Ramadan, the holy month of fasting and prayer, is celebrated by almost 2 billion Muslims worldwide. Islam, as the world’s second-largest religion, brings together about 25% of the world’s population. This year, Ramadan begins on March 22 or 23, depending on the country, and lasts until about April 21.
Ramadan is celebrated differently in various countries of the Muslim world, with differing pronunciations of the word Ramadan. Muslims believe that all scriptures were revealed to the prophets during the month of Ramadan, and the Prophet Muhammad is believed to have received the first Qur’anic revelation from Allah on one of the five odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan. Many believe that the practice of fasting has always been necessary for believers to reach Taqwa, the fear of God, and is not an innovation.
During Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, refraining from food and water throughout the day. The fast lasts the entire month and ends with Eid-el-Fitr or Uraza-Bairam, depending on the tradition of the country. The first meal of the day, suhur, must be completed before dawn, and the evening meal, iftar, is taken after sunset. Planning the morning and evening menus is a special part of Ramadan for the fasting.
Ramadan is not just about fasting but also about behaving honorably, improving oneself, and doing good deeds for one’s relatives and neighbors. Everyone is encouraged to help the disadvantaged, and feeding the fasting people after sunset is considered a good deed. Exceptions are made for pregnant and lactating women, those who have not reached puberty, the elderly, and those with chronic diseases.
In European countries, Ramadan is observed by many Muslim communities. In the UK, around 6.5% of the population is Muslim, and Ramadan begins on March 22. In France and Spain, believers begin the holy fast on the same day. In Russia, Muslims make up about 10% of the population, and Ramadan begins on March 21 and ends on April 20 in the evening.
In conclusion, Ramadan is a holy month of fasting and prayer celebrated by almost 2 billion Muslims worldwide. Muslims believe that Ramadan is a time for improving oneself, behaving honorably, and doing good deeds. The observance of Ramadan differs across various countries and regions, but the general principles remain the same. It is a time of self-discipline, reflection, and giving back to the community.