This week is the beginning of Ramadan for over one billion Muslims across the globe.
The month-long observance — that will begin on either May 6 or May 7 2019 will make Muslims worldwide start their fast from dawn to sunset, voicing out verses and observing their prayer sessions.
For several people that partake in Ramadan, it is a period to move closer to God, a time of happiness and the moment to draw their family close, without forgetting to help the needy.
What I Should Know About Ramadan?
It is the holiest month in Islam. It starts during the 9th month of the Islamic lunar calendar when the new crescent moon is first seen. The precise date to begin is decided when the moon is sighted by a committee in charge, which mostly consists of government workers and religious professors.
Nations such as Jordan, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia will start observing Ramadan on the 6th of May while countries like Oman will celebrate the holy month on the 7th.
The end of Ramadan is also celebrated after the crescent moon is seen, this is Eid-al-Fitr, and it will be the the 1st week in the 6th month.
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Why Is Ramadan Special?
Muslims take Ramadan seriously to respect when God made known the first chapters of the Quran, to the Prophet Muhammad. Muslims are of the opinion that, during this time, the gates of heaven are open and the gates of hell are locked.
Muslims celebrate the holy month by depriving themselves of food — which is seen as one of the 5 pillars of Islam — during sunlight hours. The food eaten before dawn is referred to as the suhoor, while the fast ends at dusk with the iftar, starting with little sips of water.
Abstinence during Ramadan is not just limited to food and drinks. Sex, cigarettes, negative thinking, anger, envy are not excluded. Muslims feel doing away with all of this during Ramadan will ensure they are purified and hence, draw them nearer to Allah. Several Muslims also go for special prayer gatherings, recite verses of the Quran and give alms.
When Ramadan starts, business organizations and institutions in Islamic nations close early. For example, educational institutions in Dubai will close by 1:30 p.m and Abu Dhabi has also cancelled public parking charges during specific periods on specific days.
How Can I Wish Someone A Happy Ramadan?
Ramadan greetings can be exchanged by saying “Ramadan Kareem,” which means “Have a generous Ramadan,” or “Ramadan Mubarak,” which simply means “Happy Ramadan.”
On the final day of Ramadan, i.e Eid-al-fitr, the greeting will no longer be what is above, it will change to “Eid Mubarak.”
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Am I Compelled To Fast During Ramadan?
No you are not. Not everybody should fast.
Islam says every able-bodied Muslim has to fast when Ramadan begins excluding young kids, pregnant and breast-feeding mums, menstruating females, the elderly and anyone with any form of sickness.
Christians that visit an Islamic country do not have to fast too, but they should stay away from eating and drinking in public as a way to respect those that are fasting.