The Purpose of Ramadan

Humility for prosperity
Sacrifice for blessings
Bended knees for rewards
Heart laid down for worship
To Allah who deserves these all.
Ramadan Kareem!

More than a billion Muslims around the world will start observing Ramadan tonight at sunset. 

The rules of Ramadan are fairly straightforward: for one month, all practicing, able-bodied Muslims over the age of 12 are forbidden to eat or drink from sunup to sundown. Muslims believe that during this month the gates of hell close — meaning the devil is unable to tempt them during a month of discipline, charity and self-control. The objective of the fast, which also prohibits participating in “sensual pleasures” such as smoking, sex and even listening to music during daylight hours, is to diminish believers’ dependence on material goods, purify their hearts and establish solidarity with the poor to encourage charitable works during the year. It’s as much a period of self-growth as of self-denial: Muhammad reportedly said, “He who does not abandon falsehood in word and action in accordance with fasting, God has no need that he should abandon his food and drink.”

During the month of Ramadan, Muslims refrain from smoking, engaging in sexual relations, eating or drinking any liquids from sunrise to sunset, which can be a challenge during the long days of summer. It also means avoiding backtalk, being nice to people and controlling desires. Many Muslims will achieve this by reading more from the Quran, the Islamic holy book that Muslims believe was first revealed to their prophet, Mohammed, during Ramadan. Observing Ramadan is one of the main pillars of Islam.

Ramadan is a time for Muslims to “return to God, who is the source of everything, whether it’s health, happiness, peace or wisdom.” Muslims repair their relationship with God through fasting and prayer.

In the Middle East Ramadan will be particularly difficult this year as the days are long and temperatures are soaring. Muslims living in northern countries face fasting through 19 hours of daylight!

The word Ramadan comes from the Arabic root ramidaor ar-ramad, which means scorching heat or dryness.
A typical day starts as early as 3 a.m. with the predawn meal called the sahur, usually rich in protein and carbohydrates to get the faster through the long, foodless day. The rest of the day is spent reciting prayers, abstaining from bad deeds and reading the Koran. Fasters are expected to read the entire holy book within the month, and many mosques have taken to splitting it into 30 even portions recited in daily sermons. The fast lasts until sundown — or until it’s too dark to “distinguish a white thread from a black thread,” according to the Koran — and is broken with a small meal called an iftar which is followed by the Magrib prayer before the fasters join their families and invite the poor for a larger celebratory meal.

The breaking of the fast is often an elaborate affair in wealthier Gulf countries like the United Arab Emirates, where well-to-do Muslims gather in air-conditioned tents, cruise ships or five-star hotels to feast on meals with multiple courses.

In some countries, the fast carries the force of law: in Algeria, six people were jailed last year for failing to observe the fast, while in Iran authorities have shut down restaurants for not closing during the day.

The end of Ramadan is signalled by the sighting of the crescent (new) moon that signals the start of the next lunar month; it’s celebrated by a huge festival called ‘Id al-Fitr (the Feast of Fast-Breaking) where entire villages celebrate together.

1Crescent moon over Bahrain

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I am a sixty plenty wife, mother, sister, grandmother and friend. I started blogging as a coping mechanism during my beautiful daughter's final journey. Vic was desperately ill for 10 years after a botched back operation. Vic's Journey ended on 18 January 2013 at 10:35. She was the most courageous person in the world and has inspired thousands of people all over the world. Vic's two boys are monuments of her existence. She was an amazing mother, daughter, sister and friend. I will miss you today, tomorrow and forever my Angle Child.

22 thoughts on “The Purpose of Ramadan”

  1. This is a very well done blog. Ramadan is very important to all of our Muslim brothers and sisters. May their fast be easy and they be renewed in heart and spirit. In Harmony and peace, Barbara


  2. putting everything material away for a whole month, would change the world, give us time to think and re assert what the real priorities are, why don’t Christians do the same, i know there is lent, but reading the bible would be a great boost to the world, if we started reading it. i was talking with christian friends, who never read the bible, and i said, we all need to get back to basics, perhaps this is something both Muslims and Christians could do together, believe in God as one. i had an idea like it years ago, but it fell through unfortunately


    1. Well I support the theory of One God because it is a fact! It is the other stuff that confuses people and leads to wars. Lent is only really for the Catholics. The Jewish fast as well – not like the Muslims do. I am humbled by their commitment to their faith.


      1. so much misinformation from people about all the religions, mine is better etc etc, i guess those that work in the creation of love, are those closest to the heart of God Most High. basically, it’s the elite who screw our opinions and make us scared. Did you hear the latest about president obama, and how he was spied on before he was elected senator. check out russell tice , you will be surprised.


      2. I truly wonder how and why people can think that belonging to a religion can get them into heaven. Same God but different views and denominations… Yes, I have actually followed the Russel Tice/Obama story.


  3. ramadan always worries me… fasting is one thing but not drinking is bad news for the body, which gets de-hydrated and stressed. Even not eating means sugar levels dropping dangerously for some people. I worry about surgeons and bus drivers and the like trying to do their jobs in such stressful situations. I saw the woman in a local dairy with a de-hydration head-ache by nine am, and she had to serve the whole day in the shop, and then cook a feast for her men… yes, it bothers me, the cost of it…


    1. I could never do it. People like surgeons, diabetics, women menstruating or the sick are not expected to fast. But yes, I agree – blood sugar is a concern. Imagine no liquids when it is 48 degrees C outside…


  4. I appreciate this post. More so because it comes from some one who is non Muslim (if I am assuming correctly). Thank You


  5. I am so happy to read about this. It helps me to understand more about my friends who are Muslims. I reblogged it on my Facebook page. I think anything that helps to widen our perspective and appreciation of others is worth re-blogging!


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