Ramadan

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Ramadan
رمضان
Welcome Ramadhan.jpg
A crescent moon can be seen over palm trees at Manama, marking the beginning of the Islamic month of Ramadan in Bahrain
Observed by Muslims
Type Religious
CelebrationsCommunity iftars and Community prayers
Observances
BeginsAt the last night of the month of Sha'ban [1]
EndsAt the last night of the month of Ramadan [1]
DateVariable (follows the Islamic lunar calendar) [2] [3]
2019 date6 May – 3 June [2] [4]
2020 dateevening of 23 April (22 April for Mali; 24 April for Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, India, Iran, Morocco, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, South Africa and Sri Lanka) [5]  – 23 May (expected) [2]
Frequencyevery year (lunar calendar)
Related to Eid al-Fitr, Laylat al-Qadr

Ramadan ( /ˌræməˈdɑːn/ , also US: /ˌrɑːm-, ˈræmədɑːn, ˈrɑːm-/ , [6] [7] [8] UK: /ˈræmədæn/ ; [9] Arabic : رمضان, romanized: Ramaḍān [ramaˈdˤaːn] ; [note 1] Ramazan, Ramzan, Ramadhan, or Ramathan) is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, [10] observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting ( sawm ), prayer, reflection and community. [11] A commemoration of Muhammad's first revelation,[ citation needed ] the annual observance of Ramadan is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam [12] and lasts twenty-nine to thirty days, from one sighting of the crescent moon to the next. [13] [14]

American English Set of dialects of the English language spoken in the United States

American English, sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. American English is considered one of the most influential dialects of English globally, including on other varieties of English.

British English is the standard dialect of English language as spoken and written in the United Kingdom. Variations exist in formal, written English in the United Kingdom. For example, the adjective wee is almost exclusively used in parts of Scotland and Ireland, and occasionally Yorkshire, whereas little is predominant elsewhere. Nevertheless, there is a meaningful degree of uniformity in written English within the United Kingdom, and this could be described by the term British English. The forms of spoken English, however, vary considerably more than in most other areas of the world where English is spoken, so a uniform concept of British English is more difficult to apply to the spoken language. According to Tom McArthur in the Oxford Guide to World English, British English shares "all the ambiguities and tensions in the word 'British' and as a result can be used and interpreted in two ways, more broadly or more narrowly, within a range of blurring and ambiguity".

The romanization of Arabic writes written and spoken Arabic in the Latin script in one of various systematic ways. Romanized Arabic is used for a number of different purposes, among them transcription of names and titles, cataloging Arabic language works, language education when used in lieu of or alongside the Arabic script, and representation of the language in scientific publications by linguists. These formal systems, which often make use of diacritics and non-standard Latin characters and are used in academic settings or for the benefit of non-speakers, contrast with informal means of written communication used by speakers such as the Latin-based Arabic chat alphabet.

Contents

Fasting from sunrise to sunset is fard (obligatory) for all adult Muslims who are not acutely or chronically ill, travelling, elderly, pregnant, breastfeeding, diabetic, or menstruating. [15] The predawn meal is referred to as suhoor , and the nightly feast that breaks the fast is called iftar . [16] [17] Although fatwa have been issued declaring that Muslims who live in regions with a midnight sun or polar night should follow the timetable of Mecca, [18] it is common practice to follow the timetable of the closest country in which night can be distinguished from day. [19] [20] [21]

Farḍ or farīḍah (فريضة) in Islam is a religious duty commanded by Allah (God). The word is also used in Persian, Pashto, Turkish, and Urdu in the same meaning. Muslims who obey such commands or duties are said to receive hasanat, ajr or thawab each time for each good deed.

Old age consists of ages nearing or surpassing the life expectancy of human beings

Old age refers to ages nearing or surpassing the life expectancy of human beings, and is thus the end of the human life cycle. Terms and euphemisms include old people, the elderly, seniors, senior citizens, older adults, and the elders.

