On the Muslim calendar, Ramadan is the ninth month. Muslims believe the Qur'an (a book, much like the Bible) was sent down from heaven in this month. This book is a "a declaration of direction and a means of Salvation." In 2011, Ramadan is observed from August 1st to August 29th.
Ramadan - Observing the Holiday
During this month, Muslims fast. That's right, they don't eat anything for the entire month. Ok, so that's a slight exaggeration. They can only eat and drink when it's dark out. According to the Qur'an, you can eat and drink any time during the night until you can tell the difference between a white thread from a black one by the daylight. Then it's back to fasting until night time. Muslims feel that by experiencing hunger they develop sympathy for the less fortunate who go hungry every day.
What Not to Do During Ramadan
- Intentionally eat or drink during daylight hours.
- Have sex.
- Make yourself throw up.
- Have poor intentions - be greedy, tell a lie, etc.
So, What Can You Do?
So if Muslims can't eat or drink during this time, how do they spend the day? Many of them spend hours praying and studying the Qur'an. In the evening, it's time to visit family and friends. On the 27th night, Muslims celebrate the Laylat-al-Qadr, which means the Night of Prayer. The Quran says that God decides the course of the world for the next year on this day. The fast ends with a three-day holiday called the Feast of Fast-Breaking. In some cities, Muslims have fairs to celebrate the end of Ramadan.
Did U Know?
- If someone is unable to fast during the month of Ramadan (because they are pregnant, elderly or suffer from a disease like [kwlink]diabetes[/kwlink]) they are supposed to feed one needy person for each day of the month.
- Children who have yet to hit puberty do not have to fast during Ramadan.
- The Festival of Fast-Breaking is known as Eid ul Fitr in Arabic.
- The Islamic calendar is based on the phases of the moon.