Facts About Ramadan
Ramadan is the most important month in the Islamic calendar. Unlike many global holidays that last a single day or only a few days, this holiday lasts an entire month.
There are many other interesting facts about Ramadan that make it unique and are worth learning about.
If you don’t know much about Ramadan or are just curious to learn more, we’ve put together 10 Ramadan facts to help you discover this important Islamic holiday.
1. The date for Ramadan Changes every year
A popular question people ask is when is Ramadan? Well, the date for Ramadan changes every year. The exact dates when Ramadan falls every year are determined by the Islamic calendar.
The beginning of this month is marked when a new moon appears in the sky, which means that it is not possible to know when Ramadan will start until about 29 days before its actual date. Every year the date also moves forward approximately 10 days.
2. Fasting is one of the Pillars of Islam
There are 5 pillars of Islam. The pillars of Islam are the five fundamental religious obligations that all Muslims are required to follow.
The pillars consist of the two testimonies of faith, prayer, giving charity, fasting during Ramadan, and performing a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their lifetime if they have the means to do so.
This means that fasting is an integral part of the faith. Observing fasting during Ramadan is obligatory for all Muslims who are able to do so.
3. Fasting during Ramadan lasts from sunrise to sunset.
Since Ramadan is a month of fasting, this means that Muslims have to abstain from any food and drink from when the sun rises until it sets, as well as other activities such as smoking. For some people, even brushing their teeth during this window is a no-no!
There is a meal before fasting begins called suhoor and a meal at the end of the fast known as iftar.
So, what happens if you live somewhere that the sun sets very late or rises very early?
Most scholars say you should fast the hours based on the specific sunrise and sunset however others allow if it is too difficult that believers can follow the sunrise and sunset patterns in Mecca.
4. Not Everyone is Required to Fast
Since fasting can be a very strenuous experience for people, it is not required of several groups to fast. These include children before they reach puberty, the elderly, and anyone who is sick or injured when Ramadan falls.
If someone becomes ill during this month while already observing fasting, then they are excused from continuing their fasts until they recover. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding also are exempt from fasting.
5. Fasting isn’t for weight loss!
While it’s a popular trend right now to fast for weight loss this isn’t the intention behind fasting during Ramadan.
Muslims fast during Ramadan as a reminder of those who go without food during this month, and during the rest of the year.
So, giving charity during the month is also important. Many people sponsor meals or give away food during Ramadan to the less fortunate.
There is also an aspect of spiritual cleansing when fasting. Some people believe that when you are fasting, your spirit is connected to the spiritual realm more closely.
6. Ramadan is celebrated as a reminder
One of the most important facts about Ramadan is that it is a reminder of the month when the Qu’ran was transitted to the Prophet Mohammed. Along with fasting, another important part of Ramadan is reading or reciting the Qu’ran.
Every day during this month, Muslims try to read and reflect upon as much of the religious text as possible. This can be done by oneself when alone but ideally, it should happen in a group setting such as a mosque where others help guide one’s reflection on these passages.
7. The Night of Power during Ramadan
Laylat al-Qadr, or the night of power, is when prayers are held and the Quran is read in commemoration of when Muhammed first received the revelations from God.
This event occurred during Ramadan so this night becomes very significant for Muslims who wish to take part in praying, reading passages from the Quran, or other related activities.
No one knows the specific day but it happens in the last 10 days of the month. Some people even sleep in the mosque to pray as much as possible during these last 10 days!
8. Ramadan Traditions Vary Around the World
Fasting and reading of the Qu’ran are two of the most important things that happened during this month. Another Ramadan tradition is the preparation of special foods.
During Ramadan, the breaking of the fast, or iftar, is a meal that is looked forward to with anticipation.
Depending on where one is in the world these dishes can vary quite a bit but some examples include dates (to represent what Mohammed ate when he broke his fast) and lentil soup.
While what is present on the table varies, dates are something that is found on most iftar tables around the world.
See more Ramadan Traditions Around The World
9. Fasting is Seen as Bringing Great Benefits
Muslims believe that fasting anytime of year improves their standing in the faith. But fasting one day in Ramadan equals fasting ten days during other months so this special time requires serious reflection and dedication.
By fasting during Ramadan, Muslims are also able to feel close to Allah when He is the most present. If a person happens to die during Ramadan when fasting, they are automatically forgiven of all their sins.
During Ramadan, it is forbidden to lie or hurt anyone else whether physically or emotionally. so this month encourages Muslims to be kinder and more considerate towards one another. This is an added challenge when you’re hungry and thirsty all day!
10. There are specific Ramadan Greetings
Ramadan Kareem or Ramadan Mubarak are the two phrases that are most commonly used to greet someone during this time. Kareem means generous or noble Ramadan while Mubarak is an expression of blessedness.
These ten facts about Ramadan should give you a good overview of Ramadan. Want to know more? Check out our post on Ramadan traditions.
Read about more Holidays and Celebrations around the World.