Every year in the month of Ramadan, all Muslims fast from dawn until sundown--abstaining from food, drink, and sexual relations with their spouses.
Those who are sick, elderly, or on a journey, and women who are menstruating, pregnant or nursing, are permitted to break the fast and make up an equal number of days later in the year if they are healthy and able. Children begin to fast (and to observe prayers) from puberty,
although many start earlier.
Although fasting is beneficial to health, it is mainly a method of self-purification and self-restraint. By cutting oneself from worldly comforts, even for a short time, a fasting person focuses on his or her purpose in life by constantly being aware of the presence of God. God
states in the Qur'an: "O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed to those before you that you may learn self-restraint." (Qur'an 2:183)
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim year which follows a lunar calendar. Each month begins with a sighting of the moon's crescent and lasts 29 or 30 days until a sighting of the next month's crescent.
The month of Ramadan commemorates the days when the Angel Gabriel imparted the wisdom of the Koran, Islam's holy book, to the Prophet Mohammed.
It is during this month that Muslims fast. It is called the Fast of Ramadan and lasts the entire month. According to Sharia, or Islamic law, all adult Muslims must fast during the holy month. Only the sick, pregnant and nursing women, and travelers are exempt. This makes the
fasting a worldwide phenomenon observed by the devoted among the world's one billion Muslims as one international community.
During the Fast of Ramadan strict restraints are placed on the daily lives. Muslims are not allowed to eat or drink during the daylight hours. Smoking and sexual relations are also forbidden during fasting. At the end of the day the fast is broken with a meal called the Iftar. The fasting person must abstain from lying, cheating, argumentation, fighting, foul language and every sort of evil. These are considered offensive at all times, but are most offensive during the Fast of Ramadan.
During Ramadan, Muslims continue with their prayers five times a day, but after the night prayer is performed, a special prayer called Taraweeh is performed. This is a voluntary prayer that consists of reading the Quran during the time of Ramadan. The length of this prayer is usually 2-3 times as long as the daily prayers. In many mosques the whole Quran is read during Taraweeh prayers over the month. In some mosques it is read several times.
When Ramadan arrives, everybody congratulates his neighbors and relatives. You can see the happiness all over.