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.[Quran2:185]
Ramadan beginning dates between Gregorian years 1938 and 2038.
Because Hilāl, the crescent moon, typically occurs approximately one day after the new moon, Muslims can usually estimate the beginning of Ramadan; however, many[who?] prefer to confirm the opening of Ramadan by direct visual observation of the crescent.
Laylat al-Qadr is considered the holiest night of the year. It is generally believed to have occurred on an odd-numbered night during the last ten days of Ramadan; the Dawoodi Bohra believe that Laylat al-Qadr was the twenty-third night of Ramadan.
The holiday of Eid al-Fitr (Arabic:عيد الفطر), which marks the end of Ramadan and the beginning of Shawwal, the next lunar month, is declared after a crescent new moon has been sighted or after completion of thirty days of fasting if no sighting of the moon is possible. Eid celebrates of the return to a more natural disposition (fitra) of eating, drinking, and marital intimacy.
The common practice is to fast from dawn to sunset. The pre-dawn meal before the fast is called the suhur, while the meal at sunset that breaks the fast is called iftar.
Muslims devote more time to prayer and acts of charity, striving to improve their self-discipline, motivated by hadith: "When Ramadan arrives, the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of hell are locked up and devils are put in chains."
Ramadan is a time of spiritual reflection, self-improvement, and heightened devotion and worship. Muslims are expected to put more effort into following the teachings of Islam. The fast (sawm) begins at dawn and ends at sunset. In addition to abstaining from eating and drinking during this time, Muslims abstain from sexual relations and sinful speech and behaviour. The act of fasting is said to redirect the heart away from worldly activities, its purpose being to cleanse the soul by freeing it from harmful impurities. Muslims believe that Ramadan teaches them to practice self-discipline, self-control, sacrifice, and empathy for those who are less fortunate, thus encouraging actions of generosity and compulsory charity (zakat).
Exemptions to fasting include travel, menstruation, severe illness, pregnancy, and breastfeeding. However, many Muslims with medical conditions[vague][who?] insist on fasting to satisfy their spiritual needs, although it is not recommended by hadith. Those unable to fast are obligated make up the missed days later.
At sunset, families break the fast with the iftar, traditionally opening the meal by eating dates to commemorate Muhammad's practice of breaking the fast with three dates. They then adjourn for Maghrib, the fourth of the five required daily prayers, after which the main meal is served.
Social gatherings, many times in buffet style, are frequent at iftar. Traditional dishes are often highlighted, including traditional desserts, particularly those made only during Ramadan.[example needed] Water is usually the beverage of choice, but juice and milk are also often available, as are soft drinks and caffeinated beverages.
In the Middle East, iftar consists of water, juices, dates, salads and appetizers; one or more main dishes; and rich desserts, with dessert considered the most important aspect of the meal. Typical main dishes include lamb stewed with wheat berries, lamb kebabs with grilled vegetables, and roasted chicken served with chickpea-studded rice pilaf. Desserts may include luqaimat, baklava or kunafeh.
Zakāt, often translated as "the poor-rate", is the fixed percentage of income a believer is required to give to the poor; the practice is obligatory as one of the pillars of Islam. Muslims believe that good deeds are rewarded more handsomely during Ramadan than at any other time of the year; consequently, many[who?] donate a larger portion—or even all—of their yearly zakāt during this month.
Tarawih (Arabic: تراويح) are extra nightly prayers performed during the month of Ramadan. Contrary to popular belief, they are not compulsory.
Recitation of the Quran
Muslims are encouraged to read the entire Quran, which comprises thirty juz' (sections), over the thirty days of Ramadan. Some Muslims incorporate a recitation of one juz' into each of the thirty tarawih sessions observed during the month.
On the island of Java, many believers bathe in holy springs to prepare for fasting, a ritual known as Padusan. The city of Semarang marks the beginning of Ramadan with the Dugderan carnival, which involves parading the Warak ngendog, a horse-dragon hybrid creature allegedly inspired by the Buraq. In the Chinese-influenced capital city of Jakarta, firecrackers are widely used to celebrate Ramadan, although they are officially illegal. Towards the end of Ramadan, most employees receive a one-month bonus known as Tunjangan Hari Raya. Certain kinds of food are especially popular during Ramadan, such as large beef or buffalo in Aceh and snails in Central Java. The iftar meal is announced every evening by striking the bedug, a giant drum, in the mosque.
Common greetings during Ramadan include Ramadan mubarak and Ramadan kareem.
During Ramadan in the Middle East, a mesaharati beats a drum across a neighbourhood to wake people up to eat the suhoor meal. Similarly in Southeast Asia, the kentonganslit drum is used for the same purpose.
In some Muslim countries, failing to observe the Ramadan fast is a crime. The sale of alcohol is prohibited in Egypt.
In Kuwait, the penalty for eating, drinking or smoking during daytime is a fine of no more than one hundred Kuwaiti dinar or incarceration for no more than one month, or both. In some United Arab Emirates jurisdictions, eating or drinking in public is considered a minor offence punishable by up to one hundred fifty hours of community service. Courts in Saudi Arabia, described by The Economist as taking Ramadan "more seriously than anywhere else", may impose harsher punishments, including flogging, imprisonment and, for non-Muslim foreigners who consume food or drink in public, deportation. In Malaysia, breaking the fast prior to sundown may result in arrest by the religious police, while the sale of food, drink, or tobacco for immediate consumption can incur a fine of up to one thousand ringgit and six months' imprisonment, penalties that are doubled for repeat offenses. Courts in Algeria have imposed fines and prison sentences for violations of Ramadan regulations.
