Ramadan is coming

photo by Hina Baloch

Ramadan, Arab Ramaḍān, in Islam, the Muslim calendar’s ninth month and the holiest month of fasting. It starts and ends when the new moon appears. The fast is meant to bring the faithful closer to God, and to remind them of the less fortunate suffering. Muslims often spend the month donating to charities and feeding the hungry. For Muslims, Ramadan is a season of introspection, common prayer (ṣalāt)  in the mosque, and Qurān meditation.

With fasting, prayer, and faithful intent, God forgives the past sins of those who observe the Holy month. Millions of Muslims around the world are expected to mark Ramadan’s beginning on Thursday, a month of intensive prayer, dawn-to-dusk fasting and nightly festivities. Hilal (the crescent) corresponds with the new moon astronomically. Because the new moon signals the beginning of the new month.

Muslims generally can reliably predict the beginning of Ramadan, but when Ramadan starts, geographic variations that shift. Ramadan is a time to separate oneself from earthly desires and reflect on one’s prayer. During Ramadan, many Muslims dress more conservatively and spend more time in the mosque than at any other time of the year.

Muslims abstain from eating and drinking during the whole month of Ramadan from dawn to dusk, but these are not enough to resist food and beverages during the daytime. In the course of the day, couples must abstain from sexual activity and Muslims should not indulge in road rage, swearing, combat, or gossip. Muslims eat what’s generally called “suhoor,” a pre-dawn meal of strength foods to get them through the day, to prepare for the fast.

Muslims usually break their fast like the Prophet Mohammed did around 1,400 years ago, with a drink of water at sunset and some dates. The first drink of water is the most awaited moment of the day by far. After a prayer at sunset, the family and friends enjoy a big feast known as “iftar.” The ifṭār usually begins with dates, as was the custom of Muhammad, or apricots and water or sweetened milk. There are additional prayers offered at night called the tawarīḥ prayers, preferably performed in congregation at the mosque.

Throughout these prayers, the entire Qurʾān may be recited during Ramadan’s month. Exceptions are available for children, the disabled, the sick, pregnant or menstruating women and visiting individuals, which may include athletes during tournaments. Ramadan’s end is preceded by intensive devotion as Muslims try to get their prayers answered during “Laylat al-Qadr” or “The Night of Destiny.” It is this time, which comes during Ramadan’s last 10 days, that Muslims believe that God sent the Angel Gabriel to the Prophet Mohammed and revealed the first against the Quran. Those last days, some dedicated Muslims go into reclusion, spending all their time in the mosque.

Some of the tweets of Muslims anticipating:

 

 

The conclusion of the Ramadan fast is observed as Eid al-Fitr, the “Feast of Fast-Breaking,” which is one of the Muslim calendar’s two main religious holidays (the other, Eid al-Adha, marks the close of the hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca that all Muslims are supposed to make at least once in their lives if they are financially and physically capable). Eid al-Fitr is very elaborate: children wear new clothing, women wear white garments, special pastries are baked, presents are shared, parents’ graves are visited and people assemble in mosques for family meals and pray. Ramadan timetable for Muslims in Dublin, Ireland.

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