Dive into the rich traditions and practices of Ramadan with our top 10 facts. Discover the significance of fasting, the spiritual aspects of the holy month, and the cultural celebrations that take place worldwide. Gain a deeper understanding of this important time in the Islamic calendar and its importance to millions of Muslims around the globe.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting, prayer, and spiritual reflection. It is a time of self-discipline and increased devotion to God. Muslims fast from dawn until sunset during this month, abstaining from food, drink, and other physical needs. The fast is broken each evening with a meal called Iftar, and it is common for Muslims to gather with family and friends to share in this meal. Ramadan is also a time for increased charitable giving and acts of kindness. It is a significant religious observance for Muslims, and its observance is one of the Five Pillars of Islam.
1. Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars of Islam
The Five Pillars of Islam are the five basic acts of worship that are mandatory for all Muslims. They are Shahada (declaration of faith), Salat (prayer), Zakat (charity), Sawm (fasting during the month of Ramadan), and Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca). Ramadan is considered one of the Five Pillars of Islam because it is an obligatory act of worship that every able-bodied Muslim must observe. It is a fundamental part of Islamic practice and is seen as an important way for Muslims to demonstrate their devotion to God and their commitment to their faith.
2. Ramadan happens during the 9th month of the Islamic calendar
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which is a lunar calendar based on the cycles of the moon. The Islamic calendar is composed of 12 months, each with 29 or 30 days, depending on the sighting of the new moon. Because the lunar year is about 11 days shorter than the solar year, the dates of Ramadan shift forward by approximately 11 days each year according to the Gregorian calendar. This means that the month of Ramadan can fall during any season of the year, and its timing varies from year to year. However, it always occurs during the same month of the Islamic calendar, which is the ninth month.
3. During Ramadan Muslims fast
During Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn until sunset. Fasting is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, and it is obligatory for all able-bodied adult Muslims to fast during the month of Ramadan, unless they have a valid reason not to, such as illness, pregnancy, or travel. During the fast, Muslims abstain from food, drink, and other physical needs from dawn until sunset. The fast is broken each evening with a meal called Iftar, which typically includes dates and water, followed by a larger meal. The purpose of fasting during Ramadan is to develop self-discipline, self-control, and empathy for those who are less fortunate, as well as to increase one’s devotion to God and to attain spiritual purity.
4. The dates of Ramadan change every year
The dates of Ramadan change every year because the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar based on the cycles of the moon, whereas the Gregorian calendar used in most of the world is a solar calendar based on the cycles of the sun. The lunar year is about 11 days shorter than the solar year, which means that the Islamic calendar falls about 11 days earlier in the Gregorian calendar each year. As a result, the dates of Ramadan, which is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, shift forward by approximately 11 days each year according to the Gregorian calendar. This means that Ramadan can fall during any season of the year, and its timing varies from year to year. The exact dates of Ramadan are typically determined by the sighting of the new moon by religious authorities in each country, and the start and end dates of Ramadan can vary by a day or two depending on the location.
5. Muslims have a special meal before and after each day of fasting
During the month of Ramadan, Muslims have a special meal before and after each day of fasting. The pre-dawn meal is called Suhoor, and it is eaten before the start of the daily fast at dawn. The post-sunset meal is called Iftar, and it is eaten to break the fast at sunset. Suhoor is typically a light meal that provides the necessary nutrition and energy to sustain the body during the day of fasting. Iftar, on the other hand, is a more elaborate meal that often includes dates and water to break the fast, followed by a larger meal that includes a variety of dishes and traditional foods. It is common for Muslims to gather with family and friends to share in the Iftar meal, and it is also a time for increased charitable giving and acts of kindness. The pre- and post-fasting meals play an important role in the Ramadan observance, as they provide sustenance and social connections during a month of spiritual reflection and self-discipline.
