Ramadan: What it means? and how it is observed.

The word Ramadan derives from the Arabic root R-M-D ( ر-م-ض ) which means “scorching heat”. Ramadan is also one of the names of Allah. Ramadan is the month of fast as ordered by Allah in the holy book “The Glorious Quran”, “‘O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, even as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may guard against evil.” (The Holy Quran 2:183).

Observed with Spirituality, devotion, dedication and worship by Muslims round the globe to attain self-improvement. More efforts are put to follow the real teachings of the Holy Book “The Glorious Quran” and the teachings of prophet Muhammed (Peace be upon him).Ramadan (رَمَضَان ) the ninth month in the Islamic calendar considered most sacred month of the Islamic calendar as the Holy Book “The Glorious Quran” was also revealed in this month. During Ramadan, Muslims fast for 29 or 30 days depending on the appearance of the crescent, and the fast begins at dawn and ends at dusk. Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam. Common Ramadan greetings are Ramadan Mubarak and Ramadan Kareem.

The Quran prescribes fasting obligatory for all adult Muslims who are healthy and have no medical issues. People who are severely ill, in travel, children, old-aged, breastfeeding, pregnant, diabetic, or menstruating and likely other medical reasons have been exempted from fasting and all those who are unable to fast are obligated make up the missed days later or if they can’t they have to feed minimum sixty (60) needy people as compensation. As mentioned in the holy book “The Glorious Quran”, “The month of Ramadan is one in which the Quran was sent down as guidance to mankind, with manifest proofs of guidance and the Criterion. So let those of you who witness it fast [in] it, and as for someone who is sick or on a journey, let it be a [similar] number of other days. Allah desires ease for you, and He does not desire hardship for you, and so that you may complete the number, and magnify Allah for guiding you, and that you may give thanks”. (The Holy Quran 2:185)

The fast begins with a predawn meal referred as suhur, and the evening feast that breaks the fast is called iftar. Ramadan is considered as a month of fasting, prayers, charity and self-accountability and deeper self- scrutiny and aims at serving the society, it generates the sense of giving towards the marginal sections of the society. Muslims fast as an act of worship, a chance to get closer to Allah, and a way to become more compassionate to those in need and think about the sufferings of poor, homeless and hungry, feel the pain and hard bearings of the poor sections of the society, it guides Muslims to be more obedient, and less greedy. Muslims pray to be forgiven for their sins, and they pray for help in stopping themselves from doing bad things. The eternal rewards (sawab) of fasting are to be multiplied during Ramadan. Muslims refrain not only from food and drink, but also products like tobacco and wine, also refrain from sexual relations, and sinful behavior, and completely devote themselves to salat (prayer), Quran recitation, and to the charitable deeds to strive for purity and awareness of God (taqwa). It aims to teach Muslims about patience and have strong faith with the creativity of the creator, become a staunch believer upon the teachings of Islam.

Muslims around the world along with fasting focus their attention on giving to charity. Muslims around the world donate in charity during the holy month of Ramadan in terms of Zakaat and Sadqa. The most important aspect of charity is paying the Zakaat which Allah the Almighty Imposed upon us. This is the greatest thing the Muslim should be concerned with because a Muslim should endeavor and hasten to oblige his duties and never delay. Zakaat is one of the five pillars of Islam. Charity is encouraged by Islam all the time and is considered one of the best and most honored deeds. Allah the Almighty urges it in his noble book on many occasions as,
“Who is it that would loan Allah a goodly loan so He will multiply it for him and he will have a noble reward”. (The Holy Quran 57:11).

“And those within whose wealth is a known right – For the petitioner and the deprived” [Quran 70:24-25]
“And spend out of that in which He has made you successors. For those who have believed among you and spent, there will be a great reward”. [Quran 57:7].

In addition, the Prophet (PBUH) said: “Shield yourselves from Hellfire even by giving half a date in charity”. (Saheeh-Al-Bukhari, 1417, the book of Zakat).

