Ramadan -a month of obligatory daily fasting in Islam is the ninth month in the Islamic lunar calendar. Daily fasts begin at dawn and end with sunset. Special nightly prayers called, Taraweeh prayers are held. The entire Quran is recited in these prayers in Mosques all around the world. This month provides an opportunity for Muslims to get closer to God. This is a month when a Muslim should try to:
- See not what displeases Allah
- Speak no evil
- Hear no evil
- Do no evil
- Look to Allah with fear and hope
“O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become God-fearing.” (The Quran, 2:183).
Fasting has been an integral part of all major religions. The Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) fasted for forty days before he was called to prophethood (Matthew 4:2). Similarly Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) fasted for forty days and nights before he was given the Law (Exodus 24:18).
The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said: Whoever fasts during Ramadan with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven. Whoever prays during the nights in Ramadan with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven. And he who passes Lailat al-Qadr (Night of Power) in prayer with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven (Bukhari, Muslim).
Ramadan ends with a day long celebration known as Eidul-Fitr. Eidul-Fitr begins with a special morning prayer in grand Mosques and open grounds of towns and cities of the world. the prayer is attended by men, women and children with their new or best clothes. A special charity, known as Zakatul-Fitr is given out prior to the prayer. The rest of the day is spent in visiting relatives and friends, giving gifts to children and eating.