Wahid Bhat| Ground Report|
Ramadan, or Ramzan, ninth month of Muslim calendar, is a holy month when Muslims across the world observe fast (Roza) for a month. This year Ramadan in India will begin on May 5 or May 6, depending upon the moon sighting and will last for one complete moon cycle, which is usually 29 or 30 days
This cycle will repeat for the next 29 or 30 days, depending on when the next crescent moon is sighted, which will mean the end of Ramzan.
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is also known as Ramazan, romanized as Ramzan, Ramadhan, or Ramathan) is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting (sawm) to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad according to Islamic belief. This annual observance is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam. The month lasts 29–30 days based on the visual sightings of the crescent moon, according to numerous biographical accounts compiled in the hadiths.
Fasting the month of Ramadan was made obligatory (fard) during the month of Sha’ban, in the second year after the Muslims migrated from Mecca to Medina. Fatwas have been issued declaring that Muslims who live in regions with a natural phenomenon such as the midnight sun or polar night should follow the timetable of Mecca, but the more commonly accepted opinion is that Muslims in those areas should follow the timetable of the closest country to them in which night can be distinguished from day.
Ramadan is one of the “five pillars” of Islam. Adults who are able to fast are required to avoid all food and drink from dawn to sunset for the month.
Rules of Ramzan
The basic rule is no food or drink of any kind from dawn to sunset.
Muslims who are sick or travelling are exempted from observing the fast. They do however have to make up the days they missed, which can be done any time before the next Ramadan begins.
Pregnant women, women who are breastfeeding or menstruating are also exempted from the fast. They must also make up for the missed days at another time.
Intentional Eating or Drinking
If someone eats or drinks due to forgetfulness, a mistake, or coercion, then his fast is still valid and should continue to fast. If you choose to eat or drink, for any reason, then your fast will become invalid.
If one is overcome by the urge to vomit, and vomits unintentionally, then he should continue to fast. If someone chooses to vomit, for any reason, then his fast will become invalid.
Intentional Sexual Intercourse
If one has sexual intercourse while fasting, then he must perform kaffaarah, expiation of the sin. (Fasting continuously for sixty days or if unable then one should feed sixty poor people).
Menstrual or Childbirth Bleeding
The fast becomes invalid during menstrual or post-childbirth bleeding. Even if such bleeding begins just before sunset, the fast of that day is invalid and the day must be made up at a later time.
All the actions mentioned above are agreed upon by all scholars. However, there are some other actions that are not mentioned above which are not agreed upon.
Ramzan guidelines for non-Muslims
There are about 7.6 billion people in the world. And around 24% of them — 1.8 billion are fasting from sunup to sundown. Every day. For an entire month.
But what if you’re not a Muslim just a caring, considerate person. Is there anything you should do so you don’t come across as insensitive to your fasting friends during Ramadan?
You can totally eat in front of us
For the 30 days of Ramadan, Muslims around the world will abstain from eating and drinking during daylight hours. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t carry on business as usual.
It’s true we can’t drink water either. Again, this is part of the Ramzan test and our exercise of spiritual discipline. This is probably why you may not find your friend at the water cooler. Try switching the break time conversation to another location in the office. You should probably also let them skip their turn for the coffee run this time.
What’s spiritual purpose of Ramzan?
Each day, before dawn, Muslims observe a pre-fast meal called the suhur. After stopping a short time before dawn, Muslims begin the first prayer of the day, Fajr.
At sunset, families hasten for the fast-breaking meal known as iftar. Dates are usually the first food to break the fast; according to tradition, Muhammad broke fast with three dates. Following that, Muslims generally adjourn for the Maghrib prayer, the fourth of the five daily prayers, after which the main meal is served.
Social gatherings, many times in a buffet style, are frequent at iftar. Traditional dishes are often highlighted, including traditional desserts, and particularly those made only during Ramadan. Water is usually the beverage of choice, but juice and milk are also often available, as are soft drinks and caffeinated beverages.
Zakat and Sadaqah
Charity is very important in Islam, and even more so during Ramadan. Zakat, often translated as “the poor-rate”, is obligatory as one of the pillars of Islam; a fixed percentage of the person’s savings is required to be given to the poor. Sadaqah is voluntary charity in giving above and beyond what is required from the obligation of zakat.
In Islam, all good deeds are more handsomely rewarded during Ramadan than in any other month of the year. Consequently, many will choose this time to give a larger portion, if not all, of the zakat that they are obligated to give. In addition, many will also use this time to give a larger portion of sadaqah in order to maximize the reward that will await them at the Last Judgment.
Tarawih refers to extra prayers performed by Muslims at night in the Islamic month of Ramadan. Contrary to popular belief, they are not compulsory. However, many Muslims pray these prayers in the evening during Ramadan. Some scholars maintain that Tarawih is neither fard or a Sunnah, but is the preponed Tahajjud (night prayer) prayer shifted to post-Isha’ for the ease of believers. But a majority of Sunni scholars regard the Tarawih prayers as Sunnat al-Mu’akkadah, a salaat that was performed by the Islamic prophet Muhammad very consistently.
Recitation of the Quran
In addition to fasting, Muslims are encouraged to read the entire Quran. Some Muslims perform the recitation of the entire Quran by means of special prayers, called Tarawih. These voluntary prayers are held in the mosques every night of the month, during which a whole section of the Quran (juz’, which is 1/30 of the Quran) is recited. Therefore, the entire Quran would be completed at the end of the month. Although it is not required to read the whole Quran in the Tarawih prayers, it is common.