Another place Prophet (PBUH) informed us that “Allah the Almighty Accepts charity from its giver with His right Hand and Enlarges its reward to him till it becomes like a mountain”. (Bukhari, the book of Zakat)
Muslims always keen on spending in the paths of good and righteousness as much as they can to follow the example of the Prophet (PBUH) who used to spend in Ramadan like no other month. This proves the virtue of spending in Ramadan in particular.

Important things observed during Ramadan.

Salat-ul-Taraweeh: Night prayers

Taraweeh (Arabic: تراويح ) are extra nightly prayers performed in congregation with zeal and zest by almost all Muslims round the globe during the month of Ramadan. Though, Salat-ul-Taraweeh is not among obligatory prayers.

Quran Recitation

Muslims, with zeal and zest recite the entire Quran, which comprises of thirty sections, over the thirty days of Ramadan. Some Muslims incorporate a recitation of one section into each of the thirty Salat-ul-Taraweeh sessions observed during the holy month.

Aeʿtikaaf (Arabic: اعتكاف ), an Islamic practice of staying in a mosque for a certain number of days starting from the evening of 20th Ramadan to either 29th or 30th of Ramadan depending upon the appearance of the crescent, whereby an individual devotes himself to worship during the stay and remain cut off from the worldly affairs. Aeʿtikaaf prepares a person to stick and adhere to teachings of Islam. Besides during stay one performs nafl prayers (prayers which are not obligatory but performed to attain more devotion), reciting the Qur’an, and reading hadith.
Juma’tul-Widaa‘ (Arabic: جمعة الوداع ): Juma’ah comes from the Arabic root word for “gathering”. Widaa’ means “farewell”. It is the last Friday in the month of Ramadan before Eid-ul-Fitr.

Laylat al-Qadr (Arabic: لیلة القدر ): The Night of Ordainment

Meaning the Night of Decree, Night of Power, Night of Value, Night of Destiny or Night of Measures. Muslims believe it is the night when the Quran was first sent down to the earth and also the night when the first verses of the Quran were revealed to the prophet Muhammad. As “The Glorious Quran” says

“Indeed we (Allah) sent it down on the Night of Ordainment. What will show you what is the Night of Ordainment? The Night of Ordainment is better than a thousand months. In it the angels and the Spirit descend, by the leave of their Lord, with every command. It is peaceful until the rising of the dawn”. [Quran 97:1-5]”

In Muslim world Sunni communities all over the globe observe Laylat al-Qadr on the odd nights of the last ten nights of Ramadan, (21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th or 29th) whereby night precedes day. Few traditions insist particularly on the night before the 27th of Ramadan. Majority of Muslims believe, Laylat al-Qadr was one of the odd-numbered nights of the last ten days of Ramadan. Muslims regard the last ten nights of Ramadan as being specially blessed, and the Night of Qadr comes with blessings and mercy of God in abundance, wrong-deeds are erased, prayers are accepted.

Eid al-Fitr (Arabic: عيد الفطر )

Marked as the end of the Ramadan on the 1st of Shawwal (10th month of the muslim calendar). Observed as the feast of Breaking the fast. Eid al-Fitr literally means “Festival of Breaking the Fast”. This being celebrated as a religious holiday by Muslims round the world has a particular prayer that consists of Two Rakaahs (two
units) mostly performed in open fields or large halls other than mosques and is performed in congregation by both Muslim men and women (Separate space for women is utilized for the Eid al-Fitr prayers).

To conclude, my prayers are with the world in this time of COVID-19 pandemic, may Allah grant us wisdom and knowledge to seek the right path and may Allah relieve us firm this pandemic. As Ramadan teaches us to be humble, have patience and always believe in the oneness of Allah and whatever good or bad it is from Allah. We must always try to improve ourselves in terms of doing good deeds, helping the poor and needy, serving the society and refraining from all wrongdoings.
May Allah guide us to straight path and reward all of us and here and hereafter.

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Sartaj Ahmad
Hi, I am Sartaj Ahmad Bhat, I am a freelance: writer, analyst and online tutor. I am interested in writing about Politics, Relationships, Health & Hygiene, Religion, Education, Sports, and Travel. I am optimistic in nature. I love cricket and chess. I often go fishing in my spare time. I love cooking.

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1 Comment

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