Celebrating Ramadan

when-is-ramadan-in-ukBY AMANDA MOSES

The holy month of Ramadan is upon us. This Islamic celebration began on the evening of Friday, May 26th and will end on the evening of Saturday, June 24th. Muslims honor the holiday with fasting, prayer and introspection because they are celebrating the month when Muhammad received the 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. Ramadan teaches believers about 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, and helping those in need.

As well as going to work, many are encouraged to perform good deeds for those in need. Some Muslims may choose to also read the entire Quran and attend mosques. Those who are sick, pregnant, the elderly or children are exempt from fasting.

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 always celebrated with a group of family and friends.
  •  The Arabic word for fasting is “sawm,” which means to refrain.
  • 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 a very important celebration known as Id al-Fitr (or Eid al-Fitr), which means the Feast of Fast-Breaking. This conclusion lasts for three days of prayers, elaborate meals with family and friends, and gifts are exchanged.