Pregnancy time when children develop inside the mothers body before birth

Pregnancy, also known as gestation, is the time during which one or more offspring develops inside a woman. A multiple pregnancy involves more than one offspring, such as with twins. Pregnancy can occur by sexual intercourse or assisted reproductive technology. Childbirth typically occurs around 40 weeks from the start of the last menstrual period (LMP). This is just over nine months, where each month averages 31 days. When measured from fertilization it is about 38 weeks. An embryo is the developing offspring during the first eight weeks following fertilization, after which, the term fetus is used until birth. Symptoms of early pregnancy may include missed periods, tender breasts, nausea and vomiting, hunger, and frequent urination. Pregnancy may be confirmed with a pregnancy test.

The spiritual rewards ( thawab ) of fasting are believed to be multiplied during Ramadan. [22] Accordingly, Muslims refrain not only from food and drink, but also tobacco products, sexual relations, and sinful behavior, [23] [24] devoting themselves instead to salat (prayer), recitation of the Quran, [25] [26] and the performance of charitable deeds[ citation needed ] as they strive for purity and heightened awareness of God ( taqwa ).[ citation needed ]

Sawāb or Thawāb is an Arabic term meaning "reward". Specifically, in the context of an Islamic worldview, thawab refers to spiritual merit or reward that accrues from the performance of good deeds and piety.

Sin is an important concept in Islamic ethics. Muslims see sin as anything that goes against the commands of Allah (God), a breach of the laws and norms laid down by religion. Islam teaches that sin is an act and not a state of being. It is believed that Allah weighs an individual's good deeds and against his or her sins on the Day of Judgement and punishes those individuals whose evil deeds outweigh their good deeds. These individuals are thought to be sentenced to afterlife in the fires of جهنم jahannum (Hell).

Prayer invocation or act that seeks to activate a rapport with a deity

Prayer is an invocation or act that seeks to activate a rapport with an object of worship through deliberate communication. In the narrow sense, the term refers to an act of supplication or intercession directed towards God or gods, a deceased ancestor, or a saint. More generally, prayer can also have the purpose of thanksgiving or praise, and in comparative religion is closely associated with more abstract forms of meditation and with charms or spells.

Etymology

The word Ramadan derives from the Arabic root ramiḍa or ar-ramaḍ "scorching heat," "dryness." [27]

History

Chapter 2, Verse 185 in Arabic. 002185 Al-Baqarah UsmaniScript.png
Chapter 2, Verse 185 in Arabic.

Muslims hold that all scripture was revealed during Ramadan, the scrolls of Abraham, Torah, Psalms, Gospel, and Quran having been handed down on the first, sixth, twelfth, thirteenth (in some sources, eighteenth) [28] and twenty-fourth Ramadans,[ year needed ] respectively. [29] Muhammed is said to have received his first quranic revelation on Laylat al-Qadr , one of five odd-numbered nights that fall during the last ten days of Ramadan. [30]

Revelation the revealing or disclosing of some form of truth or knowledge through communication with a deity or other supernatural entity

In religion and theology, revelation is the revealing or disclosing of some form of truth or knowledge through communication with a deity or other supernatural entity or entities.

The Scrolls of Abraham are part of the religious scriptures of Islam. These scriptures are believed to have contained the revelations Abraham (Ibrahim) received from God, which were written down by him as well as his scribes and followers. They are now generally believed to have perished over the course of time and are considered a lost body of scripture.

Torah in Islam

Within an Islamic context, Tawrat refers to the Torah, which Muslims believe to be a holy book of Islam given by God to Musa (Moses). When referring to traditions from Tawrat, Muslims did not only identify it with the Pentateuch, but also with the other books of the Old testament, Talmudic- and Midrashim writings.

Lo! We did reveal the At-Taurah, wherein is guidance and a light, by which the prophets who surrendered judged the Jews, and the rabbis and the priests (judged) by such of Allah's Scripture as they were bidden to observe, and thereunto were they witnesses. So fear not mankind, but fear Me. And barter not My revelations for a little gain. Whoso judgeth not by that which Allah hath revealed: such are disbelievers.

