What is Ramadan?

What is Ramadan?

Word Ramadan is a word derived from Arabic ramida or ar- ramad which means “great heat”.

The origin According to tradition, the Archangel Gabriel appeared to the Prophet Muhammad on the 27th night of the month of Ramadan to reveal the Koran to him. This is the “Night of Destiny”. In order to celebrate this event, fasting was established during this sacred month, the second year of the Hegira (the Islamic calendar), i.e. in 624 of the Christian era.

The dates Ramadan is the 9th month of the Muslim calendar which has approximately 354 days. This 9th month therefore advances by ten days each year, which explains why Ramadan takes place each year at a different time. To define the start of Ramadan, tradition is based on the observation of the Moon. The appearance of the first quarter in the sky indicates the eve of the start of Ramadan. If the sky is overcast, it begins according to astronomical calculations. This period lasts 29 or 30 days. The end of Ramadan is marked by the celebration of breaking the fast: “Eid el-Fitr”.

The prescriptions The fast of Ramadan constitutes one of the five pillars of Islam. These are prescriptions that Muslims must follow. The others are: the profession of faith (which attests that there is no god but God and that Mohammed is his messenger), the pilgrimage to Mecca, prayer and obligatory alms.

The obligations During the month of Ramadan, Muslims must not eat, drink, have sex or smoke throughout the day. These prohibitions must be respected from dawn to sunset (as soon as one can “distinguish a white thread from a black thread” says the Koran).

People exempted from fasting From puberty, all Muslims must follow the fast, with the exception of those who are frail, elderly or suffering from certain illnesses. This exemption also applies to those who must travel or who are temporarily ill. In return, these people must feed a poor person for each day they do not fast. Women who are breastfeeding or pregnant are also exempt. They will have to recover the days not fasted before the following Ramadan.

Spiritual time During this time, Muslims should pray, reflect on their faith and try to be better. They must also practice almsgiving, paying money to the mosque or to someone in need, just before the end of Ramadan.

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