Ramadan (WZ-3)

INTRO

Ramadan is one of the most important holidays in Islam. Ramadan is celebrated on the third month of the Islamic calendar. Ramadan and the events that occurred during the holy month are very important to the Muslim culture and the faith of Islam. There may be misconceptions surrounding the month and what the people of Islam do during the month. Theres also many updates that people have changed throughout the years. Ramadan is mainly celebrated through fasting. The fast would occur in the daytime, and in the night Muslims were allowed to eat.

ROOTS

As in the Five Pillars, you are supposed to fast one month of the year. This fast would occur on the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. After the fast, the people of Islam would celebrate this with having a huge party called Eid al-Fitr. Ramadan was required for all Muslims except for children. That's one of the new updates of this event. This connects to the theme of Five Pillars of being kind, Ramadan was also said to be the first month that the Qur’an was finished. Early Muslims would not only use this month for spiritual cleansing, but they also use it for study the Qur’an and praying more. This event created a lot of culture through Islam.

Because Ramadan revolves around the Islamic calendar, it never lands on an exact date or month, which makes it different yearly. The Qur’an was said to be given to Muhammad at the time, which was very important because 1. The Qur’an was the centerpiece of the religion of Islam. 2. Muhammad taught others to fast and be patient, after receiving the Qur’an. Which means this all leads to the month of Ramadan. This night was called the night of power, which is the last five days of Ramadan.

RELIGIOUS PRACTICES

Muslims say that Ramadan is a time for spiritual renewal, and there is lots of praying involved. People of Islam want to cleanse their souls during Ramadan. They also say it teaches the person self-discipline and self-control. All Muslims were required to participate in Ramadan except for the children who have not hit puberty. Once a kid has hit puberty, the Qur’an says that the child is ready to celebrate Ramadan. Another thing it teaches Muslims is empathy. This connects to the other Pillars of Islam, being nice and charity. When a person gets hungry through a month, they feel what it is like to be hungry and starving. Also, Muslims are not allowed to curse, fight (unless in self-defence), drink, smoke, and engage in inappropriate activity in the day time. Exceptions of Ramadan includes pregnancy, mental illness, or severe illness. There is two times in the day where the people can eat during Ramadan, one is in the morning before sun-rise. This is called Suhur. And in the night, after the sunsets, Muslims can eat. This is called Iftar. Iftar is generally celebrated with a bigger meal. Dates are usually used to break the fast, because that is what Muhammad used to break the daily fast. After this, people would pray toward the city of Mecca. This also clears up a big misconception of Ramadan. People would say how could I survive on just living on water? Well, Muslims during Ramadan can eat, just not while the sun is up.

CULTURE

One thing that is special about Ramadan is the culture behind it. Muslim look at it as a holy month, and a time to redeem themselves in Islam. Also, they use this time to bond with family. Also, at this time people would light lanterns as a symbol of Islam. This tradition originated in Egypt under the Fatimid Caliphate. Still, there are still cultural differences that divide within countries. Take for example, Indonesia, in the islands of Java. There annual celebration of Ramadan is nothing similar to people living in Saudi Arabia now. That cultural diversity within the religion is why Ramadan can be such a simple idea that can be very complex at the same time. Schools in America do not enjoy having students that celebrates Ramadan, because they say not eating or drinking can lead to a lack of efficiency and decrease of grades. Also, in Turkey, police say that crime rates drop during Ramadan.

CUSTOMS IN ISLAM

In Islam, Ramadan is seen to be holy month out of the Islamic calendar. During this time, Muslims are encouraged to pray more and read and recite more of the Qur’an at this time. Muhammad says that the Muslims should split time on work and prayer throughout the month, but praying and being a good Muslim should be at the best in the month of Ramadan. Also, Muslims are encouraged to be more charitable and give more to the needy in this month. The leaders of Islam says that they should not hold back, for the devils are chained up and the gates of heaven are open. Also, Muslims are said to restraint from poor language during the day. Ramadan was not only a month said to fast or starve, it also has meaning in the Islamic religion and their customs.

One thing that was stressed during Ramadan was charity. In Islam, the less fortunate would get help from government, but in Islam, another pillar of Islam was being charitable. So, during Ramadan, leaders of Islam wanted people to be more charitable to be a better Muslim. Also, going on with the theme of the five pillars of Islam, one of them would be praying five times a day towards the city of Mecca. Well, during Ramadan, you were encouraged to pray more than five times. Again, this was for spiritual renewal for the people. Also, the mosque was open every night of Ramadan for people to go in and worship. In addition to that, the people were encouraged to recite the Qur’an. Some Muslims wanted to recite during prayer, and others wanted to recite the Qur’an for holy purposes. Some people would recite a section of the Qur’an by night, and were to recite the whole Qur’an by the end of the month. This was common during Ramadan, but not required.

Values

Muslims are happy to renew their spiritual life, rather than looking at it like a chore. They would also do it for health. Their blood sugar would go down and would make their lives healthier. Another reason for Muslim participation of Ramadan is there connection with god. They feel closer to there god through this month. They would also do this to help their daily life on being a better Muslim.

CONCLUSION

In today forum, I explained the roots of Ramadan, the culture and spatial meaning behind it and the religious practices of the month. There was the basics like the time and where it started, and the practices and what the practices mean for each Muslim. The next Ramadan will occur on May 15 to June 14 in 2018. Also, there was many important individuals such as Muhammad who started Ramadan, and each religious leader who changed Ramadan to where it is today. Also, for a fun fact: Hillary Clinton started the tradition of celebrating Eid al-Fitr in the White House, and every president has carried that tradition giving respect for the Muslim communities in America during Ramadan.

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