Although Muslims were first commanded to fast in the second year of Hijra (624 CE), [29] they believe that the practice of fasting is not in fact an innovation of monotheism [31] but rather has always been necessary for believers to attain taqwa (the fear of God). [32] [Quran   2:183] They point to the fact that the pre-Islamic pagans of Mecca fasted on the tenth day of Muharram to expiate sin and avoid drought. [33] Philip Jenkins argues that the observance of Ramadan fasting grew out of "the strict Lenten discipline of the Syrian Churches," a postulation corroborated by other scholars, including theologian Paul-Gordon Chandler, [34] [35] but disputed by some Muslim academics. [36]

The Hijri year or era is the era used in the Islamic lunar calendar, which begins its count from the Islamic New Year in 622 CE. During that year, Muhammad and his followers migrated from Mecca to Yathrib. This event, known as the Hijra, is commemorated in Islam for its role in the founding of the first Muslim community (ummah).

Monotheism is the belief in one god. A narrower definition of monotheism is the belief in the existence of only one god that created the world, is all-powerful and intervenes in the world.

Taqwa

Taqwa is an Islamic term for being conscious and cognizant of God, of truth, of the rational reality, "piety, fear of God". It is often found in the Quran. Al-Muttaqin refers to those who practice taqwa, or in the words of Ibn Abbas -- "believers who avoid Shirk with Allah and who work in His obedience."

Important dates

The first and last dates of Ramadan are determined by the lunar Islamic calendar.[ citation needed ]

Beginning

Ramadan beginning dates between Gregorian years 1938 and 2038. Ramadan100years1938-2037.png
Ramadan beginning dates between Gregorian years 1938 and 2038.

Because Hilāl , the crescent moon, typically occurs approximately one day after the new moon, Muslims can usually estimate the beginning of Ramadan; [37] however, many[ who? ] prefer to confirm the opening of Ramadan by direct visual observation of the crescent. [38]

Night of Power

Laylat al-Qadr is considered the holiest night of the year. [39] [40] It is generally believed to have occurred on an odd-numbered night during the last ten days of Ramadan; the Dawoodi Bohra believe that Laylat al-Qadr was the twenty-third night of Ramadan. [41] [42]

Eid

The holiday of Eid al-Fitr (Arabic:عيد الفطر), which marks the end of Ramadan and the beginning of Shawwal , the next lunar month, is declared after a crescent new moon has been sighted or after completion of thirty days of fasting if no sighting of the moon is possible. Eid celebrates of the return to a more natural disposition (fitra) of eating, drinking, and marital intimacy. [43]

Religious practices

Azim Azimzade. Ramadan of the poor people. 1938 Ramazan with the poor.jpg
Azim Azimzade. Ramadan of the poor people. 1938

The common practice is to fast from dawn to sunset. The pre-dawn meal before the fast is called the suhur , while the meal at sunset that breaks the fast is called iftar .[ citation needed ]

Muslims devote more time to prayer and acts of charity, striving to improve their self-discipline, motivated by hadith: [44] [45] "When Ramadan arrives, the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of hell are locked up and devils are put in chains." [46]

Fasting

Ramadan is a time of spiritual reflection, self-improvement, and heightened devotion and worship. Muslims are expected to put more effort into following the teachings of Islam. The fast (sawm) begins at dawn and ends at sunset. In addition to abstaining from eating and drinking during this time, Muslims abstain from sexual relations [3] and sinful speech and behaviour. The act of fasting is said to redirect the heart away from worldly activities, its purpose being to cleanse the soul by freeing it from harmful impurities. Muslims believe that Ramadan teaches them to practice self-discipline, self-control, [47] sacrifice, and empathy for those who are less fortunate, thus encouraging actions of generosity and compulsory charity ( zakat ). [48]

Exemptions to fasting include travel, menstruation, severe illness, pregnancy, and breastfeeding. However, many Muslims with medical conditions[ vague ][ who? ] insist on fasting to satisfy their spiritual needs, although it is not recommended by hadith.[ citation needed ] Those unable to fast are obligated make up the missed days later. [49]

Suhoor

Iftar at Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey Iftar in Istanbul Turkey.jpg
Iftar at Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey

Each day, before dawn, Muslims observe a pre-fast meal called the suhoor . After stopping a short time before dawn, Muslims begin the first prayer of the day, Fajr . [50] [51]

