Ramadan, the 9th month of the Islamic lunar calendar is the most superior and blessed month of the whole year which has a unique importance and beauty in the eyes of Muslims. It is a time of spiritual reflection, self-improvement, and worship. Ramadan is filled with the innumerable blessing which lasts for 29-30 days from the sighting of the crescent moon to the next.
The “Holy Quran” which is the final message and path of the almighty and omniscient was sent down as guidance, 1400 years ago for mankind, to the beloved Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) during this month. Therefore Muslims try to do an intense study of the Quran this month especially to evaluate their lives according to the standard and guidance contained in it.
Fasting in the month of Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam. Fasting from dawn to dusk is fard (obligatory) for all adult Muslims who are not acutely or chronically ill, traveling, elderly, breastfeeding diabetic or menstruating. It is our duty to God as God himself describes the purpose as follows.
“You who have faith! Fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you – so that hopefully you will have piety.” (surah Al-Baqara : 183)
What is fasting?
Linguistically the word fasting in the Arabic language means unconditional ‘restraint’ from any action. Muslims fast for the entire month of Ramadan starting with the predawn meal referred to as suhur and the nighty feast that breaks the fast called Ifthar. The reason they fast voluntarily and happily this month because the spiritual rewards (thawab) of fasting are believed to multiply during Ramadan and due to the fear and love for Allah almighty(Taqwa).
During this period Muslims not only refrain from food and drink but also from sinful behavior, listening to music, watching TV, and sexual relationships.
Connection to the Quran
It is being said that the Quran was revealed on one of the odds of the last 10 days of this blessed month which is referred to as Laylatul Qadr (the night better than thousand months) or the ‘Night of the power’. Muslims seek forgiveness from God on this blessed night. It is mentioned in the Quran as below.
“The month of Ramadan is a fertile month that also contains the night of power.” (surah Al-Qadr:3)
A time to celebrate
After the month of Ramadan is over (based on the sighting of the crescent moon) Muslims celebrate one of their biggest festivals Eid-ul-Fitr the ‘festival of breaking fast’. They prepare various dishes especially the delicious “watalappan” which is very famous in Srilanka.
On this special day, Muslims wake up early clean themselves and wear the best clothing and perform Eid prayer in mosques. After the prayers, Muslims visit their relatives and friends.
However Ramadan ends as a multifunctional and comprehensive tool to change the various spheres of our lives including; social and economic, intellectual and humanitarian, spiritual and physical, private and public, inner and outer—All in one.
I wish you All a Happy Eid.
By Zainab Cassim