Ramadan is a holy month of kindness when Muslims fast, pray and nourish their spirituality.
Ramadan is the most sacred moment of the Muslim faith, similar to a holiday, but a month long, it would be the longest party that exists. Also unlike holidays, Ramadan does not commemorate a particular event per se (although Muhammad received his first sacred revelation during this time), it is more a time of focus on the Muslim faith, where adherents put extra effort into practicing the principles of your faith.
Ramadan has no fixed date. The date is determined by a visual sighting of the moon during the ninth month of the lunar islamic calendar. It begins in Hilal, just after the new moon, which may vary by region and year: in 2011, Hilal fell at the beginning of August; in 2012, it fell towards the end of July.
The name Ramadan is the name of the month between the phases of the new moon, not the name of the event that takes place during that month. For a Muslim, Ramadan is not something that is celebrated, necessarily, it is just that one acts in a particular way during the month of Ramadan. Although that does not mean there is no celebration, there is, but not in a “festive” way. For Muslims, the whole month is a sacred and happy moment.
Ramadan ends about 30 days later at the start of the next new moon, at Eid ul-Fitr. Adherents are free to resume their normal activities.
Fasting is the best known aspect of Ramadan. During the entire month-long period, Muslims should not eat or drink from sunrise to sunset, although exceptions are made for the sick, the elderly, children and pregnant women, who are breastfeeding or who are menstruating. But the fact that exceptions are made does not mean that they always take advantage of it. Fasting brings them closer to God, so that most people adhere to fasting, except in extreme circumstances where it can adversely affect their health.
The Ramadan fast is not dangerous for healthy adults. In fact, studies have shown improvements in blood lipid profiles and positive changes in body composition in many supporters. Often, doctors will work with people to prevent fasting from interfering with medical conditions or medications in progress.
They are not hungry? Well, yes, at the beginning. But the body adapts quickly to the fast and the pangs of hunger disappear. Even during fasting, you are allowed one meal before sunrise and one after sunset, although the composition of the meal varies by region and culture.
There is more in Ramadan than in fasting: the month is a focus on total spirituality, and as such, Muslims are expected to avoid negative thoughts, words and actions and embody a deeper devotion to religion.
One of the lessons learned from fasting is deprivation, which inspires generous acts of charity. How good would it be for everyone, regardless of their faith, to take a month to learn how to go without food? How many would come out of the experience with a new empathy for the less fortunate? The Muslim faith places so much emphasis on charity that they even distinguish between two different types.
Zakat is a percentage of the income that is given to the needy. It is a fixed rate, and it is expected of all those who earn enough money to support themselves and their families. It is such a basic and expected thing that it is one of the pillars of the whole faith. Sadaqa, on the other hand, is a purely voluntary contribution; some practice it always, others practice it exclusively during Ramadan, when it is considered that the reward for such generosity is greater.
Even the fasting of the poor during Ramadan and helping a poor person break their fast at dusk is believed to give them both a greater reward. During Ramadan, food donations increase drastically and public places establish areas for the needy to break the fast.
The spirit of the whole month of Ramadan is to share, pray and sanctify. The lights and lanterns are popular decorations, which symbolize the illumination and the way to God. The Muslim feeling during Ramadan reflects the Christian feeling during the month of December; Of course, there is stress and obligation, but everything is so beautiful and spiritual that I wish it would last forever. Ideally, people of both religions would strive to carry that spirit with them throughout the year.