Ramadan is a yearly event that sees Muslims from across the world observe various traditions that teach them to practice self-discipline, self-control, sacrifice, and empathy for those who are less fortunate. To mark Ramadan, Muslims do not eat or drink between sunrise and sunset.
Fasting is important during Ramadan as it allows Muslims to devote themselves to their faith and come closer to Allah, or God.
Fasting is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, which forms the basis of how Muslims live their lives.
The other pillars are faith, prayer, charity and making the pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca, which unfortunately won’t be taking place this year due to coronavirus.
It is common to have a meal, known as the suhoor, just before dawn and another, known as the iftar, directly after sunset.
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At the end of the fast – once the sun has gone down – families and friends will get together for iftar to break their fast.
Not everybody has to fast for Ramadan with there being exceptions for children, pregnant women, the elderly and those who are ill or who are travelling.
Chapter 2, Verse 185 of the Quran explains the purpose of the ritual:
“The month of Ramadan is that in which was revealed the Quran; a guidance for mankind, and clear proofs of the guidance, and the criterion (of right and wrong).
“And whosoever of you is present, let him fast the month, and whosoever of you is sick or on a journey, a number of other days.
“Allah desires for your ease; He desires not hardship for you; and that you should complete the period, and that you should magnify Allah for having guided you, and that perhaps you may be thankful.”
Ramadan ends in Eid Al Fitr, commonly referred to as Eid.
During the three day festival, special food is prepared and friends and family are invited over to celebrate.
Children are often given presents or new clothes and thanks is given to Allah.
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How many days until Ramadan?
Ramadan begins in three days time, on April 23 and last for a whole month.
Ramadan takes place in April and May because this is when the Quran was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, but the date changes each year.
This is because Islam uses the lunar calendar, which is based on the cycles of the moon, so it isn’t a fixed date in the Western/solar calendar.
Muslims across the world are being urged to observe guidelines in place to stop the spread of coronavirus by not attending Mosque services and staying at home.
The Emirates Fatwa Council said in a statement late on Sunday that all healthy people are obliged to fast but medical workers on the frontline of the novel coronavirus pandemic need not do so “if they fear that fasting could lead to weakening their immunity or to losing their patients”.
It said Muslims should comply with social distancing while praying during Ramadan and the Eid Al Fitr holiday that marks its end.
The UAE has suspended prayer in all houses of worship including mosques as part of containment measures.
A statement reads: “Congregating to perform the prayer could endanger lives, an act that is strictly forbidden in Islam.”
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