Published On: Thu, Dec 15th, 2011

What is Ramadan? Why do we celebrate Ramadan?

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By Ameena Drammeh

Introduction: Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which lasts 29 or 30 days. It is the Islamic month of fasting in which participating Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, smoking, and having sexual intercourse with their partners during daylight hours as in intended to teach Muslims about patience, spiritually, humility and submissiveness to God.

Muslims are called upon to use this month to re-evaluate their lives in light of Islamic guidance. We are to make peace with those who have wronged us, strengthen ties with family and friends, and do away with bad habits — essentially to clean up our lives, our thoughts, and our feelings. The Arabic word for “fasting” (sawm) literally means “to refrain” – and it means not only refraining from food and drink, but from evil actions, thoughts, and words.

During Ramadan, every part of the body must be restrained. The tongue must be restrained from backbiting and gossip. The eyes must restrain themselves from looking at unlawful things. The hand must not touch or take anything that does not belong to it. The ears must refrain from listening to idle talk or obscene words. The feet must refrain from going to sinful places. In such a way, every part of the body observes the fast.

Therefore, fasting is not merely physical, but is rather the total commitment of the person’s body and soul to the spirit of the fast. Ramadan is a time to practice self-restraint; a time to cleanse the body and soul from impurities and re-focus one’s self on the worship of God.

Celebrated during the ninth month of Islamic calendar, the fast is observed each day from sunrise to sunset. Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five Pillars of Islam. It is the Islamic belief that requires that Muslims perform five central duties in order to strengthen their faith. While Islam has two major sects, the Sunnis and the Shiites, all Muslims aim to realize these five pillars in their lifetime.

Ramadan concludes with a 3-day festival known as “Eid” or “Eid ul-Fitr,” which literally means “the feast of the breaking/to break the fast.” The holiday marks the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting and is a culmination of the month-long struggle towards a higher spiritual state.

Muslims around the world anticipate the arrival of the holiest month of the year. During Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, Muslims from all continents unite in a period of fasting and spiritual reflection.

Each year, Muslims spend the ninth month of the Islamic calendar observing a community-wide fast. The annual fast of Ramadan is considered one of the five “pillars” of Islam. Muslims who are physically able are required to fast each day of the entire month, from sunrise to sunset. The evenings are spent enjoying family and community meals, engaging in prayer and spiritual reflection, and reading from the Qur’an.

 What is Eid al-Fitr?

Eid al-Fitr (also spelled Eid ul-Fitr) marks the end of the month of Ramadan, the month of fasting. The word Fitr means “to break,” which symbolizes the breaking of the fasting period and of all evil habits.

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  1. Ishteyaq Ahmed says:

    Thnks u so much brother fr givng us such a wonderfl knowledge….

    • Swati says:

      I read Obama’s Book Dreams from my father’ and wodenred how a little gene as early as almost 5 decades ago, chalked out the destiny of this charismatic man.He was destined to shape the world of 2009. Though born to a white mother, and brought up by white grand parents, he threw himself in with the Blacks of America, not knowing anything better; just because one African those many years ago, decided to sire this one man. How confused must he have been, how lost before taking this leap into the dark alleys of the U.S. Perhaps not wanting to but needing to. And look where he was destined to reach ! WOW.I am always touched by the warmth and sincerity in his eyes and very strongly feel that those eyes carry within their depths, the pain and suffering of a huge humanity and will one day, change their lot for the better; there’s no doubt about it.May God Bless him with health, opportunity and perseverance to handle it all.

  2. Dante Scammahorn says:

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    • Sara says:

      Mr. President, I’m a 54-year old American living in Norway with my 49-year old American wife and we both voted for you (the first time I’ve ever voted in any elicteon, as I’ve had it with the Republicans!), but are starting to wonder if we made the right decision when you CONTINUALLY attempt to make health care reform bipartisan (as witnessed by your recent comments on a conservative radio talk show (don’t remember the name of the talk show host, but saw the clip on CNN this past week) where you keep insisting on trying to get the Republicans to work with you. I applaud diplomacy (witness Bill Clinton’s recent trip to North Korea) and wish there would be more of it in Afghanistan (saw that the Afghanis helped to secure the capture of the Talibans’ #2) but how many times do the Republicans have to make it abundantly clear to you that they WILL NOT/DON’T WANT TO WORK WITH YOU before you assert your presidential authority, show some strength in leadership (besides the fact that you have a majority in Congress) and get the public option passed with NO IF, ANDS OR BUTS!!!!!!!!! (assuming that you really want to get it done in the first place). Frankly, if you can’t get it done, my wife and I will be VERY hard pressed to vote for you in 2012 and are starting to think it’s finally time for a viable 3rd party! Stop with the typical Wash/US political flipflopping and GET IT DONE! My wife and I have though about moving back to the US one day (thanks goodness we live in socialist Norway where we don’t have to pay for healthcare) but couldn’t/wouldn’t even be able to consider it until the US starts caring about it’s own people! I assume you’re aware of RAM, which is headed by a guy from the UK named Stan Brock, who recently said they had to pull some of his volunteer staff out of Haiti, Guatemala and India because the need in the US is more critical than in those countries. (what else needs to be said?!) Stop pussyfooting around and GET IT DONE!!! Sincerely, Maury Saslaff

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