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Ramadan in Islam – All you need to know about the holly month

Each year, millions of Muslims from all around the world fast from sunrise to sunset. This religious ritual lasts for a month. Indeed, it is the sacred month of Ramadan. It is always a splendor to watch such event celebrated by every Muslim from every corner of the world. This makes you wonder, what makes this month so special for Muslims? In this article, we will provide you with what you need to know about this holy month.

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan, the most sacred month of the year for Muslims, refers first and foremost to Sawm /fasting which is the 4th tenet of Islam. Fasting Ramadan comes right after Shahada, prayer, and zakat. Contrary to popular belief, Ramadan is not only about fasting from sunrise to sunset. Rather, it refers to a total abstinence from any sort of misconduct and ill doing. Besides food, water, and sexual activity, Muslims are also required to refrain from being negative or toxic such as bad mouthing people, envying them, and others.

During this holy month, Muslims devote a greater amount of time to religious activities such as reading the Quran, giving Sadaqah (donations), and performing additional Salah (prayer). This way, they can strengthen their faith, grow closer to Allah and seek His forgiveness and blessings. As it is also a month of inner reflection, Ramadan plays an important role in boosting Muslims’ energy and improving their mental and spiritual health.

When does Ramadan take place?

Ramadan is the 9th month of the Hijri (also known as Islamic/ Muslim) calendar. Hence, each year, Ramadan is expected to start at the end of Shaban (the preceding month) based on its number of days (29-30). Unlike the Gregorian (usual) calendar, the Hijri calendar varies from 354-355 days depending on the sight of the moon as it is a lunar calendar. After 29-30 days of fasting, Ramadan ends with the celebration of Eid al-Fitr.

Why do Muslims fast during the month of Ramadan?

Although we all experience and celebrate Ramadan in various distinct ways, it teaches us all some crucial life lessons and virtues which can be summarized as the following:

  • First of all, Ramadan teaches us patience. As we Muslims fast for hours a day working, studying and doing other daily activities, we naturally develop patience. Even tolerance is naturally acquired since we get rid of all form of toxicity and negativity towards ourselves and others. This is all thanks to the magic of Ramadan.
  • Ramadan also teaches us discipline. When we refrain from eating, drinking, and other pleasurable activities, we as humans are experiencing a powerful yet beneficial form of discipline.
  • Another wonderful lesson taught in Ramadan is humility. With delaying the pleasures of life comes a great sense of humility. We learn to appreciate things more and how to be grateful for them.
  • Empathy and sympathy are also highlighted during the holy month of Ramadan. We come to understand the poor and the unfortunate more while fasting and depriving one’s self from the basic needs of life like food and water.
  • Another highlighted virtue is compassion. As we cultivate sympathy for others, we feel more compassion for them. Many Muslims give charity and donations for the poor during this holy month more than usual. This is the beauty of being a Muslim in Ramadan.
  • The blessings of being a Muslim: during this sacred month, Muslims tend to read the Quran more often. This fascinating book is full of divine wisdom, eye-opening life lessons and morals. Hence, we get to feel how Allah (SWT) gifted us with so many blessings and so much grace.  Ramadan helps us appreciate the privilege of being a Muslim. 
  • For last but not least, reflection and self-improvement. The more we learn about the Quran, the prophets and the teachings of Prophet Muhammed (pbuh), the more we get the urge to be a better person. Thus, it only makes sense Muslims strive to better themselves and nourish their connection with Allah Almighty during this sacred month.

Facts you need to know about Ramadan

Ramadan is a month full of wonders and refreshing spirituality. Here we gathered for you the most crucial facts you need to know about it:

  1. The Quran was first revealed to Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) during this holy month. As Allah (SWT) says: “The month of Ramadhan [is that] in which was revealed the Quran, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion…” (Surah Al Baqarah 2:185).
  1. As previously mentioned, Ramadan is a pillar of Islam. Allah (SWT) says: “O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:183).
  1. Muslims must make the Niyah (intention) of fasting before actually fasting. Intention is crucial in acts of worship including Sawm. Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) said: “The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended” (Sahih al-Bukhari).
  1. The date of Ramadan changes every year since if follows the Hijri calendar which is a lunar calendar (it depends on the cycle of the moon).
  2. Muslims generally take Suhour also written as Suhur or Sahur (a pre-dawn meal) before the fasting begins. It is a tradition to help Muslims maintain their energy throughout the day. It is preferable to be a well-balanced and healthy meal.
  3. Children (before the start of puberty), and old people are not required to fast. A sick person unable to fast is also permitted to not fast. They can make up the days when feeling better. Allah (SWT) is the most merciful.
  4. Women when in a state of menstruation (hayd) or lochia (nifas) are also excluded from fasting. They are expected to make up the missed days nonetheless later on.  
  5. Muslims usually break their fast with dates. It is believed Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) did so. Thus, many Muslims worldwide follow this custom.
  6. Eid el-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan. Another happy celebration to end such a sacred month.
  7. Most importantly, in Ramadan, the rewards of good deeds are multiplied. That is why Muslims are encouraged to be kinder, more generous and helpful to others.

Ramadan is a period of cleanse and purification to both the body and soul. Allah (SWT) blessed us Muslims with this sacred month to reflect, repent, and strengthen our bond with Him. During Ramadan, a lot can be learned and acquired from good habits to virtues and morals. It is more than recommended to always try to make the best out of it and make as many good deeds as possible. May we all become better versions of ourselves during this sacred month and keep it going.

May Allah accept our good deeds.