Ramadan in 2019 is expected to begin in the evening of May 5 (i.e. first fasting day on May 6th), and expected to end by the evening of June 4 as per the Gregorian Calendar. The Hijri year is 1440, which Muslims around the world follow. The beginning and end are determined by the lunar Islamic calendar. Hilal, the crescent, is usually a day or more after the astronomical new moon.
‘Lailatul-Kadr’ (the “night of power” or “night of decree”) is considered the holiest night of the year in Islam. Muslims believe the first revelation of the Quran was sent down to our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) on this night. It is believed to occur on an odd-numbered night during the last 10 days of Ramadan – the 21, 23, 25, 27 or 29th.
The celebration of Eid as-Fitr marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
What is the Purpose?
Muslims see Ramadan as a time of spiritual reflection upon oneself, increase in worship and devotion to the Only One, The Creator.
Muslims put more efforts in practicing the teachings of Islam. Fasting helps people to be more self-disciplined and have empathy for those who are less fortunate. The pre-dawn meal before the fast is called the ‘Suhur’, while the meal at sunset that breaks the fast is the ‘Iftar’.
In addition to abstaining from eating and drinking, Muslims also increase restraint, such as abstaining from sinful activities, unnecessary talks, sexual relations. The act of fasting is said to cleanse the soul by freeing it from worldly activities, in addition to abolition of past sins.
As is the tradition, Muslims break fast with Dates at sundown. Muslims then do the Maghreb prayer and then go for a full meal before the longer prayer called ‘Taraweeh’ which immediately is after Isha prayer.
What happens in Ramadan?
Fasting is obligatory for adult Muslims, except those who are suffering from an illness, travelling, are elderly, pregnant, breastfeeding, diabetic, chronically ill or menstruating. Muslims also engage in increased prayer and charity during Ramadan.
Ramadan is also a month where Muslims try to practice increased self-discipline. As well as fasting – abstaining from eating and drinking – Muslims are encouraged to read the entire Quran throughout the month, before the holy festival of Eid-al-Fitr.