Ramadan and Eid at Hylton!

Ramadan

Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic calendar, during Ramadan over a billion Muslims fast along with their five daily prayers. The 4th call to prayer called maghrib, meaning sunset in Arabic, is when Muslims are allowed to break their fast with a feast called iftar. Each year, the start of Ramadan falls on a different day on the Gregorian calendar. This year it started on April 2nd and ends on the night of May 1st.

Muslims start each day with a meal called suhoor which takes place right before Fajar, or, sunrise. 

Very much like the Catholic tradition of giving something up for Lent, Muslims give up eating and drinking water to help strengthen their relationship with God, and to remind them of the less fortunate. Ramadan was chosen to be the holy month because it was when God introduced the Quran, which is the holy book in Islam, to the world.

The things that Muslims abstain from doing during Ramadan are, but are not limited to:

  • Eating
  • Drinking water
  • Negative thoughts 
  • Bad actions 
  • Smoking 
  • Taking medicine 
  • Drugs

For many Muslims in the world, Ramadan becomes a time to be around family, usually opening their fast surrounded by loved ones. Throughout the day to make the fast easier, many Muslims sleep, play games, and pray. At the end of the month of Ramadan, Muslims celebrate a holiday called Eid al-Fitr, meaning Festival of Breaking Fast. Young kids are usually rewarded for fasting with gifts of money and other things. Eid is a time for family and gift sharing. Kids are not required to fast until they hit puberty, along with kids the sick are required to fast.

Every Muslim country has different traditions during Ramadan, turkey for example uses over 2,000 drummers to wake people up for suhoor. This is a tradition going all the way back to the days of the Ottoman Empire. In Egypt, colorful lanterns are lit which is more of a cultural tradition rather than religious. One tradition all Muslims follow is opening their fast with a date, a date is a sweet fruit found all around the Middle East. Dates are high in sugar and after a long day of fasting most people’s blood sugar levels are low, so eating a date can help you feel normal quickly.

 

As previously mentioned, Islam is a month to gain empathy for the less fortunate so zakat which is a mandatory donation to charity. Zakat is usually 2.5% of a Muslim’s net worth but it is encouraged to give more but not mandatory. During Ramadan, you will see many people giving away food for free not only to the less fortunate but to everyone. Neighbors will give each other platters of food and in Pakistan restaurants will give food away to homeless people, even a mosque which is a place of worship for Muslims prepares large amounts of food for their community for free. You can see the effects of Ramadan even in non-Muslims. Many non-Muslims will fast for one day alongside their Muslim friends just to see what it’s like, and after that, they usually find a new sense of empathy for their Muslim friends. Other effects of Ramadan are ceasefires all around the world so that people can fast in peace. This year, Yemen called a cease-fire all around the country.

Nasir al-Mulk Mosque

Ramadan is a very important month to over a billion people, so being aware of it happening might help you understand what’s going on around the world. Whether this is your first time hearing about it or you have been fasting since you were a kid, Ramadan Mubarak (Happy Ramadan)!