5 things you need to know about Ramadan
If you’ve ever wondered what Ramadan is about, wonder no more!
We asked Shareef, INTO’s Arabic language web editor, to tell us the 5 things that you need to know about Ramadan…
1. What is Ramadan?
Ramadan marks the start of the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and begins with the sighting of a new moon. It is the biggest religious event in Islam for many reasons, one of them being when the Qur’an was first revealed to the prophet Mohammed (ص).
2. What is Ramadan about?
We go about life in the usual ways but we don’t eat or drink anything between sunrise and sunset. This lasts for 30 days and known as ‘fasting’.
This is a time that’s all about family; we spend less time on leisure activities, and more time helping our family and others through charity work. We spend time reading chapters from the Qur’an, praying and eating together at one table – but only after sunset of course!
3. Why do we fast?
We fast to show respect for less fortunate people who live in poverty and can’t afford to buy food. It is also to show our dedication to God. All Muslim adults must fast, except those who are ill, pregnant, breastfeeding or travelling. But they must make up the days missed at a later date or give a fixed sum to charity of their choice.
Fasting teaches us self-control, patience, appreciation and empathy.
4. Is fasting bad for your health?
I’m asked this question a lot. Of course it’s natural to think that going without food or drink will affect the body, but fasting can improve a person’s health if the correct diet is followed.
That’s why it’s important to replace energy stores during the pre-sunrise meal, known as Suhoor and the evening meal Iftar. It’s common for those fasting to wake up between 2-3am for the Suhoor meal.
5. What is it like to celebrate Ramadan away from home?
I thought it would be hard because I’m not with my family, but Muslim friends welcomed me into their families, which made it easier.
These friends who, like me, are unable to spend Ramadan with their families back home, meet at each others houses for the Iftar meal to break the fast. It’s a really nice experience to cook for each other and I get to enjoy Malaysian, Turkish, Russian and Indian dishes. They really enjoy Arabic food too! ☺
Even my British friends wanted to get involved and tried fasting for a day – they did great, and I felt like this showed true friendship.
Finally – let’s not forget what happens at the end of Ramadan – Eid-al-Fitr! This is a three day festival which marks the end of Ramadan. During this time we prepare festive meals – mostly sweet food – and wear new clothes, visit relatives and give presents and candy to children.
Ramadan Kareem to you all, from our staff here at INTO HQ!