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Ramadan - The Holy Month

Wasiya Sultana, X-B, Kuwait Indian School Tuesday, March 29, 2022
Ramadan - The Holy Month

“Ramadan is a month in which the Quran was first orally revealed to the last prophet of Muslims and then gradually over a period of 13 years. “Ramadan Mubarak” which means blessed Ramadan is often used by people to greet each other in this month. Ramadan falls on the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It is the month in which the holy book-Quran was revealed in 610 CE to the last prophet of the Muslims, Prophet Muhammad, by the archangel Gabriel. As Allah SWT mentions in the Quran, “The month of Ramadan is that in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion”. Ramadan is a month which the Muslims worldwide observes as a month of fasting (also in Arabic ‘Swam’), prayer, reflection and community. Muslims believe that fasting in Ramadan will allow them to devote themselves to their faith and come closer to Allah, their God.

The naming of Ramadan stems from the Arabic word “ar-ramad”, that means scorching heat. Prophet Muhammad reportedly said, “When the month of Ramadan starts the gates of heaven are opened, and the gates of hell are closed, and the devils are chained”. In addition to the statement made previously, he also said, “The people will continue to be fine so long as they hasten to break the fast”, regarding to Iftar. To start with Iftar, also known as ‘ftoor’ (which is derived from the Arabic word ‘futur’ meaning ‘breakfast’), is the evening meal with which the Muslims end their fast at sunset. They break their fast during each day of Ramadan, at the time of the call to prayer for the evening prayer known as ‘Maghrib’, also spelled as ‘Maghreb’. On top of that, Sahur or Suhur is the meal consumed early in the morning by Muslims before fasting, before dawn. The meal is eaten before the Fajr prayer. To sum up, Muslims start their fasting with Suhur and end their fast with Iftar. Suhur is arguably the most important element of a successful day’s fast since a well-balanced meal provides a man with the necessary energy to maintain their fitness level throughout the day.

Ramadan is not a physical thing. Fasting is a commitment of the person’s body and soul to the spirit of the fast: a spiritual self-purification method. Considering that Ramadan is all about aiming to ameliorate good moral character and habits. Amidst this time, many people concentrate on establishing self-control and relearning positive life changing habits. Furthermore, the physical effects of fasting in the month of Ramadan is undoubtedly helpful. Fasting may contribute to increasing boost of will power, healthy guts and insulin sensitivity which helps the aid of healthy blood pressure, cholesterol levels, a healthier weight and heart functions, inclusive of reducing the risk of diabetes. Coupled with social effects, it is long established for Muslims to collect and donate to charities and help poor people if they can. Giving charities is equally important to fasting. A report carried out in 2016 in USA calculated Muslims charitable donations at an incredible £38 each second during Ramadan. Fasting also elucidates people to really feel what it’s like to live without food and water. It gives us the shot on how people who are poor live almost every day without access to food. We perceive how frequently we take food for granted and eat out of just pleasure or sometimes even waste food. As the rich undergo and learn to show respect and appreciates the underprivileged.

In parts of the world such as Egypt, the lanterns illuminate streets in a sea of color, creating a beautiful and magical atmosphere. The lantern has become a worldwide symbol which represents the holy month, Ramadan. According to some reporters, the concept of lanterns emerged in Egypt. The moon and star are literally an ancient symbol that hasn’t always been linked to Islam. It was, nonetheless, used to exemplify the rules of the two Islamic empires, the Ottoman Empire and Persian Empire, in the 19th century. Presently, the moon symbol is often used as a representation of Ramadan and Islam. The crescent of the new moon signifies the beginning and end of fasting during Ramadan. The end of Ramadan is marked by Eid al-Fitr after the sighting of the next crescent moon.

Every country and region have their own feast that is widely enjoyed by the people living in that country. Nevertheless, there are few dishes that are the favorites of people globally and have become staples across the globe. The food enjoyed for Suhur lean towards the nutritious side- like fruits that are favored for their hydrating effect, but also breads, rice and fiber-rich dishes to prepare the body for the day fasting. On the other hand, during the Iftar where the Muslims break their fasts, they are served with various courses- from refreshing beverages and soups to tempting deserts. Traditionally, the fast is broken with dates first. Some Muslims usually consider breaking their fast with three dates. This sweet fruit is high in fiber, potassium, magnesium and vitamin B-6.

Additionally, during fasting all the adults must avoid eating any kind of food or drinking till the Iftar. Small children, the elderly, sick people, pregnant and nursing women don’t have to fast or are prohibited to fast. Some food that are enjoyed globally in Ramadan are: Turkish Pide bread, Fattoush salad, Tahini, Ful Medammes, Moroccan Chorba, Spinach and cream cheese Briouats, samosas, Pakora Fritters, Fruit Custard, Iskender Kebab, Middle Eastern Cheese Board, Rice Pudding, Kachori which are lentil stuffed pastries, Fresh fruit salads, Aromatic Lamb etc. Food and desserts that are popular, especially in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, are: Haleem, Kebabs, Chicken Shawarma, Keema Samosa, Mutton Ressala, Dum Biryani, Falafel, Sheer Korma, Aflatoon, Rooh Afza (which is a common sweet fruit flavored drink).

At the conclusion of Ramadan, Muslims celebrate the holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which is the festival of breaking the fast. The Eid begins with the communal Eid prayer. The holiday includes breaking the month-long fast and celebrating together. The people greet each other on Eid day by saying “Eid Mubarak” which means ‘blessed feast’. The prophet says, “Whoever fasts in Ramadan out of faith and in the hope earning good rewards, all his previous sins are forgiven”. During Eid, Muslims are prohibited from fasting in these three days of holiday. Because it is a day to celebrate and enjoy. Children buy and wear new clothes, women usually dress in white, special pastries, desserts are baked and made, families and friends exchange gifts among themselves, the graves of relatives are visited too, and people gather for family meals and to pray in mosques. Eid ul-Fitr is indeed a day enjoyable by all people, rich or poor and that marks the end of the holiest month in Islam, Ramadan. I hope all the people, the deprived and the affluents, enjoy this 2022 Ramadan and Eid with their families and friends. May Allah SWT bless us all in this Ramadan with blessings, happiness, strength and courage.

Wasiya Sultana, X-B, Kuwait Indian School

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Express your comment on this article

Irene Lobo
Sunday, April 10, 2022
Very Well Written
Good Job...

Reeba Renne
Sunday, April 10, 2022
Nice article

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