Wednesday April 6, 2022
Did you know that around 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide will observe Ramadan this year? Ramadan is the month that Muslims believe God revealed the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad and is one of the Five Pillars of Islam.
Eager to learn more about this religious festival and its unique customs and traditions? We’ve found some interesting facts to help you understand why and how this holy month is celebrated.
It’s Not on the Same Date Every Year
Did you know the start of Ramadan has to do with the lunar calendar? Occurring in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, Ramadan starts with the appearance of a new moon and ends on the night of the waning crescent moon. This year’s Ramadan started on the evening of Saturday, April 2nd, and ends on the evening of Sunday May 1st.
The Purpose of Ramadan
A key purpose of Ramadan is empathy. During this holy month, there is an emphasis on the importance of self-control and the sufferings of the underprivileged. Muslims focus on communal praying in the mosque, introspection, purity, and spirituality during Ramadan. Observers also spend more time with their families, make charitable contributions, and read the Qur'an.
Many Muslims Fast During Ramadan
While some Muslims are excused from participating in Sawm (meaning fasting) during Ramadan, most take part in the month-long dawn-to-sunset fast to show their devotion to Islam. The fast is offset by a pre-dawn meal called sehri and a nightly meal known as iftar. For iftar, some Muslins choose to eat dates, as the Prophet Muhammad is believed to have done to break his fast.
The final evening of Ramadan consists of a celebration called Eid al-Fitr, which is celebrated during the first three days of Shawwal, the 10th month of the Islamic calendar. Eid al-Fitr, one of the two major religious holidays of the Muslim calendar, is when the traditional month-long fast ends with an epic feast (usually involving dates)! For Eid al-Fitr, children usually dress up in elaborate clothes, women dress in white, gifts are exchanged, and people gather for family meals and pray at the mosque.
What is Qadr Night?
Laylat al-Qadr, Arabic for “Night of Power,” is considered the holiest night of the year for Muslims. Laylat al-Qadr is the night Muslims believe the Qur’an was sent down from Heaven to the world and revealed to the Prophet Muhammad through the angel Gabriel. This was believed to have happened between the 23rd and 27th night of Ramadan.
We hope you learned something new about Ramadan, and for everyone who is participating, we want to wish you a Ramadan Mubarak!