Ramadan

Ramadan is the most sacred month of the year for Muslims. It is generally known as the month when Muslims do not eat during the day but it is actually very much more than fasting. Ramadan also focuses on self-purification and rejuvenation. In addition to fasting, people will spend the 30 days (sometimes 29 days, depending on the moon) of Ramadan reflecting on their faith. The month of Ramadan is very important for the Muslims, Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) said, "When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of heaven are opened and the gates of hell are closed and the devils are chained." 

 


Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five main pillars (or duties) of Islam, along with the Testimony of faith (Kalima), Prayer (Salah), Charitable giving (Jakaat), and making a pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj). The practice of fasting serves several spiritual and social purposes: to remind you of your human frailty and your dependence on God for sustenance, to show you what it feels like to be hungry and thirsty so you feel compassion for (and a duty to help) the poor and needy, and to reduce the distractions in life so you can more clearly focus on your relationship with God. During Ramadan, Muslims abstain from eating any food, drinking any liquids, smoking cigarettes, and engaging in any sexual activity, from dawn to sunset. Fasting also means avoiding the bad behaviors and temptations. So, one has to start cutting back on gossip, practicing patience or controlling his/her temper, curb negative thoughts and emotions like jealousy, swearing or any kind of social habit that may end up hurting others. Not following these may ‘invalidate' the fast. During the month, some people may also choose to give up or limit activities like listening to music and watching television, often in favor of listening to recitations of the Quran.


Ramadan helps the member of a family to come closer. As a family wake up well before dawn to have their first meal together and then after sunset they come together again for ‘Iftar' when they break their fast. Neighbors and friends come closer to each other as sometimes people invite their loved one for a meal during Ramadan. 


Other than the five obligatory prayers, there is a special prayer called ‘Taraweeh'. It is prayed after the night prayer. It revolves around reading the entire Quran over the course of Ramadan (Although it is not mandatory). Ramadan shows the Muslims that, it is possible to control bad temptations and come closer to God. Many Muslims start practicing Islam on a regular basis after a month of fasting in Ramadan. A good deed done in the month of Ramadan is more precious in the eyes of God. Which is why every Muslim should embrace Islam more in this month and be grateful to God for having the gift of Ramadan.

Author: Abdul Rahman Munif   

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