Ramzan is the most important & significant month for the muslim communities all over the world. Muslims observe fasting throughout the entire month & perform contemplation on the blessings they’ve got from Almighty and offer prayers to showcase their gratitude to Him. The month can have 29 or 30 days depending on the movement of the moon since it follows the lunar calendar. Ramzan holds a great significance for the muslim Ummah since Prophet Muhammad (SWT) received the very first verses of the holy Quran from Allah during this month.
During Ramzan, all the adult muslims engage themselves in fasting according to the Islamic rules. They keep themselves away from all sorts of foods & drinks from sunrise till the dusk. However, if you have a valid reason for not observing fast, you can eat whenever you want but the reason must be approved by Islamic Sariah.
Fasting is not merely associated with restraining yourself from foods only, it demands a spiritual connection with Almighty which is ensured through offering prayers 5 times a day, listening to religious lectures, or the recitation from the holy Quran.
Rituals performed in Ramzan
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Muslims believe that their holy Quran was sent to the earth during the last ten days of Ramzan. When they got it, they praised Almighty as a whole. Prophet Muhammad (SWT) is believed to announce a one-day grand festival to strengthen the integrity of muslim brotherhood across the world.
While sending the verses of Quran, He also provided instructions to allocate a part of one’s wealth for the poor if he is free or the owner of resources worth a Pital. This is a type of charitable gift, known as ‘Sadaqah Fitr’ among muslims. It’s a certain amount of money or goods that’s given to the needy people around you, especially in your neighborhood. However, Sadaqah Fitr is applicable for you only when you are able to pay it with your excess money & you’re not running on a debt.
If you wish to donate food grains instead of money, you’re allowed to do that as well. In that case, you have to give them a specific quantity mentioned in the Quran. According to the holy Quran, you can donate 3.5lbs of whole grain wheat or it’s flour per head. The amount is 7lbs if you want to give barley.
When can you leave fasting?
There is a wide range of approved reasons to stay free from fasting in Ramzan. The Almighty is kind enough to the elderly & sick people, children below a certain age, and the women having menstruation or pregnancy. They’re excluded from this ritual throughout the entire month.
However, if any of these reasons fit your situation, not keeping the fast is valid for you still you should maintain courtesy while eating in front of someone who is on fast that time. In some Middle Eastern countries, the United Arab Emirates, or Saudi Arabia, there is a rule of complaining against an adult muslim eating foods in public during Ramzan. In that case, he might be charged a specific amount as the fine or he might have to go to jail if he is accused of something more serious.
End of Ramzan
Muslims wait for the night of ‘Laylat-al-Qadr’ also called the ‘night if destiny’ to get their prayers answered by the Almighty. It’s believed that Laylat-al Qadr can be on any odd date that’s in between 21st to 29th of Ramzan. Conservative muslims make special prayers, recite Qurans on all the odd dates of the last ten days. Once the narrow line like the crescent moon appears in the sky, muslims stop fasting on a succeeding day and mark it as the day of Eid-ul-Fitr.
Eid is the biggest festival for muslims all over the world. People wear new clothes & attend the Eid prayer in the morning. Children receive new clothes, gifts or cash from their parents or seniors. Eid-ul-Fitr is usually celebrated on 3 consecutive days followed by the ending of Ramzan.
Photo by Aswin Anand