Month of Blessings
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History and Obligations
Ramadan observed by Muslims worldwide is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. Fasting was made obligatory on all adult Muslims in the Second Year of Hijri (Migration from Makkah to Madinah of Muslims). The only people exempted from keeping a fast are the ones who are travelling, aged, pregnant, diabetic, chronically ill, menstruating or breast feeding. Many children endeavour to complete as many fasts as possible as practice for later life.
Ramadan Practices and Blessings
Ramadan, the 9th month of the Islamic Calendar, is considered one of the most blessed months in Islam. Muslims fast during this month, doing maximum Dhikr of Allah (SWT). The month of Ramadan culminates with the festive occasion of Eid ul Fitr as Muslims thank Allah (SWT), celebrating the festival with religious fervor. This month is full of celebration and festivity as the Muslims immerse themselves in reading the Quran and Duas and spending maximum time doing Dhikr. The Muslims fast the whole month as it teaches them the true meaning of perseverance and tolerance. During this month, Muslims are not only supposed to refrain from eating and drinking during the stipulated timing but they are also required to curb all negative emotions like anger and prove themselves to be the perfect Muslim. Moreover, the Quran was also completed in this month.
How to Fast?
A Fast (sawm) is kept by Muslims from dawn to sunset, timings of which varies in every region. During this time, they refrain from eating food, drinking, smoking and engaging in sexual relations. In Ramadan, Muslims also strive hard to refrain from any sinful behaviour such as lying, cursing, false speech. The food eaten before sunrise is known as Suhoor, and the one eaten after sunset is known as Iftar. During these times, Muslims spend generously to make the food available for whole community (specially the poor one). The rewards of all Good Deeds are increased during the Month of Ramdan, whether it is praying salat or giving charity. This Hadith testifies this fact as well:
“When Ramadan arrives, the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of hell are locked up and devils are put in chains.”(Sahih al-Bukhari 1899)
Each day, before dawn, Muslims observe a pre-fast meal called the suhur. After stopping a short time before dawn, Muslims begin the first prayer of the day, Fajr. Suhur (or sahari) is the pre-dawn meal which is very important during Ramadan since that is what one’s body thrives on all day and should be carefully planned for a steady diet plan that helps you stay healthy.
At sunset, Muslims get together for the iftar Meal to break their Fasts. Just after listening to Maghrib Athan, they recite the Iftar Dua to ask Allah for His sustenance. Dates are usually the first food to break the fast. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) broke fast with three dates according to some traditions. Social gatherings very frequently happen at iftar. Traditional dishes are often highlighted, including traditional desserts, and particularly those made only during Ramadan.
Recite Quran Kareem
In this Holy Month, Muslims are encouraged to Recite Al Quran. Ramadan is a month to remember this biggest blessing and source of guidance mankind was ever given. Tarawih is one of the way Muslims complete the recitation of Holy Quran which are held in Mosques. It is Mustahab (An action which is rewarded, but whose omission is not punishable) for the Muslim to read whole Qur’an during Ramadan and to strive to complete it, but that is not obligatory. Some Muslims do it by Completing 1 Juz’ each day for the 30 Days of Ramadan.
Here is the collection of some of the Verses in Quran about Ramadan.
Lailat ul Qadr
Lailat ul Qadr, also called the ‘Night of Power’ is one of the most coveted nights of the Islamic Year. It is one of the last ten odd nights in the month of Ramadan and is full of blessings. It please Allah (SWT) to see the Muslims fasting during the month to please Him. This month of Ibadah ends with the Muslim festival of Eid ul Fitr.
Nightly prayers (Tarawih)
Tarawih are the extra prayers some Muslim Communities perform at night after Isha Prayers in the Islamic month of Ramadan. They are not mandatory Prayer but are still of utmost Importance.
Zakat is another Pillar of Islam, and giving Charity becomes even more important during Ramadan. It is a way to purify your wealth for the will of Allah (SWT) and is payable on assets owned over one lunar year. The collected Zakat is required to be given to the poor and deserving people. You can calculate this year’s Zakat using IslamicFinder’s Zakat Calculator. In Ramadan, all good deeds are rewarded more than in any other month of the year. This is the why many people choose give Zakat (Sadqa) to poor in this Month.
Itikaf means to be in isolation in a Masjid or at home with the intention of solely dedicating your time to the worship of Allah (SWT). It is Sunnat-al-Muaqidah (Sunnah that is urged to be performed) to sit in Itikaf in the last 10 days of Ramadan. A person may commence Itikaf after sunset of 20th of Ramadan, and end it when the moon for Eid is sighted. The Sunnah stays the same if the month of Ramadan is of 29 or 30 days.