An Introduction to Ramadan
Ramadan is the month where Allah revealed the Holy Quran to Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) so that he could convey the message to mankind. It falls on the ninth month in the Islamic calendar and it is the Holy month when Muslims fast from dawn until sunset. Ramadan begins by the sighting of the new moon which is announced by the Ramadan Crescent sighting committee. This year it is due to start around the 17th or 18th of June 2015
Ramadan is a special month for all Muslims who spend the time remembering those who are less fortunate. During the month every Muslim should practice “saum” – or abstinence – which means they refrain from eating, drinking, smoking, cursing, arguing, lying, fighting and any sexual activity from sunrise to sunset.
Fasting is a test of a Muslim’s sincerity to his or her belief and is intended to develop piety or consciousness of Allah. Not all Muslim’s are required to fast. Children below the age of puberty, the sick, the elderly who are too weak and the mentally challenged are exempt from fasting during Ramadan.
At the time of breaking ones fast, it is recommended that one do so by eating three dates and drinking water just as Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) prescribed. Once the sun has set, Iftar or the breaking of the fast, begins! After the sunset (maghrib) prayer, the entire family gathers together to enjoy good company and traditional food consisting of harees, fareed, biryarni, soup, dates, fruits and sweets.
During Ramadan Muslims perform extra prayers called “Tarawih” after the Isha (evening prayer) and in the last ten days of Ramadan some perform a retreat called “Itikaf” where they remain in the Mosque spending their time reading the Holy Quran and praying
Ramadan comes to an end when the crescent moon has been sighted. Once Ramadan comes to an end, Muslims begin the celebrations of Eid Al Fitr, which is known as the Festival of Breaking the Fast.