With Ramadan gracing us, I thought its time to shed some light and information about the holy month.
Millions of Muslims around the world mark the start of Ramadan — a month of intense prayer, dawn-to-dusk fasting, and nightly feasts. There are a lot of questions being asked on how the process is for Muslims? Why do they fast? Who gets exempted from fasting?
Here is the top 5 most frequent questions asked, and answered for you.
1. 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.
2. 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.
The 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.
3. 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.
4. 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!
5. What can I do to be respectful and helpful to my Muslim friends during Ramadan?
Showing your support to them is one of the main things you could do for them, I’ve had friends and co-workers who were very supportive and always wanted to learn more about Ramadan and were very admiral of how I would fast with dedication.
Here are a few tips to show your support to your Muslim friend or co-worker.
- If you share an office with someone fasting, maybe eat your delicious, juicy cheeseburger or pizzas in the office break room rather than at your desk, where your Muslim co-workers will have to smell it and find it hard to focus
- Try to remember not to offer them a bite or a sip of what you’re eating, because it’s sometimes hard for us to remember that we’re fasting and easy to absentmindedly accept and eat that potato chip you just offered us. But if you do, it’s okay. We’re not going to get mad or be offended. (as long as it wasn’t done on purpose)
- If you’re having a dinner party and you want to invite your Muslim friends, try to schedule it after sunset so they can eat. Muslims don’t drink alcohol or eat pork, but we usually don’t mind being around it. (Contrary to popular belief, Muslims are not scared of allergic to pork, they just don’t eat it) but do inform them if there’s alcohol or pork in any of the food items as a matter of courtesy.
- Greet your Muslim friends “Happy Ramadan” or to be more caring you could wish them “Ramadan Kareem” (means “Have a generous Ramadan!”) or Ramadan Mubarak (means have a blessed Ramadan!”)
Above all just be caring, and understanding. that would mean a lot to them and besides by being kind to a fasting person, you’re actually doing a good deed no matter what your religion is.
Thank you for reading!