What is Ramadan? Some questions answered by our youth worker Amin

What is Ramadan? Some questions answered by our youth worker Amin

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This year Ramadan began on Friday 24th April and will continue until Saturday 23rd May. We know many young people across Sheffield will be celebrating Ramadan a bit differently this year due to social distancing restrictions, and we hope they’re staying safe and well during this special but challenging time. But what is Ramadan? Our youth worker Amin has been answering some of your questions.

What is Ramadan?

The holy month of Ramadan is observed by over a billion Muslims from across the world and is regarded as the most special month of the year, as it was the month in which the Quran was revealed to Prophet Mohammed (PBUH).

In Islam, Muslims fast for the full ninth lunar month, which is called Ramadan.  The fast starts at dawn and ends at sunset everyday of Ramadan. Ramadan is a period of increased devotion. In it, Salaat (prayers) are normally performed with greater intensity over 30 days until the reading of all the chapters of the Quran are completed, culminating in the celebration of Eid al-Fitr or the Festival of the Breaking of the Fast.

Why a fast?

Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam, along with the Muslim declaration of faith, daily prayer, charity and performing the hajj pilgrimage in Mecca. The practice of fasting is intended to bring the faithful closer to God and to remind them of the hardships of the less fortunate. Therefore the month of Ramadan is also a time for Muslims to practice, self-discipline, sacrifice, civil conduct and empathy for those in need. It encourages generosity and charity. Muslims actively donate to charities during this month and feed the hungry.

How do Muslims observe Ramadan?

All Muslims are required to fast everyday throughout ramadan, though there are exceptions for those who are ill, pregnant or nursing, menstruating or traveling, and the elderly. Children are not required to fast unless they have reached puberty, although many still do out of choice.

In addition to abstaining from eating any food, drinking any liquids, Muslim’s also refrain from smoking, defamation of others and engaging in any sexual activity, from dawn to sunset.

When do Muslims end their fast?

Fast may be broken at sunset before Maghrib prayers after ‘Azaan’ (call for prayers). This occurs just after sunset. Dates are traditionally the first food to be eaten each evening. The fast-breaking meal is called Iftar. After a sunset prayer large meals are the norm, usually with family and friends. Suhoor is a meal taken just before sunrise, before the day of fasting starts.

What comes after Ramadan?

Ramadan ends after 29 or 30 days. Eid al- Fitr is the annual three- day celebration that happens immediately after the last day of Ramadan. Children often receive new clothes, gifts and cash. Muslims attend early morning Eid prayers the day after Ramadan.

What are some phrases I might hear said at this time of year and what do they mean?

Ramadan mubarak = Blessed Ramadan

Ramdan Kareem = Happy/generous Ramadan

Mubark aleik al shahr = May you get the blessings of the mont

How you can help

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