Thursday, May 19, 2011

What is Ramadan

As we know that Ramadan comes in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and it is considered as one of the holiest month of the year. The Qur'an (2:185), said that it was in the month of Ramadan that it was revealed. The Holy Prophet Muhammad has told us that messages were revealed to him by God which then became the holy book Quran in 610 AD.

The main thing is that Ramadan reminds us that the Quran was sent down as assistance for civilization and also a way that would help us distinguish between good and evil. Another verse from the Quran (97:1) says that it was discovered on the evening of determination that Muslims detect during the night of 26 to 27 Ramadan.

The holy month begins with the observation of the crescent, the night after the new moon and lasts for 29 or 30 days depending on the lunar cycle. As the Quran has mentioned, Muslims should see the new moon with the naked eye before the start fasting. Practices have proved that two witnesses must confirm before the Qadi, if satisfied, announces the news to the mufti who lets all the Muslims start fasting. It has become customary for the Arab Middle East to accept, with doubts, the decision of Cairo. If the New Moon is invisible, then after calculating 30 days from the month of Sha'ban, the fast begins the day after the last day of that month. Ramadan all over the world is a month of fasting in the Muslim world. The month of fasting ends with the same procedure. Fasting provides Muslims a guideline that teaches them how to discipline and control themselves from hunger and thirst which is told by Prophet Muhammad. So, fasting is a form of devotion and a time of empowerment.

While from sunrise to sunset, Muslims give up food, drink and all physical pleasures. It does not mean that no food is taken. Every day two meals are taken in the month of Ramadan. The souhoor begins every day before dawn and iftar breaks the fast after sunset. When the sun sets every day the fast is opened with dates and water. The main meal can be anything. There are no restrictions, cheeses, mutton, beef, or chicken anything that is simple. Every family has traditional food, to enjoy. Sweet dishes or desserts are an important part of the diet. Usually women at home prepare the meals and special dishes for Ramadan dinner.

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