Ramadan (Arabic: رمضان) is an Arabic word. Dictionary meaning of Ramadan is scorching heat or dryness.
When is Ramadan in 2014?
Ramadan in 2014 will start on Saturday, the 28th of June and will continue for 30 days until Sunday, the 27th of July. Muslims will start fasting from the sunrise of 28th June .
Since the Islamic months start from the moonrise, the month of Ramadan will start from the sunset of 27th June (Friday) according to Gregorian calendar. Eventually the month will be finished after the sunset of 27th August (Sunday) as per Gregorian calendar.
In North America, Ramadan will start a day later – on Sunday, the 29th of June and ends on 28th july. Muslims will start fasting on that area from the sunrise of 29th July. Like mentioned above, the month of Ramadan in North America will start from the sunset of 28th June and end after the sunset of 28th July.
Ramadan is always on the same day of the Islamic calendar but the date on the Gregorian calendar varies from year to year since the Gregorian calendar is a solar calendar and the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar.
Each year in Gregorian calendar, the date of Ramadan moves ahead approximately 11 days than the previous year. The date of Ramadan may also vary from country to country depending on the sight of the moon but not more than 1-2 days.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Muslims worldwide observe this as a month of fasting. Fasting should be performed in this month every day from sunrise to sunset. Fasting is one of the main five pillars of Islam. This is compulsory to observe for all adult Muslims except those who are seriously ill, pregnant, going through menstruation or travelling.
Significance of Ramadan
Ramadan is the most sacred month for the Muslims. This is honored as the best month than any other 1000 months. Fasting in this month is very significant for the Muslims since every prayer done in this month will be rewarded 70 times more than in any other month of the year. Muslims increase their prayer in this month to get rid from the fire of hell. This month is for getting kindness and forgiveness from Allah.
Ramadan is the month of practicing “Sawm”. “Sawm” means self control. This is the best means of self control and self purification. In performing Sawm one has to refrain from greed and lust, wicked practice, false play, quarrel, vulgar talks and sinful acts. As a result, personal character is developed, raised to a high standard; at the same time it helps to build up a good society.
Keeping fast requires lot of patience. The month of Ramadan is also called the month of patience.
Some common practices during Ramadan
Muslims can keep fasting any time in the year except some special days, but in the month of Ramadan, fasting is compulsory. Fasting starts from the sunrise till sunset. During this period, eating, drinking, smoking or sexual relation are prohibited. Also all kind of sinful activities should be controlled in this time.
Usually fasting starts from the dawn. Just before starting fasting, Muslims take their late night meal before dawn. This is called Sahri. It is an Arabic word which means lit of the dawn. Taking Sahri is advised and practiced by Prophet Muhammad (SM) and Muslims continue this practice during Ramadan.
Time for breaking the fast is sunset. Immediately after sunset, the fast need can be broken. This is called Iftar in Arabic and means the breaking of fast. It is advised to do the Iftar immediately after sunset and without any delay.
In this month, Muslims used to do charity by donating the Zakat. Zakat is a yearly compulsory donation for the Muslims.
Important days is the month of Ramadan
Some important days for the Muslims fall in the month of Ramadan. Those are as follows:
This is believed to be the best night in the year and so do in the month of Ramadan. In this night, the first verse of Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (SM). The date of this month is not exactly specified but it was asked to the Muslims to find out this night in the odd-numbered dates of the 3rd decade of Ramadan. Traditionally Muslims observe this night at the 27th night of Ramadan.
Jumuatul Wida is the prayer of the last Friday of the month of Ramadan. Jumuatul Widah means Friday of farewell. Jumuah is the weekly prayer day of the Muslims. Juma prayer is offered immediately after the mid-day on Friday and it must be offered in congregation. Last Friday of Ramadan is the day of Jumatul Widah. Jumuah is very significant day in the week and Jumuah in the month of Ramadan is more significant. So, the last Friday prayer of Ramadan is very important and that’s why Muslims observe this prayer with devotion and significance.
Immediate next day after the month of Ramadan is the Eid Al Fitr which is the festival day after the fasting month.