Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which is significant as Allah sent Arch-angel Jibril (Gabriel) to Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) with the first verses of the Quran. Therefore, it is considered the holiest month in the Islamic calendar.
1. During Ramadan, dawn is indicated by Fajr prayer (morning prayer) and dusk by Maghrib prayer (prayer at sunset).
2. The word ‘Ramadan’ is derived from the Arabic word ‘Ramdaa’, which means intense scorching heat and dryness. It is said that Ramadan burns away sins of all the Muslims participating.
3. The Islamic lunar calendar has 12 months, similar to the solar calendar, but it is 11 days shorter than the solar calendar. The 11-day difference as a causes the first day of Ramadan to move ahead in the calendar month each year, and Ramadan can occur in a different time phase each year, and keeps changing every year.
4. The Quran was first revealed to the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) on a night during Ramadan. This is known as The Night of Power.
5. Scholars believe that Islam and its duties following a lunar calendar is a form of justice and mercy from Allah, as the months move across the different seasons.
5. This rotation leads to duties, such as fasting and Haj to fall in different seasons and during better weather and so making it easier for people all around the world.
6. Fasting is one of the Five Pillars (duties) of Islam.
7. Fasting during the month of Ramadan was made obligatory in the second year of Al Hijra. Al Hijra means ‘the migration’, which is when Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and his followers migrated from Makkah, his hometown, to Madinah to escape his harm and torture.
8. Fasting in general, is meant to humble oneself and help increase one’s moral discipline as well as serve as a reminder of the unfortunate conditions of those people who are not as blessed with a lifestyle as we are
9. Ramadan’s fast is not just a food fast; those who fast should abstain from food, drinks and sexual activities. Any negative behavior such as lying, using foul or insulting language and backbiting is forbidden in general, but such behavior during Ramadan would be a great sin.
10. During Ramadan, Muslims aspire to become more pious, generous, be good to others and exercise self-discipline.
11. Ramadan is about caring, sharing and getting closer to Allah spiritually. Muslims try to spend more time praying, saying Dua’a (invocations), reciting the Quran and giving more to charity during the month, as the rewards of good deeds in the fasting month are multiplied.
12. During Ramadan, special evening prayers called the Taraweeh are held. These are only conducted in Ramadan after the Isha prayer (Evening Prayer).
13. The Ramadan spirit encourages people to get together for meals. Iftar, the meal had after breaking the fast, is usually a get-together meal, shared with family and friends whenever possible.
14. To stay healthy while fasting, drink a lot of water during non-fasting hours, especially before Fajr (pre-dawn meal).
15. Traditionally, one should break their fast with five dates and water, as dates are an immediate source of energy and potassium.
16. Fasting has health benefits as it helps the body cleanse itself. Fasting detoxifies the body and speeds up the healing process as the energy usually used for digestion is diverted towards metabolism and strengthening the immune system.
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