Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is considered the holiest month by Muslims. Muslims believe that Allah first revealed the Qur’an to the Prophet Muhammad during the month of Ramadan. The Qur’an is the sacred book of Islam.
Islam follows the lunar calendar which means each month begins with the sighting of a new moon. Lunar calendar months are shorter than solar months used elsewhere and as such the first day of Ramadan is 11 days earlier each year. This year Ramadan runs from 18 June to 17 July.
During Ramadan, Muslims will fast during daylight hours. Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam which are an essential part of Muslim life. Fasting lasts from sunrise to sunset so in Britain when Ramadan is in the winter, the fasting day is relatively short, compared to in the summer when days are much longer.
Muslims will give up food and drink during the fasting period. Some will also give up other bad habits, such as smoking, and will pray more and read the Qur’an. It is a time of self-control and discipline. Most people will have one meal before dawn, known as suhoor, and one meal after sunset, known as iftar.
Many Muslims will eat some dates to first break the fast at iftar, as tradition says that Muhammad broke fast with three dates. This is followed by prayers and the main meal. Friends and family will often come together to share the evening meal.
Not everyone has to take part in the fast. Some groups of people are exempt, including children, pregnant women, those who are physically or mentally ill and the elderly. The Muslim holiday of Eid-al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan – the Festival of the Breaking of the Fast.
During this holiday, Muslims celebrate the end of fasting with special services in Mosques, celebratory meals, giving gifts and spending time with family and friends. They also give to charity to help the poor. Eid is also a time to praise Allah for helping them get through Ramadan.
Tell us how you observe Ramadan and what it means to you. We’d love to hear from you so please share your stories and experiences on Facebook and Twitter.
Ramadan Mubarek! from the Early Learning Furniture Team.
At ELF we are experts in early years’ educational resources and supply classroom furniture and equipment to primary schools, pre-schools, nurseries and playgroups. For more information on our products please contact us or call our sales team on 01733 511121