Do you know that there’s a month every year in which Muslims fast every day? And the fast is so strict that they don’t even consume water! Yes, you read right Ramadan.
The crescent moon was sighted last evening in major parts of the world, marking the beginning of the month of Ramadan, the most auspicious month for many of the 1.9 billion Muslims across the world. However, although Islam is the world’s fastest-growing religion—on its way to replacing Christianity as the largest religion across the world—there’s a large group of non-Muslims who are not aware of Ramadaan and its significance. If you are also one of them, here are 10 facts about Ramadan that will amaze you.
8 things to know about Ramadan
- Ramadan is the ninth and the most sacred month in the Islamic calendar. It is also known as one of the five pillars of Islam.
- The dates of Ramadan change every year as the Islamic calendar is based on the moon cycle.
- The regime of fasting during the Ramadaan month started in 624 CE, 2 years after the beginning of the Islamic calendar.
- During the whole month of Ramadan, a majority of Muslims around the world fast from sunrise to sunset every day. Young children, pregnant, breastfeeding women or those on periods, elderly people, and people with some health issues are not expected to fast.
- Muslims are allowed to have a meal before sunrise and after sunset. The meal before sunrise is called ‘Suhoor (of the dawn)’ while the meal after sunset is called ‘Iftar (break of the fast)’.
- For many, Ramadan is the best time to get closer to god, pray, spend time with their beloved people, remember the unfortunate, and support the needy.
- By the end of the holy month, adults who get more food than they need must pay Zakat al-Fitr, a contribution to support charities. The contribution is usually £5 or US$7 per head.
- You’ll be surprised to know that the sales of Vimto, a soft drink sold primarily in the UK, increased every year during Ramadaan. This is because many British Muslims consume a glass of Vimto to break their fast.
- During the month of Ramadaan, many schools and offices in Muslim-majority countries shut early.
- ‘Eid-al-Fitr’ is celebrated at the end of Ramadan. It is one of the largest festivals in Islam where people gather, share gifts, and show their empathy towards the almighty.
We hope this gave you a brief idea about Ramadan. So now the next time you find a Muslim friend following Ramadaan, greet him/her by arranging a surprise Iftar at your place!