Ramadan is the ninth month in Hijri calendar and it is a holy special month in the Islamic world. Muslims celebrate it as the month of Quran; the holy book for Muslims, and they fasten, pray and do many other rituals. The concept of fastening between dawn and sunset is to feel the poor, understand the feelings of them and also band together. By the end of Ramadan, Muslims celebrate Eid El Fitr, which is one of most important feasts in Islam.
Some may think that the month of Ramadan was named after Islam or by Muslims, but it is a common mistake. Ramadan was named way before Islam by Arabs. Ramadan is the name of a verb means “Extremely hot” as Arabs used to name every month by what happens during this month like Rabie Al Awl (First Spring) as it came with the start of spring, so they named it Ramadan for being in the heart of summer.
Religious importance of Ramadan:
- Ramadan is very important for all of Muslims as Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, started to receive revelations of the holy Quran, which is the base of Islam.
- Laylat Al Qadr: in the last third of Ramadan, there is a night, which has a very special value name Night of Al Qadr. This night has the value of more than 1000 months, which equals more than 83 years. It wasn’t defined which night in the last 10 days, so Muslims value all the last 10 days and make more effort in worshiping and praying.
- Zakat: Also in Ramadan Muslims pay Zakat that is another pillar of the 5 pillars, Islam is based on (besides Fastening). Every Muslim must pay Zakat before the end of the month for the poor people so that they can celebrate the feast along with them.
- Tarawih prayers: they are a sunnah prayers (Not obligatory) that Muslims also start after Isha prayer (the last prayer in the day) only in Ramadan.
Historical importance of Ramadan:
In addition of being the month in which Prophet Muhammad started to receive revelations, Ramadan has a very rich history as:
- Muslims won the most important battle that helped to shape the history as it is now, the battle of Badr. In 624 AD Muslims achieved their first major victory behind their Prophet and leader, Prophet Muhammad.
- After being immigrated from Mecca, the home of the Prophet and his companions, they had to live in Al Madina for years until finally they managed to win their conquest of Mecca in 630 AD in Ramadan.
Spiritual importance of Ramadan:
Ramadan is the most spiritual month in the year. For 30 days, Muslims stop eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset. The fasting goes far beyond just forbidding eating and drinking for a certain time. During the fast, a Muslim must avoid any sin or forbidden acts, so the fast includes eyes, ears, tongue, hands, legs not just mouse. That’s besides abstaining sexual intercourse during fasting.
Traditions of Ramadan:
- Breakfast cannon: it’s a Fatimid invention in Egypt where during sunset and when the Maghreb’s call starts, a man responsible for the canon fires it to let people know it’s allowed to breakfast. It is still common in some countries like Egypt.
- Almasahrati: he is a man who walks the streets in night before the sunrise, calls people and wakes them up to eat Suhoor before Al Fajr call. It is still common in Egypt to these days.
- Ramadan’s decorations: they are as simple as decorative ropes and light ropes between homes. Also the Lantern, which is a very decorative and distinct way to light streets in the dark before sunrise to help those who want to get to mosque in dark.