are fasting might be a little tired, but be patient with everyone this month.
DON’T play loud music as it may offend those who are fasting. Playing music through your headphones is allowed as long as it is not audible to the people around you.
DON’T dress inappropriately or wear tight fitting clothes – modesty is key.
DO try fasting for a day. It’s a good way to understand your own needs and self-control as well as a way to understand what your Muslim friends and colleagues are going through this month.
DON’T worry if all these rules feel like a lot. Ramadan is a peaceful and serene time that lasts a month so try and enjoy it while it’s here.
Can I eat in front of someone fasting?
During the day, fasting Muslims are not offended if you break their fast with food and drink.
When they break their fast for dinner, you can join them even if they declined your lunch invitation.
Keep in mind that a big part of celebrating Ramadan is inviting someone to break their fast with you.
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