What is Ramadan?
Ramadan, the month of fasting observed by Muslims, is an opportunity for followers of Islam not just to practice gratitude, charity, and self-awareness, but also fosters a spirit of brotherhood among those who share in the Islamic faith. Ramadan being the month when Allah (God) first revealed the Quran to Prophet Muhammad, Ramadan is one of the important pillars of the Muslim religion.
What do Muslims do During Ramadan?
Throughout the month of Ramadan, every follower over the age of 12 years is required to abstain from food and drink during daylight hours. Other pleasure activities are also often avoided from dawn until dusk. The lack of food and beverage during Ramadan is thought to bring about a clarity of mind, encourages an examination of the self, one's goals and future, and one's devotion to God (Allah).
Obedience is a primary focus of Ramadan, and Muslims believe that the month of fasting is a period of worship and spiritual training. Because hunger makes the body feel deprived, fasting is a chance for Muslims to recognize their blessings while experiencing empathy for those who are regularly forced to do without food because of poverty. Observers of Ramadan are encouraged to move among those who are suffering from illness, hunger, and other misfortunes.
Muslims engage in an intense study of the Islamic holy book, known as the Quran, during Ramadan. Studying the Quran gives Muslims a chance to evaluate their lives by the standards set forth in this sacred text, as well as an opportunity to consider the importance of God's love for man.
Perhaps the most important reason that Muslims observe Ramadan is out of a sincere love for God. One significant outcome of the month-long fasting is a deeper understanding of the need for God's in a person's life. Another important outcome of Ramadan is the ability to rise above human impulses, like hunger, and focus on only the divine love of God.
What Happens after Ramadan?
After a month of fasting, prayer, study, and giving, Muslims celebrate the end of Ramadan with the Festival of the Fast Breaking, also called the Eid. This celebration offers Muslims the opportunity to congregate at a Mosque and pray as a community. Participants also make donations to the poor. Families then have social gathering, go on outings, and engage in other enthusiastic celebrations.
Like many religious traditions, Ramadan has many more aspects than those that are immediately apparent. While fasting is at the core of this month-long Muslim obligation, it also involves a deep commitment to God, prayer, and perhaps most importantly, charity.