At the time I am writing this, Ramadan will be starting the next day. I live in area of Canada that has a fair number of Muslims and yet I find that many people are ignorant about Islam. As a result, I thought I would share five things that you should know about Ramadan so that you are better able to talk to your Muslim friends.
- Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and the fast takes place in this month because it is believed that it was during this month that the Qur’an was revealed. The name for the month comes from the Arabic word for scorching heat or dryness.
- Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam and it is required for all adult Muslims. There are exceptions for people who are pregnant, ill and so on.
- The fasting takes place during the day only. Muslims are allowed to eat and drink when the sun is down. The fast includes not just food, but also drink, smoking and sex.
- Muslims are encouraged to increase in the areas of prayer and charity, as well as reciting the entire Qur’an.
- Areas of the world that have midnight sun or polar night follow the timetable of Mecca.
Here is one of the verses from the Qur’an that commands fasting during Ramadan:
The month of Ramadan is that in which was revealed the Quran; a guidance for mankind, and clear proofs of the guidance, and the criterion (of right and wrong). And whosoever of you is present, let him fast the month, and whosoever of you is sick or on a journey, a number of other days. Allah desires for you ease; He desires not hardship for you; and that you should complete the period, and that you should magnify Allah for having guided you, and that perhaps you may be thankful. Qur’an 2:185
This information is offered to inform you about the beliefs of others. The more we know, the more we are able to have intelligent conversations with people have a different belief system.