Ramadan is the name of a month in the Islamic calendar, the Hijra. Ramadan is coming after the month of Sha'a-baan. Muslims celebrate the Eid Ul-Fitr on the eve of Shawwal. Ramadan is the most sacred month of Islam. Fasting is a must for all believers during this month.
Ramadan is most sacred as the month in which the Holy Quran was revealed to the prophet Muhammad. The Qur'an was revealed as a guide to the people, a truthful discernment and a plan of life. Prophet Muhammad had taken more time to read the Qur'an this month and had joined the Quran in the audience. This is the reason why the believing community pays special attention this month to propagating the Qur'an.
During the fasting, from the beginning to the end of the month, believers will give up drinking and other addictions, and practice spirituality. Engaging in worship and prayers. More time will be devoted to studying and reciting the Qur'an. Mandatory and optional alms will be activated during Ramadan.
Ramadan is also a period of training to build up a believing society of holiness, godliness, discipline, love to fellow-life and charity. It is thought that this training will enable the believer to adjust the mind and body to what the creator wants to be in a true Muslim. For the devotees, this month is a hope that they will be able to overcome all evil deeds done during their lifetime. The Gate of Hell is Closed, the Heavenly Gate is Open and the Devil Is arrested this month, fasting is aimed at physical and spiritual cleansing. Dietary restriction is the most important of the physical benefits of fasting.
Fasting in many religions is in many forms. Ramalan is the fasting form of Islam. It makes fasting a spiritual and a religious practice and it is a way of life. Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five compulsory rites of Islam. Fasting is not mandatory for travellers, patients, children and mentally challenged people. Women do not need to fast during menstruation.
The physical form of fasting is the abstinence of food and drink from morning till dawn. But fasting is not an absolute food sacrifice. God says that if a fasting person does not give up on bad words, deeds and dealings, he does not want the fast. Sahih al-Bukhari, the most trusted codified book of the Qur'an, quotes a prophetic verse. "A faster's eyes should refrain from seeing evil spirits, ears should turn away from hearing, and mind from thinking bad things. The fasting is acceptable only if it is in keeping with the spiritual purity".
Zakat is a very important obligation of Islam. Zakat is, in fact, the tax system of Islam. The Qur'an introduces charity as a right of the poor. Zakat has nothing to do with Ramadan. If the beggars who enter the house are paid five or ten rupees, it is not the Zakat of Islam. It is called swadhaqa (charity). It is not in the category of Zakat. Swadhaqa is an optional task. Zakat is obligatory.
The Qur'an says that during the month of Ramadan there is a night that is more holy than a thousand months. The Quran was revealed on this day. This night is often referred to as the Lailathul Qaddar or the Night of Decision. God has determined the fate of man for a year. The Qur'an also says that the angels will come down to the earth on the orders of God. During the night the mosque are often made a spiritual night by the believers. Lailathul Qadr is most likely to be in the lonely nights of the last ten days of Ramadan. Some scholars say that the 27th night of Ramalan.
Dietary restriction is the physical goal of fasting. Islam forbids fasting venues as a forum for luxury and boasting. Fasting begins with supper as ordered by the Prophet. Get up early and eat some breakfast. This is called Suhoor. The believers conclude the evening with the Maghrib bank. The Prophet taught us to eat only moderate food at this time.
Iftar feasts organized during fasting provide great lessons of friendship. Iftar meetings are held at different levels. From fasting rituals to community rituals at village level, to iftar meetings organized directly by rulers. These are opportunities to get together and share friendships beyond the religious and racial party lines.
The fasting of a month ends with the arrival of the moon in the month of Shawwal month. A special prayer will be held that day, Prayers begin in the morning. There is another obligatory duty that must be performed before the Eid can be reached. That is the Fitr Zakat.
Those who have more than enough food to prepare for the feast of the day are obligated to give the Fitr Zakat. It is not the responsibility of the rich alone. Fitr Zakat is responsible for including the infant born that day. Normal sub-millet grain should be provided in that area. Approximately two and a half kg should be given. Parents should provide for their children. It should be distributed to the poorest of neighbors and others. It is with the spreading of Fitr Zakat that one truly ceases to fast.