Ramdan (رمضان) observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting (during the daylight hours from dawn to sunset). This annual observance is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam. The month lasts 29–30 days based on the visual sightings of the crescent moon.
Fasting is fard (obligatory) for adult Muslims, except those who are suffering from an illness, travelling, are elderly, pregnant, breastfeeding, diabetic, chronically ill or women menstruating. According to the Quran, fasting was also obligatory for prior nations and is a way to attain taqwa, fear of God.
A fast last from dawn until sunset, During the fasting, Muslims refrain from consuming food, drinking liquids, smoking, engaging in sexual relations, sinful behaviour that may negate the reward of fasting, such as false speech (insulting, backbiting, cursing, lying, etc.) and fighting etc.
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You may hear following words from your fellows during Ramadan.
Suhoor: Pre-fast meals before dawn are referred to as Suhoor.
Iftar: Post-fast breaking feasts after sunset are called Iftar.
Tarawih (Arabic: تراويح) refers to extra prayers performed by Muslims at night in the Islamic month of Ramadan. Contrary to popular belief, they are not compulsory. However, many Muslims pray these prayers in the evening during Ramadan after the Isha Pray. Some Muslims perform the recitation of the entire Quran by means of special prayers during Tarawih’s.
Laylat al-Qadr: translated to English is “the night of power” or “the night of decree”: is considered the holiest night of the year. This is the night in which Muslims believe the first revelation of the Quran was sent down to Muhammad stating that this night was “better than one thousand months [of proper worship]”, as stated in Chapter 97:3 of the Qu’ran.
I’tikaf (Arabic: اعتكاف,): I’tikaf refers to going into seclusion during the last ten nights of Ramadan. Some people live in the mosque during this time for serious reflection and worship.
Charity (Zakāt and Sadaqah): Charity is very important in Islam, and even more so during Ramadan. Zakāt, often translated as “the poor-rate”, is obligatory as one of the pillars of Islam; a fixed percentage of the person’s savings is required to be given to the poor. Sadaqah is voluntary charity in giving above and beyond what is required from the obligation of zakāt.
Eid al-Fitr (Arabic:عيد الفطر): This first day of the following month is declared after another crescent new moon has been sighted or the completion of 30 days of fasting if no visual sighting is possible due to weather conditions. This first day of Shawwal is called Eid or Day of Celebration.
Work during Fasting: Muslims will continue to work during Ramadan. The prophet Muhammad said that it is important to keep a balance between worship and work. In some Muslim countries, such as Oman, however, working hours are shortened during Ramadan. It is often recommended that working Muslims inform their employers if they are fasting, given the potential for the observance to impact performance at work.
Health: Ramadan fasting is safe for healthy people, but those with medical conditions should seek medical advice. It’s not obligatory to fast if one is ill /sick or travelling.
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