Some countries impose modified work schedules. In the UAE, employees may work no more than six hours per day and thirty-six hours per week. Qatar, Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait have similar laws.
Ramadan fasting is safe for healthy people, but those with medical conditions should seek medical advice if they encounter health problems before or during fasting. The fasting period is usually associated with modest weight loss, but weight can return afterwards.
The education departments of Berlin and the United Kingdom have tried to discourage students from fasting during Ramadan, as they claim that not eating or drinking can lead to concentration problems and bad grades.
Ramadan fasting can be potentially hazardous for pregnant women as it is associated with risks of inducing labour and causing gestational diabetes, although it does not appear to affect the child's weight. It is permissible to not fast if it threatens the woman's or the child's lives.
The correlation of Ramadan with crime rates is mixed: some statistics show that crime rates drop during Ramadan, while others show that it increases. Decreases in crime rates have been reported by the police in some cities in Turkey (Istanbul and Konya) and the Eastern province of Saudi Arabia. A 2005 study found that there was a decrease in assault, robbery and alcohol-related crimes during Ramadan in Saudi Arabia, but only the decrease in alcohol-related crimes was statistically significant. Increases in crime rates during Ramadan have been reported in Turkey,Jakarta, parts of Algeria, Yemen and Egypt.
Various mechanisms have been proposed for the effect of Ramadan on crime:
An Iranian cleric argues that fasting during Ramadan makes people less likely to commit crimes due to spiritual reasons.Gamal al-Banna argues that fasting can stress people out, which can make them more likely to commit crimes. He criticized Muslims who commit crimes while fasting during Ramadan as "fake and superficial".
Police in Saudi Arabia attributed a drop in crime rates to the "spiritual mood prevalent in the country".
In Jakarta, Indonesia, police say that the traffic due to 7 million people leaving the city to celebrate Eid al-Fitr results in an increase in street crime. As a result, police deploy an additional 7,500 personnel.
During Ramadan, millions of pilgrims enter Saudi Arabia to visit Mecca. According to the Yemen Times, such pilgrims are usually charitable, and consequently smugglers traffic children in from Yemen to beg on the streets of Saudi Arabia.
The length of the dawn to sunset time varies in different parts of the world according to summer or winter solstices of the Sun. Most Muslims fast for eleven to sixteen hours during Ramadan. However, in polar regions, the period between dawn and sunset may exceed twenty-two hours in summer. For example, in 2014, Muslims in Reykjavik, Iceland, and Trondheim, Norway, fasted almost twenty-two hours, while Muslims in Sydney, Australia, fasted for only about eleven hours. In areas characterized by continuous night or day, some Muslims follow the fasting schedule observed in the nearest city that experiences sunrise and sunset, while others follow Mecca time.
Ramadan in Space
Muslim astronauts in space schedule religious practices around the timezone of their last location on Earth. For example, this means an astronaut from Malaysia launching from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida would center their fast according to sunrise and sunset in Eastern Standard Time. This includes times for daily prayers, as well as sunset and sunrise for Ramadan.
Employment during Ramadan
Muslims continue to work during Ramadan; however, in some Islamic countries, such as Oman and Lebanon, working hours are shortened. It is often recommended that working Muslims inform their employers if they are fasting, given the potential for the observance to impact performance at work. The extent to which Ramadan observers are protected by religious accommodation varies by country. Policies putting them at a disadvantage compared to other employees have been met with discrimination claims in the United Kingdom and the United States.
^ abSee article "How Long Muslims Fast For Ramadan Around The World" -Huffingtonpost.co /31 July 2014 and article "Fasting Hours of Ramadan 2014" -Onislam.net / 29 June 2014 and article "The true spirit of Ramadan" -Gulfnews.com /31 July 2014
^Underst, Huda Huda is the author of "The Everything; Complete, ing Islam Book: A.; Beliefs, Easy to Read Guide to Muslim; Practices; Traditions; Culture.". "How Do Muslims Celebrate Ramadan?". Learn Religions. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
^Sadeghirad B, Motaghipisheh S, Kolahdooz F, Zahedi MJ, Haghdoost AA (2014). "Islamic fasting and weight loss: a systematic review and meta-analysis". Public Health Nutr. 17 (2): 396–406. doi:10.1017/S1368980012005046. PMID23182306.
^Mirghani, HM; Hamud, OA (January 2006). "The effect of maternal diet restriction on pregnancy outcome". American Journal of Perinatology. 23 (1): 21–4. doi:10.1055/s-2005-923435. PMID16450268.
^Faris, Mo'ez Al-Islam E.; Al-Holy, Murad A. (1 April 2014). "Implications of Ramadan intermittent fasting on maternal and fetal health and nutritional status: A review". Mediterranean Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism. 7 (2): 107–118. doi:10.3233/MNM-140011.