BY AMANDA MOSES
The holy month of Ramadan began on April 23rd, and will continue until May 23rd. This holiday is very important in the Islamic religion, and is honored with fasting, prayer, and introspection. Ramadan represents the month when Muhammad received his initial revelations, which later became known as the Quran.
From dusk to dawn, Muslims do not eat, drink, smoke or participate in anything that may be deemed as unkind or impure. (Those who are sick, pregnant, the elderly or children are exempt from fasting.) Rama-dan teaches self-restraint, self-awareness and reflection. They practice these selfless behaviors in order to feel empathy for those less fortunate. Those who celebrate Ramadan know that this holiday is about becoming a better person.
Some Muslims may choose to commemorate this holiday by reading the entire Quran or educating others on its teachings through virtual platforms.
Did you know:
- On the first day of Ramadan, before dawn, the meal eaten is called “Suhoor.”
- When fasts are broken at dusk, the meals are called “Iftar,” which are usually celebrated with a group of family and friends (this year many families will be holding virtual meals through video calls).
- The Arabic word for fasting is “Sawm.”
- Ramadan is considered one of the five pillars of Islam: Testimony of Faith (Shahaadah or Kalima), Pray (Salat), Almsgiving (Zakat), Fasting (Sawm), and Pilgrimage (Hajj).
- The last day of Ramadan is known as Id al-Fitr (or Eid al-Fitr), which means the Feast of Fast-Breaking. This event concludes the celebration and lasts for three days of prayers, elaborate meals, and this is when gifts are exchanged. (All of these festivities will be conducted virtually via Zoom, Google Hangouts, FaceTime, or using other applications.)