The lunar-based Islamic calendar consists of twelve annually-varying months; a new moon declaring the beginning of each. They call this Hilal meaning “crescent moon”, which they look to every year to determine when their celebrations and Holy days will take place. Ramadan is the ninth month as well as the holiest month of the year to Muslims. It is when the Qur’an was first revealed to Muhammad. You could equate it to the celebration of Lent in Christian religions, obviously with differences. What these observed-times do share are an increase in prayer, fasting (although, Muslims are much more hard-core about this as a whole), abstaining, and charity.
It is believed that fasting, prayer, etc. is good all year round however, when you go above and beyond the extra mile during the time of Ramadan, then your reward is much larger than in any other month. Fasting is obeyed from sunrise to sunset and is seen as helping to clear the mind of worldly matters and to focus on inner-self and self-discipline; Zakat, one of the Five Pillars of Islam is much sought after in deed. Not only does this act generate generosity and a charitable spirit, as well as a disconnect with materials, it fosters humility and purity. Christians call it “tithing“, which literally translates to “tenth”, requiring at the very least a tenth of a person’s income, whereas Zakat means “that which purifies”, or “alms” not limiting or demanding the amount given.
The most holy night of the year takes place during Ramadan: Laylat al-Qadr. It is the night the angel Gabriel or Jibril began to unfold the Qur’an to Muhammad. During the final days of Ramadan, prayer becomes even more fervent and visit the Mosque as often as they can, staying for as long as they can. Eid ul-Fitr marks the first day of the following month, Shawwal and the end of Ramadan; it literally means “festivity of breaking the fast”. And break it, they do in great taste. For awesome pictures of this beautiful month scroll down and then follow us back to Newscom for more!
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