LifestyleWhat is Ramadan and why do Muslims fast on these dates?

What is Ramadan and why do Muslims fast on these dates?

Muslims around the world are prepared to observe the holy month of Ramadan, a period of deep spiritual reflection and fasting that takes place every year.

The festival begins with the sighting of the crescent moon, which usually appears one night after the new moon.

This 2024, Ramadan is expected to begin on Sunday, March 10.

One of the five pillars of Islam, along with faith, prayer, charity and pilgrimage, Ramadan commemorates the first revelation of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad, a sacred moment honored with abstinence between sunrise and sunset.

Here we review what the ritual means to Muslims, why worshipers fast, and why the date changes from year to year.

Which is the Ramadan?

Chapter 2, verse 185 of the Quran explains the purpose of the ritual: “The month of Ramadan is the month in which the Quran was revealed; a guide for humanity, and clear proofs of the guide and the criterion (of good and evil).

“And whoever of you is present, let him fast the month, and whoever is sick or on a journey, let him fast other days.

“Allah desires your peace of mind; He does not wish affliction for you; and that you should complete the period, and that you should magnify Allah for having guided you, and that perhaps you can be grateful.”

It is said that the word of Allah was revealed to the prophet on “Laylat al-Qadr” (the Night of Power).

The Tablets of Ibrahim, the Torah, the Psalms, the Gospel and the Quran were sent on the 1st, 6th, 12th, 13th and 24th of Ramadan, according to faith.

When is Ramadan?

Ramadan will begin on the night of Wednesday, March 22, and will end on the night of Friday, March 21, when Eid is celebrated.

Why does the date vary every year?

The Islamic calendar is lunar, meaning that each month begins with the astronomical new moon.

As the lunar months are shorter than the solar months, the Islamic calendar does not correspond to the Gregorian calendar followed in the West, meaning that Ramadan occurs about 11 days earlier each year.

The period takes place during the ninth month of the Islamic year. Its precise date also varies from country to country by about a day, depending on when the moon is observed.

Followers of the faith are encouraged to check the precise sunrise and sunset times at their local mosques to ensure that the fast is not inadvertently broken prematurely.

Why do Muslims fast?

Ramadan is a holy month dedicated to prayer and reading the Quran. Generosity and giving to worthy causes and neighbors are encouraged.

It is a time of reflection, self-control and warmth intended to bring Muslims closer to Allah, hence the abstinence from earthly distractions such as food, water, tobacco and sexual activity during the day.

Before dawn, a modest meal is taken, known as “suhoor”, and after nightfall another meal known as “iftar” is taken, but nothing is consumed in between, not even water.

Fasting during Ramadan is a requirement for all Muslims from an early age, in some cases as young as 10 years old.

Those who are too ill to fast may be exempt if participation would put their health at risk, as may the elderly, people with mental illness, those traveling, and pregnant, lactating, or menstruating women.

What is Eid Al-Fitr?

Eid al-Fitr is the “festival of breaking the fast” and marks the end of Ramadan each year.

Muslims wish each other a happy Eid during the celebrations by saying “Eid Mubarak” and gather with family and friends to celebrate and pray together.

The festival can last up to three days, and as part of the celebrations, people can make donations to charity.

Daily Global Times
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