Ramadan: the holiest month of the year

Sharif McCurdy ’22

Ramadan is an important time of the year for all Muslims. Religious and non-religious, we all take part in the holy month of Ramadan, the 9th month of the Muslim calendar. During the month, Muslims abstain from eating and drinking from dawn until dusk.

As the Quran says, “The month of Ramadan is that in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights the new moon of the month, let him fast in it, and whoever is ill or on a journey – then an equal number of days. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend hardship and wants for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that to which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be guided” (Quran 2:185).

This was said to the Prophet Mohamed (peace and blessings be upon him), and in following what was asked of him, we continue this beautiful tradition. Muslims wake up early in the morning for suhoor (سحور): to eat around 4:30 in the morning and pray. Then we can go back to bed or continue on with our day.

When fasting, you are not permitted to be lazy or sit around all day and neglect your duties. You must continue on with your day, stay clean, and not complain. You should abstain from sinning of all kinds while fasting. You can also not have sex while the sun is out. If you are ill, pregnant, or on your menstrual cycle, you cannot fast.

You can also abstain from fasting if you’re on a journey, but with modern day travel and technology that is not usually necessary. If for any of these reasons you have missed a day of fasting, you can make up the day or days another time.

Iftar (فطور) is marked by sunset and signifies the fast ending, usually around 8:30 PM. It is tradition to break your fast with three dates and water. Then you must pray before having a light meal. The purpose of fasting is to teach Muslims sacrifice and understanding of those less fortunate.

The traditional Eid celebration feast

At the end of the month of Ramadan, there is a large celebration called Eid—a feast and three days filled with food, family, and prayer. Throughout the month, Muslims are encouraged to donate and pray as much as possible. Despite how it sounds, it truly is a great experience that most Muslims look forward to and enjoy.

Photo Credits: iStock/Getty Images (Candle, Eid Feast)

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