The time is upon us. Tonight marks the start of the blessed month of Ramadan this year. Around the world, 1.5 billion Muslims, or those who submit to the One Almighty God without making partnership with Him, observe this sacred month with prayer, charity, and fasting.
But why is it so sacred?
Well, in the Islamic calendar, Ramadan is the ninth month of the year. The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, which means it’s based on the cycles of the Moon, rather than the cycles of the Earth going around the Sun.
Ramadan is the month when our beloved Prophet Muhammad, peace and God’s blessings be upon him, received the first revelation of the Noble Qur’an from Almighty God. This marked the beginning of his prophethood and the beginning of revelation of the Qur’an. That’s why it’s so sacred. Ramadan is sometimes even called “the month of the Qur’an.”
During this month, we as Muslims observe fasting during daylight hours. We are forbidden to eat or drink during daylight hours from dawn to dusk, for the whole month. Once the sun sets, though, we can eat.
Sick people, pregnant women, young kids, people traveling on a journey, and certain others are exempted from fasting, though.
It is very hard. And that’s part of the point of fasting. As the day goes on, our bodies urge us to eat and drink. We must use self-restraint to avoid that. So the fast is like a practice run for having restraint in times of temptation during the rest of the year.
However, Ramadan isn’t just about food. During this month, all bad practices are meant to be avoided, even more so than the rest of the year. So much so that even complaining is enough to invalidate one’s fasting. Some of the Prophet’s companions even went as far as to say how not complaining was actually much harder than not eating or drinking. And many of them lived in the hot desert climate of the Arabian Peninsula.
Another important aspect of Ramadan is charity. In fact, one of the other reasons of fasting is to remember those who have less than us. We as Muslims are supposed to give as much as we are able to in charitable giving. In fact, zakat (mandatory charitable giving) is one of the Five Pillars of Islam that every Muslim is required to follow if able to do so. And zakat is collected during Ramadan, oddly enough.
In the beginning of a day in Ramadan, we as Muslims get up early. Even before the crack of dawn. We eat a pre-dawn meal called “suhoor.” As soon as the crack of dawn appears, marking the beginning of the prayer time of Fajr, we start the fast. And it lasts until the sun sets. We aren’t even allowed to drink water until then.
And then, at the end of each day of fasting, we as Muslims break our fast with water, milk, and sweet fruits called dates. We then pray the sunset prayer known as Maghrib, and then eat dinner together known as “iftar.” In fact, it is actually forbidden to pray Maghrib before breaking our fast! We have to break it first and then we can pray. The reason is so that we won’t think too much about food when we are supposed to be focusing on worshiping Almighty God.
There is much more to the month of Ramadan. This is why Daily Bit of Truth is dedicating a whole week to Ramadan information very soon. And without further delay, have a blessed Ramadan!
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