Welcoming Ramadan


No, not even water. Everyone knows Muslims fast during Ramadan, but why do they do it? And why is it so important to them? Ramadan is the ninth month on the lunar calendar, the holy month in which Muslims fast for thirty days and stay away from sin. Fasting involves abstaining from eating or drinking anything in between the Dawn Prayer (Fajr) and the Dusk Prayer (Maghrib). Fasting in Ramadan is the fourth of the five pillars of Islam. 

Why do Muslims fast in Ramadan?

Ramadan is the month in which the holy book, the Quran, was revealed. Fasting is prescribed so that Muslims can guard themselves against evil (1:184).  Fasting is not about being hungry, but rather about being mindful. Muslims are able to set aside their desires to focus on bettering themselves in character and worship. It is a time in the month where Muslims are motivated to bring out the best in themselves.

Why is Ramadan so special to Muslims?

Ramadan brings with it a sense of faith, reminiscence, and relief. It is the time for people to get closer to their religion and closer to themselves. It marks breaking bad habits and is a long-awaited time for spiritual healing. Good deeds made in Ramadan are multiplied in their worth. This means that one good action is recorded and given the same credit as many more. Ramadan reinforces righteousness. 

What are some Ramadan traditions?

It is a tradition of the Prophet to break one’s fast with dates and water. Another tradition is a night prayer only prayed during Ramadan called Taraweeh. Muslims usually pray it in congregation at the Mosque. 

A cultural tradition is eating dinner (iftar) with family or friends. Kinship is an important part of Islam and Ramadan amplifies this. Additionally, Zakat is paid during Ramadan. Zakat is the 3rd pillar of Islam in which 2.5% of one’s wealth is donated to the poor. 

Is everyone obligated to fast all 30 days?

Fasting is an obligation, but there are exemptions; health comes first. Children below the age of puberty and the elderly are not required to fast. Those under a condition of travel, illness, pregnancy, or menstruation can also be exempt from fasting. 

What happens when it’s over?

After Ramadan, a holiday called Eid-ul-Fitr is celebrated. Starting the celebration, there is a special Eid prayer and sermon (khutbah) made in the morning. People dress up, eat, spend time with their families, and exchange gifts. For many women, henna is also done for the occasion.

Ramadan is looked forward to and prepared for all year round. Although it can be hard to look past the surface-bound facts, there are so many aspects of Ramadan that can mean something deeper to you. Ramadan reminds me of my flaws and motivates me to improve them. It gives me a strong foundation so that no matter the struggle, my priorities and values are set straight.