Ramadan

Ramadan is a holy month for Muslims. What happens during Ramadan and what does it mean to millions of Muslims worldwide?

Instructions

Do the preparation task first. Then read the article and do the exercises.

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is a very special time for Muslims all over the world. Observing Ramadan is one of the five 'pillars' of Islam. During Ramadan, all Muslims over the age of about 12, with some exceptions, are expected to fast between dawn and sunset.  

When does it take place?

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which follows the phases of the moon. This means the dates of Ramadan change each year. The month starts when the new crescent moon is first visible in the night sky. Fasting ends with the arrival of the next lunar month, which starts with the first glimpse of the new crescent moon.

How do people fast?

During Ramadan, the day starts early so that people can eat a pre-fast meal before dawn. This meal, called Suhoor, is important as it will keep them going through the day. During daylight hours, fasting Muslims cannot eat food or drink water or any other drinks. In late spring or early summer, this is particularly difficult as the day can be very long. People who live in polar regions, where daylight can last 22 hours or more, can choose to follow the dawn and sunset times in Mecca or a nearby country where the sky is dark at night.  

Are all Muslims expected to fast?

Not all Muslims are expected to fast. Children under the age of 12, people who are travelling, elderly people, pregnant women and others where it may affect their health are exempt. Those who can't fast for any reason can offer to feed poor people for each day they miss during Ramadan.

What happens at sunset?

People can eat and drink again once the sun has set. The traditional way to break the fast is by eating dates and drinking a glass of water. Then, the evening meal, Iftar, is a social event that can go on for hours. It is common for people to eat together in large groups of family and friends. Special foods are prepared and shared, and desserts are particularly popular. Muslims often include charity in Iftar as well, sharing Iftar with members of the community who cannot buy or make their own food. Across the Muslim world, mosques and aid organisations set up tents and tables for the public in poorer communities to eat free Iftar meals every night of Ramadan.

Why do people fast?

Muslims fast during Ramadan to bring them closer to God and to remind them of the suffering of people who are less fortunate than themselves. Fasting is an exercise in self-control. As well as not eating, drinking or smoking, Muslims try to avoid bad actions, like talking about people behind their backs or using bad language. Ramadan is a time for people to work on being more patient, more tolerant and more mindful of the people around them. It is a moment to reflect and work on being better people.

Many Muslims also donate money to charities during the month, and a lot of Islamic charities organise food packs for people in poorer countries or refugee camps. Giving donations to charity, known as Zakat, is particularly important during the holy month, and so is prayer, meditation and reading the Qur'an.

How is the end of Ramadan celebrated?

Eid ul-Fitr marks the end of the month of fasting. There are many Eid traditions, mainly centred around family, food, generosity and festivities. On Eid ul-Fitr, Muslims wake up early and dress in their finest clothes to attend the Eid prayers. After prayers, they wish each other a happy Eid ('Eid Mubarak' in Arabic) before spending the rest of the day with their extended families, enjoying good food and sharing gifts with children and loved ones.

Discussion

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Submitted by meknini on Fri, 22/07/2022 - 02:17

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Ramadan is joyously welcomed by my family every year. We look at this month as the month to improve ourselves. Usually, in the month of Syaaban which is immediately before Ramadan we would sit down and reflect on wat we have done and seek to see what are areas we would like to improve intrinsically or spiritually. Most of us nearly always think Ramadan is the month to do this since we're forbidden from conducting ourselves poorly, thus we're extra mindful of our behaviors. We have always bore in mind to be a different person once Ramadan ends and work hard to maintain the good traits we gained throughout the year before the next Ramadan arrive. All in all Muslims who are seriously observing Ramadan would progressively change throughout his life span. And, I sincerely believe this makes Ramadan very uniquely special.

Submitted by PiotrJan on Sun, 03/07/2022 - 13:51

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I'm a Catholic and I really admire all Muslims who observe Ramadan. It's a great testimony for every one who is religious. Testimony about being ready to sacrifice something to God.

Submitted by jyoti Chaudhary on Fri, 22/04/2022 - 13:43

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Do you observe Ramadan?

no, I didn't observe in my life because I'm Hindu but I respect all religions. one day I shall observe this.

Submitted by zinc-bromide on Wed, 20/04/2022 - 16:26

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Ramadan has always fascinated me in some kind of way! It amazes me how it brings families closer to each other and closer to God. Fasting has always been and will always be only for our welfare. It distances humans from vices and health issues.
Many scientists discovered the secret healing power of fasting, but this is something no government or school will ever teach you.

Submitted by arsseldii on Mon, 18/04/2022 - 21:21

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I am a muslim and I find Ramadan as one of the most valuable months for our religion.During this month we feel inside us the connection between us and God.It´s an obligation for us to fast during this month.Fasting is also healthy for humans.I found this article interesting and informative for all the readers.This is one of the most effective ways to tell the others the beautiful culture and the religion we have.

Submitted by dejankraja on Thu, 14/04/2022 - 20:56

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Ramadan is the beautifulest month of the year. I always fast during Ramadan as long as i am healthy. Its a tradition of all muslims to fast during Ramadan. This article shows to different people of different religions how beautiful Ramadan is. It gives a brief idea of how we celebrate during the month. Thanks to the one who wrote this article, very informative.

Submitted by Thinthinmyoe on Sat, 05/06/2021 - 13:25

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Although I'm not a Muslim,I respect to other religions.

Submitted by Jawed_3 on Thu, 08/04/2021 - 09:18

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Ramadan is a very important month for all people, not only for Muslims, because Allah's particular mercy descends in Ramadan.

Yeees, Ramadan is a special month in which Muslims (as human beings that consist of two sides, physically and spiritually), rise spiritually and try to thank Allah as much as possible for everything Allah has given to us. This Mubarak month reminds us of the purpose of human creation: Knowing and worshiping Allah. Thank you Britishcouncil for giving us the opportunity to express our feelings about this blessed month.

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Submitted by danisep on Wed, 27/01/2021 - 16:33

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No, I'm not Muslim I'm Christian and I have taken somedays to fast I think that is good to improve self-control and help with some health affairs. I see with good eyes when we try to help others, I think that is something that we must do with more frequently.