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An Introduction to Ramadan

Its been a year since the last time I celebrated Ramadan. Yup, the good memories of yesteryear. I remember posting about it here Ramadan: The Month of Spiritual Enlightenment .

Well, I thought that I should recap to our new readers what Ramadan is about.
The crescent of the Moon signals the start of Ramadan

Ramadan Mubarak!
Ramadan is pronounced "Rama-dhan" in Arabic. Its English name removes the "dhan" and hence its Ramadan. (Its Ramadhan! )

Ramadan is a month in the Islamic Calendar (Hijra Calendar which is a Lunar Calendar). Its the ninth month of the (Islamic) year and is considered to be the holiest month of all the months (some say Muharram , the first month, is second to it).

During Ramadan, the first verses of the Qur'an were revealed to the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), during Laylut al
Qadr (roughly translating into "Night of Destiny"), where the arch-angel Gabriel (or Jibraeel , as said in Arabic) told the verses.

Ramadan is known as a month of fasting. Indeed, every able-bodied Muslim (usually from 10 years of age until 80 years [depends on if one is fit]) abstains from eating and drinking, as well as intercourse, between sunrise and sunset(not sure about the far latter though..). The sunrises and sunset are marked via the call to prayers , so it is easy for a Muslim to know when it is time to break his fast.

People who are specifically not allowed to fast, many due to health and safety reasons, are the Elderly (I mean REALLY OLD!), the ill (both mentally and physically), Pregnant women as it is seen to have effect on the fetus and others. Also excluded are travelers (typically, people who travel for more than 23 km).

During Ramadan, a Muslim would engage in Spiritual activities. Indeed, Ramadan is a month of spirituality and is meant to teach a Muslim ; Patience, Humility, Spirituality (inner peace, i guess ). People tend to perform extra prayers during this month. Also, (generally speaking), Muslims attempt to read the entire Qur'an during the month. Its a great achievement to finish the Qur'an

Muslims break their fast at sunset , the fast-breaking meal is called Iftar. Usually, the person says a duaa (that is, a prayer) and usually drinks water (or juice) and Dates. And then they feast 
Usually, lots of Sweets will be made for the occasions

During Ramadan, it is a good time for businesses as well, with many food joints staying open until dawn! Also, Ramadan is the traditional time where new TV shows debut (thats how it is these days )

Ramadan is declared whenever a crescent appears on the day before, that is how the exact day is known Of course, this date changes every year (usually reversing by 10 days due to the difference in the Gregorian and Hijra calendar).

 Often, Mosques hold their own iftar meals for the poor. Many people also donate generously during Ramadan (hence, so many good offers on TV during the month )

So, without further to do, I wish all my Muslim friends and brothers across the world a blessed Ramadan.


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