Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic year observed by Muslims all of the world to practice reflection and spiritual healing through fasting. Ramadan falls during this month because this is when the first verses of the Qur’an (holy book) were revealed to Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). Fasting means eating for a period of time before dawn (suhoor) to prepare for a day without consuming food and drink until the time of sunset which signals for the opening of the fast (iftar).
Fasting is really important for Muslims, not only is it the fifth pillar of Islam (the groundwork of the whole religion), but it's an opportunity for building a closer relationship with Allah. The practice of fasting is also a reminder of social purposes and human frailty, to understand the position of the poor and needy and the moral duty to help each other in the community, reminding us that sustenance is provided by Allah.
This year with lockdown in effect, Ramadan will be celebrated with close family at home instead of the usual get together with the entire family. Muslims usually attend local Mosques regularly for worship and to pray the special Taraweeh prayer in the month of Ramadan, this will also be fulfilled at home for the time being (although some Mosques and many TV channels have set up virtual services for people to watch at home!).
A fun fact: Muslims follow the lunar calendar which is based on the cycle of the moon so there is no fixed date like the Gregorian calendar, therefore dates change each year. Everyone gathers to check for the sighting of the moon so they can declare that Ramadan has begun.
To celebrate the end of Ramadan, Muslims celebrate Eid to mark the joyous occasion. Plenty of food is prepared, alongside cakes and treats for everyone. Families usually gather at their elder’s homes to celebrate and traditional clothing is worn. People adorn themselves with different types of jewellery and of course, (my favourite!) mehndi (henna) in all sorts of patterns and designs.
With that said, Ramadan Kareem to all and stay safe everyone!
More Huddersfield Students' Union Articles