Iftar

At sunset, families break the fast with the iftar , traditionally opening the meal by eating dates to commemorate Muhammad's practice of breaking the fast with three dates.[ citation needed ] They then adjourn for Maghrib , the fourth of the five required daily prayers, after which the main meal is served. [52]

Social gatherings, many times in buffet style, are frequent at iftar. Traditional dishes are often highlighted, including traditional desserts, particularly those made only during Ramadan.[ example needed ] Water is usually the beverage of choice, but juice and milk are also often available, as are soft drinks and caffeinated beverages. [53]

In the Middle East, iftar consists of water, juices, dates, salads and appetizers; one or more main dishes; and rich desserts, with dessert considered the most important aspect of the meal.[ citation needed ] Typical main dishes include lamb stewed with wheat berries, lamb kebabs with grilled vegetables, and roasted chicken served with chickpea-studded rice pilaf.[ citation needed ] Desserts may include luqaimat, baklava or kunafeh . [54]

Over time, the practice of iftar has involved into banquets that may accommodate hundreds or even thousands of diners. [55] The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, the largest mosque in the UAE, feeds up to thirty thousand people every night. [56] Some twelve thousand people attend iftar at the Imam Reza shrine in Mashhad. [57]

Iftar serving for fasting people in the Imam Reza shrine Iftar Serving for fasting people in the holy shrine of Imam Reza 05 ().jpg
Iftar serving for fasting people in the Imam Reza shrine

Charity

Men praying during Ramadan at the Shrine of Ali or "Blue Mosque" in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan Men praying in Afghanistan.jpg
Men praying during Ramadan at the Shrine of Ali or "Blue Mosque" in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan

Zakāt , often translated as "the poor-rate", is the fixed percentage of income a believer is required to give to the poor; the practice is obligatory as one of the pillars of Islam. Muslims believe that good deeds are rewarded more handsomely during Ramadan than at any other time of the year; consequently, many[ who? ] donate a larger portion—or even all—of their yearly zakāt during this month.[ citation needed ]

Nightly prayers

Tarawih (Arabic : تراويح) are extra nightly prayers performed during the month of Ramadan. Contrary to popular belief, they are not compulsory. [58]

Recitation of the Quran

Muslims are encouraged to read the entire Quran, which comprises thirty juz' (sections), over the thirty days of Ramadan. Some Muslims incorporate a recitation of one juz' into each of the thirty tarawih sessions observed during the month. [59]

Cultural practices

In some Islamic countries, lights are strung up in public squares and across city streets, [60] [61] [62] a tradition believed to have originated during the Fatimid Caliphate, where the rule of Caliph al-Mu'izz li-Din Allah was acclaimed by people holding lanterns. [63]

On the island of Java, many believers bathe in holy springs to prepare for fasting, a ritual known as Padusan. [64] The city of Semarang marks the beginning of Ramadan with the Dugderan carnival, which involves parading the Warak ngendog, a horse-dragon hybrid creature allegedly inspired by the Buraq. [65] In the Chinese-influenced capital city of Jakarta, firecrackers are widely used to celebrate Ramadan, although they are officially illegal. [66] Towards the end of Ramadan, most employees receive a one-month bonus known as Tunjangan Hari Raya. [67] Certain kinds of food are especially popular during Ramadan, such as large beef or buffalo in Aceh and snails in Central Java. [68] The iftar meal is announced every evening by striking the bedug, a giant drum, in the mosque. [69]

Common greetings during Ramadan include Ramadan mubarak and Ramadan kareem. [70]

During Ramadan in the Middle East, a mesaharati beats a drum across a neighbourhood to wake people up to eat the suhoor meal. Similarly in Southeast Asia, the kentongan slit drum is used for the same purpose.