6. The end of Ramadan is celebrated with a big celebration called ‘Eid ul-Fitr’
The end of Ramadan is celebrated with a big celebration called Eid ul-Fitr. This festival marks the end of the month-long fast of Ramadan and is celebrated on the first day of the Islamic month of Shawwal. Eid ul-Fitr is a time for Muslims to express their gratitude to God for the blessings they have received during the month of Ramadan, and to celebrate with family, friends, and the wider community.
The celebrations typically begin with a special prayer service held in mosques or other community centers. Muslims dress in their best clothes and gather to offer prayers and listen to sermons. After the prayer service, families and friends exchange gifts and visit one another’s homes to share in meals and festivities.
Eid ul-Fitr is also a time for charitable giving, and it is common for Muslims to donate money or food to those in need. In many countries, public celebrations are held, including parades, fairs, and other events, and the holiday is a national holiday in many Muslim-majority countries. Overall, Eid ul-Fitr is a time of joy and celebration, marking the end of a month of fasting, reflection, and spiritual growth. It is an important occasion for Muslims worldwide, and the festivities are a testament to the strength and unity of the Muslim community.
7. The practice of fasting during Ramadan began in the year 624 CE
The practice of fasting during Ramadan began in the year 624 CE, shortly after the Prophet Muhammad migrated from Mecca to Medina. The practice of fasting was already established among Jews and Christians, and it was introduced to Muslims as a way to purify the soul, demonstrate obedience to God, and develop self-control and discipline. The Quran, the holy book of Islam, instructs Muslims to fast during the month of Ramadan, and it is considered one of the Five Pillars of Islam, which are the fundamental practices of the religion. Since then, the practice of fasting during Ramadan has been observed by Muslims around the world, and it has become an important tradition and symbol of the Islamic faith.
8. Ramadan remembers the month the Qur’an was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad.
Ramadan remembers the month the Qur’an was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. According to Islamic tradition, the revelation of the Qur’an began during the month of Ramadan in the year 610 CE, when the Prophet Muhammad was meditating in a cave outside of Mecca. The Angel Gabriel appeared to him and instructed him to recite the words of the Qur’an, which he did. This event is known as the Night of Power or Laylat al-Qadr, and it is believed to be one of the most significant events in Islamic history. The revelation of the Qur’an continued over a period of 23 years, and it is considered the most important religious text in Islam. During Ramadan, Muslims commemorate the revelation of the Qur’an by engaging in increased prayer and spiritual reflection, and by reading and reciting passages from the Qur’an. The month of Ramadan is a time for Muslims to deepen their understanding of the Qur’an and to strengthen their relationship with God.
9. During Ramadan you can greet someone by saying “Ramadan Mubarak”
During Ramadan, it is common to greet someone by saying “Ramadan Mubarak.” This Arabic phrase translates to “Blessed Ramadan” or “Happy Ramadan” and is used to wish others a positive and fulfilling month of fasting and spiritual reflection. Other common greetings used during Ramadan include “Ramadan Kareem,” which means “Generous Ramadan,” and “Ramadan Tariq,” which means “Blessed Ramadan Night.” These greetings are a way for Muslims to express their well wishes to one another during this important month of the Islamic calendar.
10. The special prayers recited on Eid al-Fitr are called Salat al-Eid
The special prayers recited on Eid al-Fitr are called Salat al-Eid. These prayers are typically held in open spaces, such as parks or fields, or in large congregational halls, and they are attended by Muslims of all ages and backgrounds. Salat al-Eid consists of two rak’ahs (units of prayer) and includes additional takbirs (recitation of “Allahu Akbar”) and supplications. The prayers are led by an imam, and they are followed by a sermon that emphasizes the themes of gratitude, forgiveness, and unity. After the prayers, Muslims exchange greetings and congratulations and share food and sweets with one another. Salat al-Eid is an important part of the Eid al-Fitr celebrations and serves as a reminder of the importance of communal worship and solidarity in Islam.