Ramadan is the holiest month in Islam, where Muslims refrain from eating and drinking from dawn to sunset. Learn more about Ramadan with these 10 facts.
1.Fasting during Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars of Islam
The pillar of Islam are five obligations that a Muslim must fulfill in order to be considered a believer. They are: Shahadah (declaration of faith), Salat - 5 daily prayers, Zakat (giving to charity), Fasting and Hajj.
Ramadan is the holiest month of the Islamic calendar.
These are some of the most common reasons why fasting during Ramadan is very important in Islam:
- It’s an act of worship that was prescribed to us by Allah (swt)
- Being grateful for what you have and not focusing on what one does not have
- Learning self-control and discipline
- Fasting teaches patience, perseverance, and spirituality
- Fasting allows Muslims to empathise with those who do not have enough food to eat
2. Muslims must abstain from food, drink, and sexual activity from dawn to sunset during Ramadan
Muslims are expected to abstain from food and drink as well as sexual activity from dawn to sunset during Ramadan.
This is a time of contemplation and fasting for Muslims. Ramadan is not only about abstaining from food, drink, and sex but also about giving up bad habits like smoking or swearing. Muslims are expected to use this month of fasting to cleanse themselves spiritually by refraining from things that they enjoy in order to get closer to Allah (swt).
3.Muslims with chronic health conditions or disabilities can be excused from fasting
If someone is unable to fast due to having medical conditions, they don't have to. If fasting makes their medical condition worse, they definitely don’t need to fast. If they skip their medication and that will hurt them, they don’t need to fast and they must take their medication as needed.
Self-infliction of pain is not allowed in Islam. We have to stay safe and healthy. We can always nurture the spiritual connection through other means during Ramadan.
Always talk to your doctor!
4.Those who are traveling, pregnant or breastfeeding are also not required to fast, as long as they make up those days later in the year if they're able to do so, or feed a needy person for each day missed by them.
This is because they may need more energy and sustenance than usual to make their journey or sustain their children and fasting may endanger their health.
5.Children are also exempt from fasting but should learn.
Fasting becomes obligatory when the kids hit puberty around the age of 13 or 14, that age would be different for each kid. But it doesn’t mean they don’t fast before that. Some kids start practicing and doing half day fasts or even a couple of hour fasts as they learn about the holy month of Ramadan.
There’s no one size fits all. Some kids are ready, capable and willing to fast around the age of 10.
6.The dates of Ramadan change every year
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which can last as long as 29 or 30 days based on the sighting of the moon. The Islamic calendar follows a lunar cycle, so Ramadan moves back approximately 10-11 days every year.
The length of each month varies from year to year because the Islamic calendar is a purely lunar one and there are no leap years in it.
7.Muslims have a special meal before and after each day of fasting
Suhoor is the meal consumed early in the morning by Muslims before fasting at dawn before the morning prayer is called. Suhoor is supposed to sustain us for the remainder of our daily fast up until sunset.
The truth is good quality nutritious food will always give you the best quality fuel for your body. What you eat during Suhur can greatly affect how you feel throughout the day. During Ramadan it is more important than ever to stick to a well-balanced diet to give the body the nutrients it needs to keep up with the busy lives we lead in the 21st century.
Read: 4 HEALTHY SUHUR IDEAS
Iftar is the evening meal with which Muslims end their daily Ramadan fast at sunset. It is a time to reflect on the day, to pray and to enjoy food with family and friends.
It is as important to stick to a nourishing Iftar diet in order for us to replenish our bodies after a long fast. When our Iftar plate is full of fresh and healthy food we leave the table feeling light and comfortable rather than completely stuffed and that’s exactly what we should be aiming for to get the most health benefits during the month of Ramadan.
Read: 4 HEALTHY IFTAR IDEAS
8.The end of Ramadan is celebrated with a big celebration called ‘Eid ul-Fitr’
Eid ul-Fitr is celebrated by Muslims all over the world. It marks the end of Ramadan, a month of fasting and reflection.
The celebration begins with a prayer that is performed in congregation in a mosque or any other place of worship. After the prayer, people greet each other with "Eid Mubarak" and exchange gifts. The children are given money from their parents, grandparents and relatives to buy new clothes or toys as a way to celebrate the occasion.
9.Ramadan remembers the month the Qur’an was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be Upon him).
This is the holiest month in Islam because it commemorates when Allah revealed the first verses of the Quran to Muhammad. Muslims believe that this was a turning point in their history and that it was then that they became a community with a common direction, sense of purpose - the dawn of the ummah.
10.The intention for fasting can be made at any time of day before starting to fast.
Intention is a core part of the Islamic way of life. We start our fasts with a sincere intention to please Allah (swt) and follow his commands.