Ramadan (Guest post by L.W Age 13)
The phrase means “May peace be bestowed on you”, it is widely used in the religion of Islam, the Middle East or any other place where Arab cultures or Islamic traditions lie. In the month of Ramadan, we all seek repentance, forgiveness, patience and peace. Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic lunar calendar. The Muslims were commanded by Allah to fast for 29-30 consecutive days from dawn till sunset. Every sane and healthy Muslim, man or woman, must fast. Obligatory fasting starts at the age of twelve until you are too old or sick to perform.
We usually wake up dawn, or at the call of the Fajr azaan to eat a light meal to start the day called, suhoor. It is recommended to get up and consume at least a glass of water, for waking up and eating/drinking at this time has its blessings. We also must take an oath that we are fasting for the sake of Allah.
During the day, it is expected of an ideal Muslim to perform extra prayers we call, Sunnah along with the 5 daily other prayers.
Quran is to be read a great deal more in this month.
Later on, when the Maghrib call for prayer is read aloud, muslims sit at the table reading a duaa, or a grace prayer before starting the meal. They break their fasts traditionally with dates and a glass of water. Then they continue to eat what else is being served, but the aim is to keep it a light meal.
At the end of the day, when it is time for the final prayer of the 5 prescribed, Isha, the obligatory prayer is read, followed by extra prayers called Taraweeh. This is a practice of the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.).
It is usually read in pairs of two, the most common being 8-20 Rakahs.
The last 10 days of the holy month are very important, it is believed that the first verses of the Quraan was sent down to the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) by the angel Jibreel or Gabriel in this time. We know not of exactly which date, but it is in the last 10 days. We are advised to stay up all night, reading extra Quran and prayers.
Another event during the last 10 days is Itikaf, a person is to stay in a room or usually the mosque spending all day with Allah, by reading more Quran and performing more prayers. It is obligatory when one has made his intentions that it must be done, but other wise it is voluntary.