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21:40, 20 August 2018 Monday
16:05, 23 May 2018 Wednesday

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Five things to know about the holy month of Ramadan
Five things to know about the holy month of Ramadan

Ramadan is a time of spiritual reflection, when Muslims contemplate their relationship with God, carry out compassionate sacrifices, build community and help those in need.

World Bulletin / News Desk

1. It's a time of reflection and empathy

Muslims observe Ramadan in three main ways:

  • Devout prayer: In addition to the usual daily prayers, Muslims say an extra prayer known as Taraveeh, which can last for up to 90 minutes.
  • Charity: As Ramadan is a month of giving, Muslims are extra generous towards the less fortunate. They also contribute Zakat (alms) and Fitrana (a donation to ensure all Muslims have means to celebrate Eid, the event that marks the end of Ramadan).

  • Fasting: This aspect of Ramadan is the most well known, whereby Muslims abstain from food and drink as well as other physical desires during daylight hours, in empathy of the poor and less fortunate. Only healthy adults are required to observe the fast – people who are unwell; women who are pregnant, nursing or menstruating; and children and the elderly are exempt from fasting.

2. It begins when the moon is visible



Ramadan, the name of the ninth month in the Islamic lunar calendar, begins when the moon is sighted. As weather conditions can impede the visibility of the moon, the beginning of Ramadan may differ from country to country.

3. It's part of the five pillars of Islam

These are the five tenets of Islam:

  • Declaration of faith: The reciting of a set statement, usually in Arabic, that professes a Muslim's faith to God.

  • Prayer: Five daily prayers, which occur at dawn, midday, the afternoon, evening and at night.

  • Charity: Alms-giving to ease the economic hardship of others.

  • Fasting: Ritual fasting during Ramadan for able-bodied, healthy adults.

  • Pilgrimage: Taking the Hajj pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca, in Saudi Arabia, at least once.

4. What happens before and after a fast?

Muslims get up early for Suhoor, the meal before sunrise. The meal taken after sundown is known as Iftar. Traditionally, people break their fast by consuming sweet dates. As Ramadan doesn’t fall on the same time each year, the fasting duration can vary significantly.

5. Muslims do fast outside of Ramadan


While it isn't compulsory, there may be instances when some Muslims voluntarily fast outside of Ramadan.

These include:

  • On the 9th and 10th day in Muharram (first month in the Islamic calendar).

  • Any day in the month of Rajab (seventh month).

  • Six days in the month of Shawwal (tenth month).

  • The first nine days in the month of Zulhijjah (12th month).

 

 



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