Ramadan, A month of Prayer Ramadan is a ninth month of the Islamic calendar (Sievert 6). The month of Ramadan is extremely important in the Islamic world because during this month Quran, which is the Holy bible in Islam, was revealed. Quran was sent down to earth from the heaven. It is a book, which is sent down to guide individuals, also known as “Declaration of direction and a mean of salvation” (Melizo 1). Ramadan is a word, which means heat, scorched ground and shortness of rations (Hartov 259). Ramadan lasts for a whole month and during this month Muslims are supposed to fast.
Ramadan is a month when Muslims concentrate more on their faith and prayer to God rather than on their everyday lives. During the Fast of Ramadan strict rules are imposed on Muslims that they have to follow. For instance, when Muslims are fasting they are not allowed to eat or drink anything. They cannot even drink water or chew gum. They are also not supposed to wear lipstick or brush their teeth while fasting, basically they cannot taste anything. Smoking and having sexual relations are also forbidden while fasting.
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Muslims can eat early in the morning before the sun rises known as “Suhoor” and after eating their meal they perform their first prayer known as fajr. The breaking of the fast is called “Iftar”, which takes place when the sun is down. The “Iftar” is broken with meal and the fourth prayer of the day known as Maghreb. After breaking the fast most Muslims go to visit their families and friends. Also, at night Muslims go to Mosque to read their last prayer of the day known as “Isha” and Tarawih, which is a prayer practiced by most Sunni Muslims.
Tarawih is a special nightly prayer when Muslims read the entire section of the Quran. There are thirty sections in the Quran and every night each section is read by Muslims so at the end of the month they have re-read the entire Quran. The fasting of Ramadan is designed for Muslims so they realize the pain of poor people and give out food to the homeless and people who cannot afford to buy food. This month makes one to be more charitable and help the needy. During this month Muslims also pay Zakat if they can afford it.
Zakat can be paid any time of the year but most Muslims pay it during the month of the Ramadan since it is the most blessed month of the year. During the month of Ramadan it is required for one to stay away from the evil and spent most of their time in remembering God. For instance, the good that is acquired in the month of Ramadan can be destroyed by five things such as the telling of a lie, slander, denouncing someone behind their back, a false oath and greed or covetousness (Melizo1). The fast can automatically break if an individual does any of these things.
The month of Ramadan is set up for Muslims to practice their faith and devote most of their time to God. This month helps individuals to do good deeds and when the month is over most people are still devoted to God and stay away from bad deeds such as telling a lie and they start performing their five pillars regularly. The five pillars are the duties that every Muslim must perform. In other words, every Muslim is supposed to pray five times a day called Salat, they are supposed to give money to the poor known as Zakat.
They are also supposed to perform Hajj at least once in a lifetime if affordable, which is a pilgrimage to Mecca. They are also supposed to fast during the month of Ramadan and most importantly they are supposed to believe on the Shahada, it is affirmation and a duty to recite the creed which means that “There is nothing worthy of worship save Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of God”(Melizo 4). In the month of Ramadan the first revelation occurred on the night of the 27th day of the Ramadan. This night is called the Laylat-al-Qadr, which means the Night of Power.
According to the Quran, this is when God determines the course of the world for the following year (Melizo 2). Every Muslim who is over the age of twelve is required to fast during the month of Ramadan and every Muslim who is over the age of seven is required to pray five times a day. Even though every Muslim is required to fast there are some individuals who do not have to fast. For instance, “sick people do not have to fast, mothers who nurse their babies also do not have to fast and old people who feel sick are not required to fast” (MacMillan 28).
If one is traveling, the fasting can be compensated later after the travel time. Even though sexual intercourse is prohibited while fasting one can have sexual relation when the fast is over, from dusk to dawn. When the girls are on their periods fasting is prohibited. Also pregnant women are exempt from fasting or a feeding mother. There are many benefits of fasting. For instance, fasts help one to learn how to tolerate and gain self-control and purify one’s soul from evil thoughts. The month of Ramadan helps one to stay positive and to do right things.
The Islamic calendar gets shorter every month with accordance to the lunar calendar, the Ramadan begins 11 -12 days shorter every year . For instance if Ramadan was January 20, this year next year would be January 9. The Quran regards human reason as a greatest gif of god to man. This is the only thing, which distinguish humans from other species. Thus fasting helps human reason to get rid of unruly feelings of lust, appetite and caprice. These feelings often enslave humans or control ones life.
Fasting is a way to get hold of these feelings and control them rather then letting them control the human. Following the right path of freeing one’s mind from food desires, sexual desires, lying, using bad words for a while gets a person back on right track of life. Fasting is a homeostasis of soul. It balances the life of a soul and mind. Fasting makes ones will power stronger and usually people are internally weak for the basic needs. Fasting enforces the practices on the people so that they become stronger in their will power.
