What Ramadan means?
Vinod C. Dixit
Ramadan always falls on the ninth month of the 12-month Islamic calendar. Ramadan 2021 begins at sunset on Tuesday, April 13, and may ends on Thursday, May 13.The observance of Ramadan is very personal and individual and is a time for “sacrifice and renunciation as well as a period of reflection and spiritual growth.
Ramadan is the ninth month in the Muslim lunar calendar. Healthy adult Muslims fast in Ramadan from dawn until dusk. This includes abstaining from drinking, eating, immoral acts and anger. Other acts of worship such as prayer, reading the Quran and charity are also encouraged during the holy month.
According to the teachings in Islam, Ramadan holds greater importance as it is the first time when Allah SWT (God) revealed the Quran (Holy book of Muslims) to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The fasting during this month is considered as one of the five pillars of Islam. There is also a verse in the Quran that prescribes fasting for all Muslims who are mature and healthy enough to do so for the full day.
Each pillar denotes an obligation of living a good Muslim life. The others include reciting the Muslim profession of faith, daily prayer, giving alms to the poor and making a pilgrimage to Mecca.
Ramadan is celebrated with a three-day festival known as Eid al-Fitr, one of Islam’s major holidays. It is said that the month of Ramadan is that in which was revealed the Quran, guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion.” It is an anniversary of the Book of guidance, which transformed the illiterate Arabs into the most cultured and civilised people within a short period — the shortest in human history.
Muslims go to work and school and take care of their usual activities during Ramadan; however, some also read the entire Quran, say special prayers and attend mosques more frequently during this time. Muslims fast as an act of worship, a chance to get closer to God, and a way to become more compassionate to those in need. Ramadan, one of the months in the Islamic calendar, was also part of ancient Arabs’ calendars.
The naming of Ramadan stems from the Arabic root “ar-ramad,” which means scorching heat. Muslims believe that in A.D. 610, the angel Gabriel appeared to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and revealed to him the Quran, the Islamic holy book. That revelation, Laylat Al Qadar—or the “Night of Power”—is believed to have occurred during Ramadan. The Quran deals with practically every subject related to human life and all branches of knowledge. Teaching someone is considered as an “ongoing charity” — such a person gets rewarded continuously even after his death.
Different cultures have different traditions during Ramadan, whether it is a special food they must cook, or eating Iftar with the extended family. Islamic tenets such as generosity inspired most of these traditions, including sharing food and inviting guests over for Iftar.
During Ramadan, Muslims aim to grow spiritually and build stronger relationships with Allah. They do this by praying and reciting the Quran, making their actions intentional and selfless, and abstaining from gossiping, lying, and fighting.
The month of Ramadan is also a month of forgiveness. Allah SWT is the most forgiving to all his believers. Most Muslims would make use of this holy month to pray for forgiveness for the sins, intentional or unintentional, they’ve committed in the past year.
(The author is a Journalist based in Ahmedabad. He can be reached at [email protected])