Observance rates

According to a 2012 Pew Research Centre study, there was widespread Ramadan observance, with a median of 93 percent across the thirty-nine countries and territories studied. [71] Regions with high percentages of fasting among Muslims include Southeast Asia, South Asia, Middle East and North Africa, and most of Sub-Saharan Africa. [71] Percentages are lower in Central Asia and Southeast Europe. [71]

Laws

In some Muslim countries, failing to observe the Ramadan fast is a crime.[ citation needed ] The sale of alcohol is prohibited in Egypt. [72] In Kuwait, the penalty for eating, drinking or smoking during daytime is a fine of no more than one hundred Kuwaiti dinar or incarceration for no more than one month, or both. [73] [74] In some United Arab Emirates jurisdictions, eating or drinking in public is considered a minor offence punishable by up to one hundred fifty hours of community service. [75] Courts in Saudi Arabia, described by The Economist as taking Ramadan "more seriously than anywhere else", [76] may impose harsher punishments, including flogging, imprisonment and, for foreigners, deportation. [77] [78] In Malaysia, breaking the fast prior to sundown may result in arrest by the religious police, while the sale of food, drink, or tobacco for immediate consumption can incur a fine of up to one thousand ringgit and six months' imprisonment, penalties that are doubled for repeat offenses. [79] Courts in Algeria have imposed fines and prison sentences for violations of Ramadan regulations. [80]

Some countries impose modified work schedules. In the UAE, employees may work no more than six hours per day and thirty-six hours per week. Qatar, Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait have similar laws. [81]

Health

Ramadan fasting is safe for healthy people, but those with medical conditions should seek medical advice if they encounter health problems before or during fasting. [82] The fasting period is usually associated with modest weight loss, but weight can return afterwards. [83]

The education departments of Berlin and the United Kingdom have tried to discourage students from fasting during Ramadan, as they claim that not eating or drinking can lead to concentration problems and bad grades. [84] [85]

A review of the literature by an Iranian group suggested fasting during Ramadan might produce renal injury in patients with moderate (GFR <60 ml/min) or severe kidney disease but was not injurious to renal transplant patients with good function or most stone-forming patients. [86]

Crime rates

The correlation of Ramadan with crime rates is mixed: some statistics show that crime rates drop during Ramadan, while others show that it increases. Decreases in crime rates have been reported by the police in some cities in Turkey (Istanbul [87] and Konya [88] ) and the Eastern province of Saudi Arabia. [89] A 2005 study found that there was a decrease in assault, robbery and alcohol-related crimes during Ramadan in Saudi Arabia, but only the decrease in alcohol-related crimes was statistically significant. [90] Increases in crime rates during Ramadan have been reported in Turkey, [91] Jakarta, [92] [93] [94] parts of Algeria, [95] Yemen [96] and Egypt. [97]

Various mechanisms have been proposed for the effect of Ramadan on crime:

Ramadan in polar regions

During 2010 Middle East negotiations in the United States, Hosni Mubarak and Benjamin Netanyahu check their watches to see if the Sun has set. Netanyahu and Mubarak checking their watches.jpg
During 2010 Middle East negotiations in the United States, Hosni Mubarak and Benjamin Netanyahu check their watches to see if the Sun has set.

The length of the dawn to sunset time varies in different parts of the world according to summer or winter solstices of the Sun. Most Muslims fast for eleven to sixteen hours during Ramadan. However, in polar regions, the period between dawn and sunset may exceed twenty-two hours in summer. For example, in 2014, Muslims in Reykjavik, Iceland, and Trondheim, Norway, fasted almost twenty-two hours, while Muslims in Sydney, Australia, fasted for only about eleven hours. In areas characterized by continuous night or day, some Muslims follow the fasting schedule observed in the nearest city that experiences sunrise and sunset, while others follow Mecca time. [19] [20] [21]

Employment during Ramadan

Muslims continue to work during Ramadan;[ citation needed ] however, in some Islamic countries, such as Oman and Lebanon, working hours are shortened. [99] [100] It is often recommended that working Muslims inform their employers if they are fasting, given the potential for the observance to impact performance at work. [101] The extent to which Ramadan observers are protected by religious accommodation varies by country. Policies putting them at a disadvantage compared to other employees have been met with discrimination claims in the United Kingdom and the United States. [102] [103] [104]

See also

Notes

  1. According to Arabic phonology, it can be realized as [rɑmɑˈdˤɑːn, ramaˈdˤɑːn, ræmæˈdˤɑːn] , depending on the region.

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