Information on the holy month of Ramadan - part1

Q: What is Ramadan?
A: Ramadan is the ninth (9) month of the Islamic calendar. In this month Muslims all over the world fast from dawn to dusk.

Q: When does Ramadan begin?
A: Muslims follow the Islamic Lunar calendar which is about eleven (11) days shorter than the Georgian calendar. This makes a lunar year 354 days long in comparison to 365 days in a Solar year. The beginning of the Islamic lunar months depends on the actual sighting of the new moon. Thus Ramadan begins on a different day each

Q: Is it not an inconvenience to begin the fasting period at different times during a year?
A: No, on the contrary the lunar calendar gives us a chance of fasting during different seasons of the year. Throughout a Muslim’s lifetime, Ramadan will fall both during fall and winter months, when the days are short, as well as spring and summer months, when the days are long and the fast is little more difficult. In this way, the difficulty of the fast is evenly distributed between Muslim’s living in the northern and southern hemispheres.

Q: What is meant by Sawm, Roza(fasting) during Ramadan?
A: In Ramadan, Muslims abstain from food, drink, smoking and other sensual pleasures from dawn to dusk. The fast is performed to obey God’s command with an aim to inculcate discipline, humbleness and self-restraint,to experience what the poor and destitute feel, and to develop the noble habit of generosity.

Q: How did the fast during Ramadan become obligatory for Muslims?
A: The revelations from God to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) that would eventually be compiled as the Qur’an began in the year 610 CE. The obligation to fast is explained in the second chapter of the Qur’an: “O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may become careful about your duties toward God ... Ramadan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur’an, as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (between right and wrong). So every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting...” (The Qur’an, Chapter 2, verses 183 and 185)

Q: Do Muslim’s gain anything from fasting?
A: The main benefits of Ramadan are an increased humbleness and compassion for those in need of the necessities of life, a sense of self-purification and reflection, and a renewed focus on spirituality. Muslim’s also appreciate the feeling of togetherness shared by family and friends throughout the month. Perhaps the greatest practical benefit is the yearly lesson in self-restraint and discipline that is carried forward to other aspects of a Muslim’s life.

Q: Do all Muslim’s fast in Ramadan?
A: Fasting is compulsory for all Muslim’s who are mentally and physically fit, past the age of puberty, in a settled situation (not traveling), and are sure that fasting is unlikely to cause real physical or mental injury.

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