What Is Ramadan?
For 28-30 days out of a year, Muslims across the world abstain from food, drink, sex, smoking, becoming angered, gossiping and more — from sunrise to sunset. This month-long dedication to self-restraint and serving God is called Ramadan.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and the month Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) began receiving verses of the Qur’an. The Islamic calendar follows the lunar cycles making the months range from 28 to 30 days instead of the set Gregorian calendar. Due to the difference, Ramadan’s start and end date is different every year. Instead, Muslims rely on the sighting of the moon by Islamic scholars to signify that a new month has begun.
Since fasting is one of the five pillars (tenets) of Islam, Ramadan is considered the holiest month for Muslims.
God called for fasting during the month of Ramadan in chapter 2, verse 185 of the Qur’an:
“The month of Ramadan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey — then an equal number of other days. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you, and perhaps you will be grateful.”
Here is a breakdown of what Ramadan is:
- It’s one of the five pillars of Islam.
- It’s an obligatory month of fasting from sun-up to sun-down.
- The month of Ramadan is when Muslims believed the Qur’an was revealed.
- Fasting and prayer during this month means that Muslims’ sins will be forgiven, God willing.
- During the month of Ramadan, the gates of Heaven are open, the gates of Hell are closed and the Devil is chained up.
- During the hours of fasting, food, drink, sex, back-biting and smoking are not allowed. It goes without saying that back-biting should not be done outside of the month of Ramadan as well.
- It is required that each Muslim performing the fast be on their best behavior.
- It is a time when we reflect on life and God, and take this time to practice forgiveness and humility.
This page written by Amanda Sadler.