The holy month of 'Ramadan' is considered sacred by the Muslim community. From all over the world Muslims are obligated to fast from dawn to dusk. It also comprises offering prayers and also avoiding sinful behavior. There are many unknown and interesting facts about this festival.
Talking about the origin of Ramadan, it is the ninth month of Muslim calendar and is considered as the best of time. During this time Prophet Mohammed was given the holy book 'Quran'. The word 'Ramadan' is derived from an Arabic word meaning scorching heat or dryness.
The fasting referred as 'Swam' is done to cleanse the soul. It is also done to practice self-control, self-discipline, empathy and avoiding any sinful behavior. The fast begins at the dawn and prior to this Muslim observe a pre-fast meal called 'Suhur'. The fast-breaking meal is known as 'Iftar' and dates are considered as the major part of this meal. It was said that Prophet Mohammed broke his fast with eating dates.
The fasting procedure needs to be followed by all the Muslims since puberty. It is mandatory for them to keep fast except for a person who is suffering from any illness or disability. Some other exceptions include travel, menstruation, severe illness, pregnancy, and breastfeeding.
In some Muslim countries, anyone found breaking the fast is penalized and it is also considered a crime. Some countries consider it as a punishable offense which can lead the fast breaker to land in jail.
Muslims also practice charity during this holy month. It is one of the five pillars of Islam and Ramadan is considered as the best month for doing charity work.
The timing of the fast varies from place to place in the different countries. The fasting is done throughout the daylight which can be different in many areas. In some countries it could be for more than 21 hours that's why they have an option of following the times of 'Mecca' and practice fasting according to it.
The holiest of night falls in the month of Ramadan which is referred to as 'Laylat al-Qadr' or 'Night of Power'. It was the first time when God revealed the first verse of 'Quran' to prophet Muhammed.
The end of Ramadan is celebrated all over the world as 'Eid-al-Fitr' and Muslims greet each other by saying 'Eid Mubarak'. Muslims are then allowed to resume all the activities they were not allowed to do during this holy month.