Ramadhan Kareem🌙

By Hannah Dania

The holy month of Islam: blessings upon blessings.

Ramadhan, a month-long period of fasting, prayer, and reflection observed by Muslims around the world. A little history: The word Ramadhan originates from the Arabic root ‘ar-ramad' or ‘ramida', which means scorching heat or scarcity of rations. It was in this month that the first chapters of the Quran were revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings upon him).

During this sacred month, Muslims (who have reached puberty and who are able to) abstain from food, drink, and other physical needs from sunrise until sunset, which is signaled by a prayer. Although fasting is compulsory, there are many who are exempt from observing it such as the elderly, the sick, those who are traveling, and women who are pregnant or menstruating. Because fasting is an act of worship, they are required to make up an equal amount of days later in the year before the next Ramadhan comes again. However, those who are unable to do so must feed a needy person for each day that has been missed.

The fasting period varies from city to city, country to country, day to day. This is because it follows the exact time the Sun rises and sets in a certain location, and it changes in all locations, every single day - sometimes even only by a minute or two. Most Muslims rise before dawn for an early meal known as Suhoor, prior to the Adhan, the first prayer of the day when the Sun rises. Then, they abstain from eating or drinking until the sun sets. The meal that is prepared to break the fast is called Iftar and according to tradition, the Prophet Muhammad broke his fast at the end of each day with a date, a custom that is widely practised amongst many Muslims.

Ramadhan is also considered a time of spiritual cleansing, self-discipline, and heightened devotion to God; hence, it is the perfect time for Muslims to renew and purify their faith. It allows an opportunity to engage in acts of charity, kindness, and community service. Muslims believe that the month of Ramadhan provides the greatest rewards of the year for their good deeds and aspirations. This is rooted in part on the belief that during this month, the gates of heaven are open.

Muslims also pay Zakat during the month, which is the third pillar of Islam, requiring Muslims to give to the needy and poor. Those who can afford to pay this generally do so during the month of Ramadhan although Zakat can be paid at any time during the year.

Last but not least, many Muslims spend the final 10 days of Ramadhan in solitude, or Itikaf, for prayer and meditation in quest of Lailut ul-Qadar, also known as the Night of Decision. According to Islam, it marks the anniversary of the night when the Prophet Muhammad received the first verses of the Quran. It is also said that on this night, people's fate for the coming year is decided, and many people use this night to pray to God. It is said to be more rewarding to spend this night in prayer than a thousand months of devotion.

May we enter this month of Ramadhan in safety, faith, and peace ✨

Photo by Rauf Alvi from Unsplash.

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