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A beginners guide to Ramadan
Ramadan is a very important part of being a Muslim, yet many non Muslims know very little about this special period and what it means.
Ramadan is the 9th month in the Islamic calendar. Considered the most holy and blessed month in Islamic faith, in 2013 it will begin on July 9th. It is a period of fasting, self-evaluation, charitable giving, and spirituality. Ramadan is considered one of the five pillars of Islam, and is observed annual across the world.
Perhaps the most well known part of Ramadan for non Muslims is the fasting. Fasting is considered obligatory for the entire month of Ramadan for all adult Muslims during Ramadan, and the fasting occurs between sunrise and sunset. Everyday, from dawn, fasting Muslims must refrain from consuming food or liquids, including water, until the sun has set that evening. Smoking, sex, swearing and even gossiping are considered to be sinful, and are expected to be refrained from. The period of Ramadan is a period to improve spirituality and refraining from sinful practices encourages a person to reflect upon ones behavior, cleansing the soul.
Breaking The Fast
Called Iftar, the daily fast is usually broken with fresh or dried dates, as according to tradition, Muhammad broke fast with three dates. Often, families and friends gather for Iftar, to consume large buffet style meals of traditional dishes. For example in cities with large Muslim populations like Bradford, restaurants will offer free food to break the fast as people gather for times of reflection with family.
Charity is another important part of Ramadan and Islam on the whole, and during Ramadan many Muslims make an effort to increase their charitable actions. It is believed that all good deeds are more handsomely rewarded during Ramadan than any other time of year.
In addition to fasting, reflection and charity, Muslims are encouraged to read the entire Qu’ran during Ramadan. Many choose to do this via special prayers called Tarawih at mosque each evening.
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Hopefully this post has given you a greater understanding of the holy month. Please use the poll to indicate if this hub has been informative so we can continue to add to it and create many more like it.