Ramadan is the holy month of fasting for Muslims. The time and date of this festival is calculated according the position and shape of the moon. The Islamic calendar mark this festival as the purification of one's soul and body. The followers of Islam celebrate the sacred month by keeping fast, indulging in careful thoughts, offering namaz five times a day, refraining from all activities considered as sinful in the holy book, and giving alms to poor.
Ramadan is an Arabic word that has the meaning of 'parched thirst.' It is an expression or quoting the hunger and thirst experienced by the fasting people during this month. The word reminds people about practicing sacrifices and generosity. Staying away from impure thoughts, uttering bad words, stealing, and getting into sexual activities are taboo during this period.
Significance of Ramadan
This festive period is the holiest month according to the Islamic calendar. It tests the patience of the religion practitioners in all aspects. It is especially a command or order of the prophet to go without food from dawn to dusk. The legend says that it was during this period when Muhammad received a message from the heaven and the holy Quran through angel Gabriel. All the teachings of the almighty Allah was collected and transferred into the holy book. Hence, the God observes this month as the revelations.
Billions of Muslims in the world celebrate this festival. People abstain from drinking, smoking eating and any sexual activity. All their attentions are focused behind purifying their souls. By doing so, they can feel the sacrifices given by the preachers. Celebrating this month is like following the order of the Allah. The holy month is more than just fasting. It pure meaning is to refrain from all that could spoil your soul and heart.
The Islamic calendar is based on the solar calendar. Hence, the ninth month of the year is observed as the Ramadan month. It is also for this reason that the date of this month keeps fluctuating each year. The main essence of this holy period is the revelations of the holy Quran. It is mandatory for adult and young to follow fasting, pregnant women, kids, old and people suffering from medical problems are exempted. By imposing the decree of fast among his followers, Prophet Muhammad wants to remind about poor who cannot get to eat one meal of the day.
There is no change in the routine. Men go to work, women are busy with household chore, and kids attend regular school. People offer namaz or prayer to Allah either in the mosque, or at home. Even those who do not get time during the rest of the year compensate by giving compulsory attendance for special prayers in the mosque. People are more patient and wiser at this time. They wake up early in the morning, much before the sunrise, have a bath, dress in new clothes and proceed to the mosque. It is allowed in to have a small portion of meal before sunrise so that they can go without food until the sunset. Mostly, a few pieces of dates and a glass of milk is the meal known 'Suhoor.'
People are also particular about their attire. Mostly, they wear white colour kurta and pyjama to resemble purity of thoughts and simplicity. Even though they have taken their bath, they have to clean their feet, hands and face in a small pond built inside the mosque. A special prayer is conducted in the mosque in the morning, which is called 'Do Rakat Namaz.' As it is mentioned in the Quran to be generous and care for those less fortunate, people indulge in donating clothes, money, and grains to the poor after the prayer.
The rest of the day goes on as usual. However, many take a short break from their busy schedule and rush towards the mosque after they listening to the announcement of the commencement of prayer. When the Sun has set, people break their fast. The after sunset meal is known as Iftar that includes dates, pastries, and fruits.
Custom and Rituals of Ramadan
Allah summons Muslims during this holy month for fasting and purifying their body and soul through worship, generosity and reflection. It is an experience of life and a lesson to lift the spirit of being a Muslim. It teaches to follow the practice of tolerance, forgiveness and patience. This holy month culminates after the appearance of the new moon on the last day. The next day is then celebrated as Eid, which starts with prayer in the mosque. Before the namaz, people recite Takbir. The Takbir and Namaz are then followed by Zakat al-fitr that is an act of charity. People embrace each other for three times and greet "Eid Mubarak."
Ramadan provides opportunity to all who believe in Allah to follow his orders and be closer to Him. This festival is special and sacred to the Muslim world because they received the revelations of holy Quran.