For Muslims, Ramadan is a sacred and highly anticipated month. A dedicated month for worship, internal reflection, charity, community togetherness and of course, fasting.
Ramadan is the most spiritual month of the Islamic lunar calendar in which Muslims refrain from food, drink and sexual intercourse between dawn and dusk. Muslims will try their best to eradicate bad habits and strive harder to perform more good deeds and give in charity, with the aim of building a deeper connection with their Creator.
For Muslims, Ramadan is a sacred and eagerly awaited month. A dedicated month for worship, internal reflection, charity, community togetherness and of course, fasting.
The month of Ramadan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. (Quran 2:185)
Ramadan is often just associated with fasting, but equally significant is our connection to the Qur’an, the holy book of the Muslims. For it was in the month of Ramadan that the Qu’ran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him), specifically on Laylatul Qadr (the Night of Decree).
Thus, Muslims spend the days fasting and nights in prayer and will try to spend as much time as possible in listening to and reciting the Qur’an, aiming to complete at least one full reading during Ramadan.
The Qu’ran mentions Ramadan on several occasions:
“The month of Ramadan (is the month) in which the Qur’an has been sent down as guidance for mankind containing clear signs which lead (to the straight path) and distinguishing (the truth from falsehood).” (Q 2:185)
Oh you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you many learn piety and righteousness” (Q 2:183)
Fasting is no easy undertaking. It teaches restraint, the ability to control worldly desires and affords us to instead spend that time in prayer and contemplation. While our usual focus is on (often over!) feeding the body, to the detriment and suppression of the soul, a month spent in fasting and worship nourishes our souls to allow us to be the best version of ourselves, hopefully for the rest of the year.
Fasting in Ramadan is a unique opportunity to develop spiritually and gain strength and control over our egos, appetites and desires which tend to dominate our lives when unchecked. It is a true blessing and gift from God, enabling us to become more conscious, compassionate and grateful human beings.
All Muslims are obligated to partake in the fasting of Ramadan except:
– children below the age of puberty
– the elderly
– the sick
– pregnant, breastfeeding and menstruating women
– and those travelling
For those who are physically able, missed fasts need to be made up as soon as possible and ideally before the advent of the next Ramadan.
Ramadan is one of the five pillars of the Islamic faith, alongside:
· The Shahadah – the belief in Allah and Muhammad (PBUH) as His Final Messenger
· Salah – the 5 daily prayers
· Zakat – the annual alms given by Muslims to those in need
· Hajj – the once in a lifetime pilgrimage to Mecca
The two meals that Muslims eat each day in Ramadan are the:
· suhoor, the pre-dawn meal – Muslims wake up in the early hours to eat a light and nutritious meal to help keep them going for the rest of the day
· iftar – the closing of the fast, at sunset
The length of a fasting day ranges from country to country – in the UK the longest fasts will be when Ramadan falls in the summer and can be about 20 hours, while the shortest fasts when in winter can be as little as 8 hours. The lunar calendar enables Muslims to experience Ramadan in every season and appreciate the unique nature of each!
‘Every action a son of Adam does (during Ramadan) shall be multiplied – a good action by ten times its value, up to 700 times’ (Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), narrated by Abu Hurayrah (RA).
During Ramadan, acts of charity are encouraged in the strongest terms for Muslims who have the means, no matter how small. As a result, charitable giving skyrockets in the Muslim community at this time of year.
‘Whoever gives food to a fasting person to break his fast, shall have his sins forgiven, and he will be saved from the Fire, and he shall have the same reward as the fasting person without his (the latter’s) rewards being diminished at all.’ (Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), narrated by Ibn Khuzaymah)
Donations in Ramadan are largely focused on giving to those stricken by poverty in countries with large Muslim populations, in order to alleviate their hunger at this special time.
You can support our Global Ramadan Appeal today and ensure the less fortunate are taken care of by donating:
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