What is Ramazan?

4-A-man-prays-at-the-Grand-Mosque-of-Saint-Denis-near-Paris-on-May-28-2017-during-the-holy-fasting-month-of-Ramazan.jpg

What is Ramazan?

Starting this week, millions of Muslims around the world will recognize Ramazan with prayer and dawn-to-dusk fasting for a month.

Here’s what you should know about the Islamic holy day.

Ramazan is a month when Muslims fast and pray to grow closer to Allah. It’s a time to improve moral character and focus on positivity. Observance is one of the Five Pillars of Islam.

When is Ramazan?

Ramazan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It can last between 29 and 30 days.

The dates vary each year, depending on a moon-sighting methodology. The length of fasting also changes based on location. For example, fasting hours range between 10 hours in Chile and 21 hours in Greenland this year, according to Al Jazeera.

In Pakistan, the fast will last 12.5 hours from 5:54 a.m to 7:17 p.m.

RAMAZAN is called the blessed month because:

In this month, the whole Qur’an was sent down to the first sky from Lawhe Mahfuz.  In the month of Ramazan, there is the night (Laylathul Qadr), which is better than 1000 months. In this month, the thawaab of good deed is equal to the fardh of another month.  In this month, the first ten days are of mercy, second ten days are of forgiveness and the last ten days are of being freed from Hell. Ramazan is the most important month of the year for muslims. It is the month that the believers await with eagerness. During Ramazan the believers get busy seeking Allah’s mercy, forgiveness, and protection from Hellfire.

What can Muslims eat or drink?

Nothing, during fasting hours. A single sip of water would break the fast. Muslims can eat a pre-dawn meal (usually packed with power foods like dates, potatoes, yogurt etc.) to get them through the day. After sunset prayer, Muslims are also allowed to eat and drink as part of iftar, a feast with family and friends.

A volunteer distributes free food for people to break their day-long fast during the Islamic month of Ramadan on a street in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Monday, June 13, 2016. Muslims across the world are observing the holy fasting month of Ramadan, when they refrain from eating, drinking and smoking from dawn to dusk. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)

Fasting isn’t the only thing Muslims are asked to abstain from. No , smoking, swearing, arguments or gossip allowed. Basically, Muslims shouldn’t do anything that can be seen as sinful during Ramazan.

A Pakistani Muslim recites the Quran at a mosque during the Islamic month of Ramadan, in Peshawar, Pakistan, Friday, June 17, 2016. Muslims across the world are observing the holy fasting month of Ramadan, when they refrain from eating, drinking and smoking from dawn to dusk. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)

Are Muslims punished if they don’t observe Ramazan?

Yes, in some countries, it’s a crime not to fast. For example, an adult seen eating in public in Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates can be fined or jailed. Aside from legal implications, not fasting is considered by some a major sin.

Does every muslim have to fast? 

Pregnant, breastfeeding and menstruating women are exempt from the fast. Children, the elderly and the ill also are not required to observe fast.

Pakistani men buy sweets ahead of the Muslim festival of Eid ul-Fitr, a three day celebration which marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramazan, Peshawar, Pakistan.

A Pakistani religious student takes a nap in a class during the Islamic month of Ramadan, in Peshawar, Pakistan, Friday, June 17, 2016. Muslims across the world are observing the holy fasting month of Ramadan, when they refrain from eating, drinking and smoking from dawn to dusk. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)

What happens at the end of Ramazan?

The last 10 nights of Ramazan is a time of intense worship, followed by a three-day holiday. Eid al-Fitr, the celebration marking the end of Ramazan, is a time of gifts, food and festivities. Families often head to parks for daytime picnics.

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Source: USA today

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