Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic calendar. Muslims across the globe fast during this holiest time of the year. ‘Ramadan’ comes from the Arabic word Ramidha or Ar-Ramad, which means “intense heat.” Just as heat burns anything that comes in its contact, Ramadan burns the sins of the believers. Thus, it is regarded as the month of spiritual purification. Observing the fasts during Ramadan is mandatory for all Muslims except children.
During Ramadan, Muslims abstain from food, drink, other physical desires, and foul activities from dawn to dusk. The fast begins with Suhoor (morning meal) and ends at Iftar (evening meal). And Muslims end this month of obedience with the festive celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr.
Every Muslim must practice the five pillars of Islam to preserve their faith. And fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam. Ramadan is a training period for Muslims to attain peity and practice withdrawing worldly pleasures. It is a time to reflect upon their relationship with Allah and strengthen it with spiritual growth. Ramadan encourages the spirit of humility, generosity, and self-discipline.
Moreover, Ramadan is an opportunity to empathize with the less fortunate brothers and sisters. Muslims show solidarity with their poor brothers and sisters and share their blessings. Ramadan is more than staying hungry for a fixed time period; it is a means for Muslims to attain righteousness and closeness to the Creator. Ramadan is also the month in which the first verses of the Quran were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad SAW.
Islamic calendar follows moon cycles, and each month begins with a moon sighting. Muslim countries determine the beginning and end of Ramadan based on moon sightings. Ramadan 2023 is expected to start on March 23rd, 2023, Thursday or March 24th, 2023, Friday. The fasting period lasts 29 or 30 days, depending on the lunar cycle. And the tentative date for Eid-ul-Fitr is Friday, April 22nd, 2023, or Saturday, April 23rd, 2023, Sunday. However, the actual commencement of Ramadan will depend on the ritual of moon sighting.
To spot the small sliver crescent of the new moon, it is necessary for the crescent to set after the sun, creating a dark enough sky. Moon sighters typically face west with an unobstructed horizon view after sunset to search for the new moon.
Individuals who observe the new moon are requested to provide testimonies, which are recorded and presented to the different official bodies to determine and announce the start of Ramadan in a particular country/region.
Muslims strive to make the most of Ramadan in the form of the following practices:
Recite Quran as much as possible, at least completing it once.
Offer nightly Taraweeh prayers.
Find and observe Lailat ul Qadr, called the ‘Night of Power’ in the last ten days of Ramadan.
Perform Itekaf, where Muslims go into solitude for a specific number of days, usually the ten last days of Ramadan, to worship Allah.
Pay Zakat, another one of the five pillars of Islam.
Make Zakat al-Fitr, a charitable contribution towards the less fortunate so that they can also enjoy the festivities of Eid-ul-Fitr.
Celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr, a celebration of successful observation of the commandments of Allah during the month of Ramadan.
As mentioned in the following verse in the Quran, some exemptions exist for not fasting.
‘So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast; and whoever is ill or on a journey then an equal number of other days. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship.’ Surah Al-Baqarah (2:185)
Here are the exemptions, but one must compensate for them by fasting the same number of days they missed for the following reasons:
Join 70,000 subscribers!