As Ramadan comes closer, a lot of people will be wondering why their Muslim friends are not eating. Muslims may be asking themselves questions about Ramadan and its purpose. Hopefully, the information provided in this blog will shed some light on those questions.
What is Ramadan
Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam, although one can fast throughout the year this pillar is most commonly associated with the month of Ramadan. Ramadan is the 9th month of the Lunar Hijri year; the word Ramadan is derived from the Arabic word ramada which means intense scorching heat and dryness. The word Ramadan refers to the intense heat in the stomach due to thirst. Ramadan also has another meaning as the good deeds scorch the sins and evil of a Muslim so, Ramadan is the month in which the sins are washed away by the good deeds. Ramadan helps in molding, shaping, and reforming the spiritual and moral aspects of the human being.
When Does Ramadan Start
The starting and ending dates of Ramadan are dependent on the sighting of the Moon. The month of Ramadan begins with the first crescent of the new moon and marks the beginning of the month of Shawal. Due to the difference between the Gregorian calendar and the Islamic Calendar of approximately 10-11 days, every year a committee sights the moon and predicts the starting and end of the month of Shawal.
Ramadan in 2022 will start on 2nd April but the dates may change as they are dependent on the sighting of the moon.
When does Ramadan End
The duration of Ramadan is about 29-30 days and finishes on the celebration of Eid-Ul-Fitr.
In the event of not being able to sight the moon, Ramadan begins on the completion of 30 days of the previous month of Sha’ban.
Rules of Ramadan
Once Ramadan begins, fasting becomes an obligation on every able Muslim above the age of puberty. “Sawm” is the word used for fasting in the Quran which means to abstain. The main purpose of Fasting is so we can learn Taqwa (Piety). Fasting has different rules that are to be followed from Sahur (the pre-dawn meal) to Iftar. The main purpose of Fasting is so we can learn Taqwa (Piety). The following rules apply during Ramadan
- You cannot eat or drink any sort of food and abstain from any source of nourishment.
- You are not allowed to smoke cigarettes.
- You cannot engage in any sexual activity from Sehr to Iftar.
- Ramadan is the time when fasting is obligatory.
- Fasting in Ramadan is a compulsion for Adult Muslims who have reached the age of puberty.
- Fasting during Ramadan is not obligatory for Muslims who are sick or traveling. (Once the days of sickness are over, he or she must fast after Ramadan for the missed fasting days.
- Restrain yourself from false talks and sins.
- Taking Showers does not invalidate Fasting.
- Using eye drops also does not invalidate fasting.
- Eating or drinking mistakenly as one forgets he is fasting does not break the fast.
Fasting is not just about not eating, drinking, or all the above-mentioned points but it is about abstaining from all the activities that are not allowed in Islam and are morally and ethically wrong. Every part of our body should fast from sahoor to iftar. For example,
The Tounge should restrain from speaking anything that might hurt someone or any sort of abuse.
The Eyes should restrain from looking towards anything that is not allowed in Islam and is unlawful.
Similarly, all other parts of the body should fast and spend time just as Islam directs.
Ramadan Dua for Opening Fast
As Ramadan approaches, it is useful to be aware of the Ramadan Dua or the Dua for opening your fast.
The dua for sahoor (The pre-dawn meal) when starting the fast is:
وَبِصَوْمِ غَدٍ نَّوَيْتُ مِنْ شَهْرِ رَمَضَانَ.
“I Intend to keep the fast for the month of Ramadan”
Ramadan Dua for Closing Fast
The dua for Iftar (The breakfast after sunset) when completing the Fast is:
اَللّٰهُمَّ اِنِّی لَکَ صُمْتُ وَبِکَ اٰمَنْتُ وَعَلَيْکَ تَوَکَّلْتُ وَعَلٰی رِزْقِکَ اَفْطَرْتُ
“O Allah! I fasted for you and I believe in you and I put my trust in You and I break my fast with your sustenance.”
Ramadan for Kids
Ramadan is a blessing from Allah. Fasting is an obligation for Muslims above the age of puberty however children who are under the age of puberty also need to learn about fasting and Ramadan. They may be unable to Fast for the whole day but they can still take part in other religious activities such as reciting the Quran, restraining from the use of any abusive language.
Parents should encourage children in such a way that they develop an interest in fasting so when they reach the age of puberty, they’re ready for it. It is the best time of the year for children to learn several things including:
- The power to restrain from unlawful actions.
- Some parents promote Fasting for Half a day so children can learn to control themselves.
- Reciting Quran
- Offering Tarawih
- Praying more often.
- Rules of Sahoor and Iftar.
All of the above help children prepare themselves for Ramadan in a better way by practically applying themselves and watching their family members fast.
With children, it is also important to ensure that they learn to enjoy Islam and Ramadan as this enjoyment is likely to spark an interest in Ramadan when it does approach.