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Ramadan 2020 Special: Is Ramadan Fasting Healthy | Ramadan Mubarak

Ramadan: The month of fasting:

Ramadan Mubarak
Ramadan 2020

Today, we will discuss a very famous festival of Muslims and how do they celebrate this festival. The time has come for the most important festival and month in the life of a Muslim, Ramadan or Ramazan. It is the most awaited time of the year in the life of a Muslim.

This year it begins on 23 April and ends on 23 May. Ramadan is coming and I know a lot of people who are pretty excited about it even though they would have to celebrate it in keeping with the restrictions of a global pandemic.

According to the Islamic tradition, it is said that it was during Ramadan that God revealed to the Prophet Muhammed the Qurʾān as a guidance for people. It is the most sacred month for Muslims. 

It is believed that the Prophet Muhammed said, “When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of heaven are opened as well as the gates of hell are closed. In that case, the devils are chained." Ramazan is the basically ninth month in the Islamic Calendar and is a month of fasting, prayer, reflection, as well as the community. It begins and ends with the appearance of the full moon. 

💥Why Ramadan is Important in Islam?

There is no doubt as to how much Ramadan means to Muslims. For them, it is a period of introspection, communal prayer in the mosques, and reading of the Qurʾān. It is a belief that God forgives the past sins of those who observe the holy month with fasting, prayer, and faithful intention. 

It is not so much about atonement than a period for Muslims to practice self- restraint in keeping with ṣawm which means to refrain in Arabic, and is one of the pillars of Islam. 

Although it is most commonly understood as the obligation to fast, it has a much broader meaning that it is an obligation to refrain between dawn and dusk from food, drink, sexual activity as well as all forms of immoral behavior which also include impure and unkind thoughts as false words and bad deeds are as destructive to the fast as eating or drinking are. 

Not just that, Muslims are supposed to abstain from gossiping, jealousy, swearing, and complaining.
There might be strict rules for fasting, but there are guidelines to be followed. And not everyone partakes in the fast. Old people, weak people, travelers on long journeys, pregnant or nursing women, and the mentally ill ones, these are all people who are exempt from fasting. 

Additionally, if someone unintentionally breaks fasting, it can be substituted with an extra day of fasting. Or if someone falls ill or if travel is required, they too can substitute extra fasting days. 
The end of the Ramazan is celebrated as Eid al-Fitr which means  “Feast of Fast-Breaking” and it is one of the two major holidays in the Muslim religion. 

In some communities, it is quite an elaborate affair whilst it is kept lowkey in some. If it is an elaborate affair, children wear new clothes, women wear white, special sweets are baked, exchanging of gifts takes place, families visit graves of relatives and gather for meals and prayers on mosques. 

Ramadan is not as serious as it sounds. No, on the contrary, it is a pretty joyous time, families come together to spend time with each other and feast for three days after the month ends. It is a time for joy and for celebration, to be spent with loved ones and to just enjoy.

Muslims wake up before dawn, to eat the first meal of the day, then perform the morning prayer. After the evening call to prayer is made, they break the day’s fast with a very light snack which is called iftar, before praying.

Some also go to the mosques for a special prayer that is only recited during the month of Ramadan. This is usually followed by a larger meal which is usually shared with friends and families. 

There is a bit of difference between how Shiya and Sunni Muslims observe the fast. Like Sunnis break the fast at sunset, whilst the Shiyas wait until the sun and the redness of the sky has completely disappeared. 

Shiyas also celebrate an additional holiday within the month of Ramadan that the Sunnis do not. For three days, 19th, 20th, and 21st, they commemorate the martyrdom of Ali ibn Abi Talib. It is no doubt a hard period for the Muslims as abstaining from food for so long is not easy. 

We as non-muslims should perhaps be a little sensitive to them at this point in time. If you share an office or a cubicle with a co-worker, maybe eat your delicious meals in the break room or somewhere exclusive so that they don’t have to suffer through the smells and look of food. 

Do not offer them food, it is quite easy to forget that one is fasting sometimes and absentmindedly take the offered food. 

Hints 4 You.
Thanks for giving me your precious time.
We will meet again via the next post.

💬Contributed by: Mansidak Kaur

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