Millions of Muslims around the world mark the start of Ramadan — a month of intense prayer, dawn-to-dusk fasting and nightly feasts.
Here’s more details about Ramadan:
Why do Muslims Fast?
The purpose of fasting is to bring the faithful closer to God and to remind them of the suffering of those less fortunate. Muslims often donate to charities during the month and feed the hungry.
Fasting is also an exercise in self-restraint. It’s seen as a way to physically and spiritually detoxify by kicking impulses like morning coffee, smoking and midday snacking.
Ramadan is a time to detach from worldly pleasures and focus on one’s prayers and spirituality and Family.
Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam, along with the Muslim declaration of faith, daily prayer, charity, and performing the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.
How do Muslims Fast?
Preparing for Fast:
To prepare for the fast, Muslims eat what is commonly called “suhoor,” a pre-dawn meal of power foods to get them through the day.
Breaking of Fast:
Muslims traditionally break their fast with a sip of water and dates at sunset. That first sip of water is by far the most anticipated moment of the day. In Dubai, every day during the holy month of Ramadan, the cannon is fired. This historical and cultural practice signifies the daily time for Iftar.
After a sunset prayer, a large feast is known as “iftar” is shared with family and friends. An iftar is a social event as much as it is a gastronomical adventure. Across the Arab world, juices made from apricots are a staple at Ramadan iftars. In South Asia and Turkey, yogurt-based drinks are popular.
Across the Muslim world, mosques and aid organizations set up tents and tables for the public to eat free iftar meals every night of Ramadan.
Can Muslims be exempted from fasting?
Yes. There are exceptions for children, the elderly, the sick, women who are pregnant or menstruating and people traveling, which could include athletes during tournaments.
How do Muslims mark the end of Ramadan?
The end of Ramadan is marked by intense worship as Muslims seek to have their prayers answered during “Laylat al-Qadr” or “the Night of Destiny.” It is on this night, which falls during the last 10 nights of Ramadan, that Muslims believe that God sent the Angel Gabriel to the Prophet Muhammad and revealed the first verses of the Quran.
The end of Ramadan is celebrated by a three-day holiday called Eid al-Fitr. Children often receive new clothes, gifts, and cash.Muslims attend early morning Eid prayers the day after Ramadan and visit family and friends for Eid!
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