Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, and one of the most significant months for Muslims. It begins with the sighting of the new moon, after which fasting during the subsequent month, is an obligation upon every adult Muslim who is fit to do so. There are some exemptions including young children, elderly people, those who are ill and women who are pregnant.
During this period Muslims abstain totally from eating and drinking (including water) between first light (dawn) and sunset.
Ramadan is a time when Muslims concentrate upon their faith, worship and contemplation. Giving to charity is also an important aspect of Ramadan.
Ramadan is important for Muslims because it is believed to be the month in which the first verses of the Holy Quran were revealed.
During Ramadan Muslims will awake before dawn for a meal called “suhur”. When daylight is over, most Muslims will break the fast with dates or water and recite the following prayer:
Allahumma inni laka sumtu wa bika aamantu wa ‘ala rizq-ika aftarthu (Arabic)
O Allah! I fasted for You and I believe in You and I break my fast with Your sustenance (English translation).
This is followed by an evening meal called ‘Iftar’. ‘Iftar’ is an occasion for family, friends and the wider community to get together and share food. The Iftar meal usually includes fresh fruits, appetizers, beverages and dinner.
Following the Iftar, most Muslims attend special nightly Tarawih prayers at their local masjid/mosque.
The celebration of EID (Ul-Fitr) will mark the end of the month of Ramadan.