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About Ahlan Ramadan
 
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Ramadan is an Islamic religious observance that takes place during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar; the month in which the Qur'an, according to tradition, was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). In the western calendar, the dates of Ramadan vary, moving forward about ten days each year. It is the Islamic month of fasting during which participating Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, and smoking from sunrise until sunset. Fasting is meant to teach the Muslim patience, modesty and spirituality. Ramadan is a time to fast for the sake of Allah, and to offer more prayer than usual. Muslims also believe through good actions, they get rewarded twice as much as they normally can achieve. During Ramadan, Muslims ask forgiveness for past sins, pray for guidance and help in refraining from everyday evils, and try purify themselves through self-restraint and good deeds.

Ramadan ends with Eid ul-Fitr, with much celebration and feasts. Ramadan not only teaches patience, but also enlightens Muslims as to how poor people feel. When fasting is over, Muslims go to Mosques in new clothes to pray the first Eid prayer. They give out presents to the young ones and greet their friends and families. They then thank Allah (God) for what he has given them.

The elderly, the chronically ill, and the mentally ill are exempt from fasting, although the first two groups must endeavor to feed the poor in place of their missed fasting. Also exempt are pregnant women, women during the period of their menstruation, and women nursing their newborns. While fasting is not considered compulsory in childhood, many children endeavor to complete as many fasts as possible as practice for later life. Lastly, those traveling are exempt, but must make up the days they miss. The elderly or those who suffer from a disability or disease and have no prospect of getting better in the future can pay the cost of Iftar for a person who cannot afford it, or else they can host him in their house and have him eat with them after sunset as a way of repaying for the days they could not fast.

Suhoor is the meal in the morning just before sunrise - it is usually a light meal. Iftar is the time of the evening meal just after sunset, traditionally a light snack of dates and water.

During the month of Ramadan, Muslims have the following obligations

  • No eating, drinking, smoking or sex between sunrise (fajr) and sunset (maghrib, rather than magrib).

  • Curb undesirable emotions such as anger, greed, envy, lust, and refrain from gossip.

  • Keep thoughts and actions pure and use the time of fasting for spiritual contemplation.

  • Be charitable and help those in need.

  • Visit friends and family members.

"Ramadan Mubarak" and "Ramadan Kareem" are congratulatory greetings used when the first day of Ramadan is announced (kareem means generous and mubarak means blessings).

 
     
 
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