What does ‘Ramadan’ mean?
The word Ramadan comes from the Arabic word ‘Ramida’ meaning ‘scorching heat and dryness.’ It also comes from ‘ramda’ which means ‘sun-baked sand.’ In Islamic terminology it refers to the intense heat in the stomach due to thirst which Muslims experience from fasting. ‘Ramadan’ can also refer to the good deeds which scorch the bad deeds during this time.
Why do Muslims fast?
Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam and is therefore seen as act which earns God’s reward of forgiveness and thus expiates one’s sins. Ramadan is also a way for Muslims to exercise will power and control their desires. Islam teaches man to avoid excesses and to engage with their physical desires moderately, fasting is way to prove this. Ramadan is also a time to remember those who are less fortunate and a time to reflect on what it often taken for granted.
How long is Ramadan for?
Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset for approximately 30 days. Therefore the timing is different across the world but the principle remains the same.
Why does Ramadan change each year?
The Islamic calendar is based on lunar months and the new month arrives when a new crescent moon is sighted after sunset. Ramadan is the ninth month in the year and comes two weeks earlier than the last. It is currently the year 1436.
How can you start and break the fast?
It is a requirement for Muslims to eat at sunrise to make the fast easier. The meal known as Suhoor is then followed by a prayer. Iftar, the meal to break the fast at sunset, is opened with dates and water, in accordance with the teachings of Prophet Muhammed.