Muslims are allowed to break the fast in certain exceptions. For instance, Muslims can break their fast if it is costing their health a huge damage. The fasting should be made up later before the next month of Ramadan. There is certain prayer to be said when breaking the fast and when keeping the fast. One is required to thank God for the food he gives us and appreciate it by heart, once the fast is broken. The fast devotes a positive feeling in most Muslims life and they start to view food as important.
The fast also helps one to realize the value of food and a feeling of not wasting food because it has precious value and is not available to everyone in this world The days that are most important in the month of Ramadan are the last ten days. These ten days are very special because Muslims try to come close to God during the last ten days by devotion and doing good deeds and staying away from things that are entertaining. The 27th day of the month of Ramadan is the actual night of power also known as Lalat-al-Qadr. On this day Quran was revelead to the prophet Mohammad (P. B. U. H).
This night is very special because the Quran states that this night is better than thousand months. Since this night is very special and the book that every Muslim follows was reveled, every Muslim spent their entire night in praying to God and asks for forgiveness from sins that they have committed. One of the most important things that every Muslim must do when keeping the fast and when breaking the fast is to make a certain prayer in their heart that the fast is kept in the name of Allah alone. This prayer is called niyyah, which means “intentions” (Klein 1). One should fast for God if an individual keeps fasts for other reasons such as diet then their fast is not accepted by God. The real “determination of the fast is equal in importance to the fast itself” (Klein 2). If one does not make the niyyah when fasting before the dawn then they have not fasted even if they followed all the other rules of the fast. The fasting in the Muslim world is extreamly important and you can say this because billions of Muslims around the world keep fasts and devote most of their time to God during the month of Ramadan. Fasting is a universal thing and many other religions practice it as well but it is most important to Muslims.
In other words, “Catholics give up meat for Lent and Jews fast during the holiday of Yom Kippur” (Klein 1). Most Muslims spend their time praying in the month of Ramadan because they know that the benefits for fasting in the month of Ramadan are huge. For instance, the nightly prayer and the reading of the Quran during this month brings an individual closer to God and by doing the prayer ones previous sins are forgiven and they will not be punished for those sins on the day of the judgment. Individuals pray a lot during the month of Ramadan because this month is the most forgiven month.
The fast in the month of Ramadan is not voluntarily thing it is obligated by God for one to fast in this month. This month is the most significant month of the year. It is known that during the month of Ramadan “the gates of paradise are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and all the evil and all the devils are chained” (Al-Istiqaamah 1). The month of Ramadan is not only important because it helps one to bring themselves closer to God but it also makes one more caring and makes one to feel sympathy for individuals who are less fortunate and cannot afford to buy food and clothes.
For instance, by keeping the fast in the month of Ramadan Muslims personally experience hunger and will most likely feel sympathy for the individuals who are poor and they will become more charitable. Also, when an individual cannot eat or drink food they will be most likely thankful to God for giving them the food and everything that they have. Fasting makes one to be thankful and appreciate for the food and the things that they have instead of having greed for more and more. The end of Ramadan is followed by the huge event called Eid-ul-Fitr. The Eid falls on the 29th or 30th day of Ramadan.
Eid-ul-fitr means festival of breaking the fast (Sievert 16). Eid-ul-fitr is celebrated differently in different countries with different culture, however they are have the same religion in which they rejoice them all together on this event as one. Food is denoted to poor people to have an equal share of happiness. New clothes, shoes and accessories are bought in every family that can afford. The individuals who cannot afford are most likely donated by the people who can afford. The Eid-ul-Fitr is an event of joy for accomplishing the fast and prayer in the month of Ramadan.
The kids are given money as a gift from adults for the big celebration . Gifts is exchanged between adults. This event is synonymous to the Christmas time. Today individuals celebrate this day and wear new clothes or clean clothes because Prophet Mohammad*(P. B. U. H) use to wake up in the morning on the Eid day and he use to take a full bath, clean his teeth, wear the best clothes that he had and wear perfume and give Zakat*. The month of the Ramadan is the most powerful month of the year because in this month the most important book was revealed.
Every Muslim follow the path of this book and learn how to read it in Arabic. The Ramadan is also important because it cleans ones soul and makes ones heart pure and clean. Gossiping and making fun of others is prohibited in the Islamic religion and during this month most Muslims stay away from lies and evil deeds because they know that if they gossip or even hurt someone’s feeling intentionally then they’re fast will not count and instead of getting rid of old sins new sins will be added to that individual’s life.
This month is also important because it brings one closer to God. Bibliography Books 1. Dianne M. Macmillan, Ramadan and Id al-Fitr: [email protected] 1994 in USA 2. Terri Sievert, Ramadan: Islamic Holy Month; California 2006 3. Steven Hartov The heat of Ramadan, Publisher New York, San Diego and London Copyright @ 1992. Article 1. Allison Klein. “How Ramadan Works”. October 21, 2003 http://people. howstuffworks. com/ramadan. htm (December 17, 2007) Website 1. Islam. com 2. http://www. holidays. net/ramadan/ Other Self-knowledge from reading the Quran and class lectures