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Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic (lunar) calendar, also known as the holy month of fasting. It is the month during which revelation of the Holy Qur’an to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) commenced. Because the Muslim calendar year is shorter than the Gregorian calendar, Ramadan begins 10–12 days earlier each year, allowing it to fall in every season. This year, Ramadan in the US started on Tuesday, April 13, and will end on Wednesday, May 12 (Dates are dependent on the appearance of the crescent moon and may vary across countries).

Fasting is incumbent upon all Muslims who are physically capable in the month of Ramadan. It starts at dawn and ends at sunset. The Holy Quran states: “O ye who believe! fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may become righteous. The prescribed fasting is for a fixed number of days, but whoso among you is sick or is on a journey shall fast the same number of other days; and for those who are able to fast only with great difficulty is an expiation — the feeding of a poor man. And whoso performs a good work with willing obedience, it is better for him. And fasting is good for you if you only knew” (2:184-85).

Muslims start Ramadan by waking up early at dawn and eating a breakfast called ‘Suhoor.’ After that, they fast the whole day, which means they don’t eat or drink until sunset. For Muslims, fasting is an act of worship, a chance to get closer to God, and a way to become more compassionate to those in need. It is seen as a way to learn patience and break bad habits. Fasting can also offer excellent mental and physical health (scientifically proven).

At the end of Ramadan, there is a celebration known as Eid-ul-Fitr, which is one of the two major holidays of the Islamic calendar. Eid marks the end of a month of fasting, as well as of spiritual reflection and prayer. Under usual circumstances, the day starts with congregational Prayers at the mosque. The day is celebrated with family and friends by sharing a big meal and giving gifts to the children.

Aisha Sabahat

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