Ramadan 101: What is Ramadan & what is its significance?
During Ramadan, millions of Muslims around the world reflect and challenge themselves physically and spiritually. Ramadan is a time for Muslims and non-Muslims in this region to slow down, reflect, and re-focus. Many of us have an opportunity during this time to look outside of ourselves and identify ways to improve and support those around us, both in our families and in the larger community.
Ramadan commemorates the revelation of the Holy Quran by Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). Ramadan fasting is the fourth pillar of Islam, and Muslims are encouraged to use this month to re-evaluate their lives in light of Islamic teachings.
Ramadan begins with the new moon of the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and lasts 29-30 days, depending on crescent moon sightings. Muslims worldwide fast from sunrise to sunset (sawm), and they break their fast with Iftar, the evening meal that Muslims eat to break their daily Ramadan fasting at sunset. Muslims traditionally begin their Iftar meal with dates and milk. Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan and is an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide.
Important practices during the holy month include:
- Abstaining from bad deeds
- Reciting the holy Quran
- Giving to charity
- Practicing humanity