Ramadan 2022: Popular Questions About Ramadan The Islamic Holy Month

Shakira
Post : February 20, 2022

Ramadan is the Islamic holy month during which the Muslims observe their fast.   

Although most of us are familiar with the term" Ramadan" and "Fasting”. There is quite a bit to unpack and many people may have specific questions and curiosity about what this special month and how Muslims conduct it.   

  1. What exactly is Ramadan all about?  

Ramadan is the most sacred month to all Muslims; it is known as the month of mercy, forgiveness, and protection. Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said, "When Ramadan begins, the gates of Paradise are opened."   

The Muslims believe that the Holy Quran was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad on "the night of power," also known as Laylat-al-Qadar in Arabic. Thus, the Muslims fast during the month of Ramadan to commemorate the revelation of the Al-Quran.   

During the entire month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn till dusk, abstaining from food and water.   

Ramadan is a month of spiritual cleansing and purification for Muslims. The main purpose is to increase their connection with God and engage in more religious activities such as extra prayers, giving of charity (sadaqah), and reading the Holy Quran. Muslims are also advised to remain generous, calm, patient, and forgiving than usual.   

Although these activities sound a bit tedious, they tend to elevate oneself. It is a season of festivities during which friends and families come together. Muslims eagerly expect the arrival of Ramadan every year and celebrate the end of it with a ceremonial festival called Eid-al-Fitr, which lasts for 3 days.   

     

  1. How does fasting work?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Fasting is the fourth out of five pillars in Islam, and all Muslims must fast during the month of Ramadan.  

 However, those who are physically or mentally ill and on medication, prepubescent children, or the elderly, pregnant and menstruating women, and travelers are exempt from fasting.   

 The practice of fasting deals with several spiritual and social purposes. It reminds man of dependence on God for sustenance and the frailty of humans.

 It provides an example of how it feels to be in hunger and thirst, which increases compassion towards the poor.   

 Eating and drinking while fasting is prohibited, but there are other activities that a Muslim should abstain from during fasting. This includes involving sexual activities, avoidance of smoking cigarettes, and chewing gums from dawn to sunset.   

Furthermore, Muslims should refrain from swearing, gossiping, arguing, being cruel, jealous, and selfish. They should give up music and movies during Ramadan, mainly so they can focus that time on learning more about the religion, giving to others or helping family and friends..

These are habits that a Muslim should follow daily, but one should be extra careful during Ramadan.Thus, it becomes a practice. So Ramadan is like a practice session for long-term habits.

  1. How is a Day in a Muslim's life during Ramadan like?   

Muslims are to wake up before dawn to partake in a predawn meal called Suhoor. The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "Take Suhur as there is a blessing in it." 

Muslims usually take in high protein food and ample water as it'll have to last till sunset. 

Muslims are to go on with their daily routine after that, which may involve going to work, school, and other day-to-day activities.  

When the evening call of prayer (Maghreb) is called out, Muslims can finally break their fast; it is known as Ifthar. Most Muslims usually break their fast with dates and water.    

  1. Diets during Ramadan

 Although fasting sounds like a great way to lose weight for most people, it can go the other way around. 

The reason is higher caloric intake in one go once you break fast than usual and less physical activity to burn it.  

Additionally, if one follows a balanced diet and consistent lifestyle, Ramadan would be a great time to lose all those extra calories.   

  1. Why does Ramadan fall on different dates every year?  

 The dates of Ramadan change every year because Islam uses a Lunar calendar. This means each month begins with the sighting of a new moon. Therefore, a Lunar calendar has 11 days less than a standard Gregorian calendar.   

This is why the Ramadan date always varies every year as the Islamic lunar calendar moves backward approximately 11 days every year.  ut this does not mean that every Ramadan starts with the beginning of a new moon. Back in sixth-century Arabia, astronomical calculations weren't as precise as they are today, so people went by what they could see with the naked eye.  This method is a bit chaotic since different locations spot the moon during different times. This led to different groups starting and ending Ramadan on different days.   

 This has a huge impact on when and how people experience Ramadan every year. If Ramadan falls during winter, it is much easier to observe the fast as the days are shorter, and as it is cold outside, one does not feel thirsty.   

 However, if it falls during the summer, Muslims will have to face the severity of the heat, and fasting becomes tough.

  In some parts of the world, Muslims may have to fast for 20 hours or more during the summer. In a few regions, the sun never really sets during summer; hence Islamic religious leaders have decided that these Muslims can either fast along with their neighboring countries or during Mecca, Saudi Arabian time.      

  1. Are there differences in observing the fast-during Ramadan between the Shia and Sunni Muslims?   

 There are no major differences between Shia and Sunni Muslims during Ramadan, and both communities observe the fast during the holy month of Ramadan.

However, there are a few minor differences - Sunni Muslims break their fast at sunset when the sun is no longer visible, but there is still light in the sky.  Shia Muslims wait until all light has disappeared from the sky before breaking their fast.  

Shia commemorates the martyrdom of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the first "legitimate" imam (leader) of Shia Islam. Thousands of Shias make a pilgrimage to the tomb of Ali Talib every year.

 Although Sunnis admire Ali as one of the four Caliphs in Islam, they do not commemorate his death or make a pilgrimage to his tomb. 

  1. How to be supportive towards your Muslim friends during Ramadan?  

According to a study, in 2020, there will be around 1.9 billion followers of Islam worldwide, making up about 24.7% of the world's population. 

During the month of Ramadan, especially the Muslims who live in a non-Muslim country expect the help and support of their non-Muslim friends. 

Non- Muslims do a great job making Muslims feel welcomed, and they're extra caring, and supportive during Ramadan. But here are some more steps you can take in order to make sure your Muslim friends are comfortable and happy.  

  • Educate yourself. Muslims understand your curiosity on the topic and are happy to answer your questions, yes. But you need to understand that not every Muslim is educated on the topic. 
  • Please don't ask someone why they aren't fasting. There are various reasons as to why a Muslim may not be able to fast, you questioning them might make them feel uncomfortable.  
  •  You don't have to feel guilty about eating around someone who is fasting, and fasting is all about controlling desires. You don't have to hide your food from your Muslim friend who is fasting, but you can be conscious of the food you consume and, if possible, avoid eating around young Muslim children who are fasting.   
  • Host an iftar if possible. Iftar is the time of the day during which Muslims break their fast. It is similar to inviting your friend over for dinner but make sure the food you serve is halal.   
  • If you want to make your Muslim colleagues feel more welcomed, respected, and supported, you can fast solidarity. Although it is not a compulsion, you can express your support and respect towards them and their religion.   
  • Send them greetings and gifts. Wishing your friends using the terms "Ramadan Mubarak" at the beginning of Ramadan and sending them "Eid Mubarak" greetings and gifts on the day of Eid-al-Fitr (the Muslim festival marking the end of the fast of Ramadan) will delight your Muslim friends.   

Last but not least, you should never feel awkward learning something that you don’t know. For example, if you don’t know what Islamic financing means and how it works, you can ask us.

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