The word ‘Ramadan’ comes from the Arabic root – ‘Ramida’ or ‘Ar-Ramad’ meaning scorching heat.
Sawm or Fasting is the fourth pillar of Islam and Ramadan is the holy month of fasting. This can be broadly elaborated as the time when it is mandatory for Muslims to refrain from food and drinks, sexual activity, unkind words, impure thoughts and immoral behavior between dawn and dusk. Pregnant women, travelers, children, the sick as well as the elderly may not fast, however, they can feed the poor and needy.
The meal eaten by Muslims just before dawn is called the ‘Suhoor’ or ‘Sehri’, whereas, the meal consumed post sunset is known as the ‘Iftar’.
Ramadan is the month of patience. You will be rewarded for your true patience with Jannah (Paradise). Also, you shall receive Barakah (Blessings). Moreover, if you show kindness by feeding a fasting individual at the time of breaking the fast post sunset, your sins will be forgiven and you shall be free from the fire of Jahannam (Hell) as well. Besides, both you and the fasting individual you fed will get the same reward.
The Story Behind the Celebration of Ramadan
It is a strong belief that in A.D. 610, the angel named Gabriel appeared in front of Prophet Muhammad (صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ) and revealed the Quran (the holy book of Islam) to him. It is believed that the revelation, ‘Laylat Al Qadr’ or the ‘Night of Power’, took place at the time of Ramadan. Hence, people belonging to the Muslim religion fast during that month as a mark of respect to the Quran.
The last 10 days or the Third Ashra hold special significance because the Laylat Al Qadr also falls under the last Ashra. Many Muslims also get involved in the practice of Itikaf during the last ten days. It is mandatory for a Muslim not to let the last 10 nights of Ashra go waste and wholeheartedly worship the Almighty Allah (سبحانه وتعالىٰ). If a person seeks forgiveness from the Almighty Allah (سبحانه وتعالىٰ) for his sins by staying in the mosque, then there cannot be a better way to practice Itikaf than this.
The Three Important Parts of Ramadan
Ramadan is divided into three different stages –
1st stage of Mercy – In the First Ashra or the first 10 days of Ramadan, Muslims must seek the mercy and blessings of the Almighty Allah (سبحانه وتعالىٰ).
2nd stage of Forgiveness – In the Second Ashra or the second 10 days of Ramadan, every Muslim should seek the forgiveness of the Almighty Allah (سبحانه وتعالىٰ) for all his sins.
3rd stage of Safety – Lastly, in the Third Ashra or the last 10 days of Ramadan, Muslims pray to the Almighty Allah (سبحانه وتعالىٰ) for safety from the fire of hell.
Allah (سبحانه وتعالىٰ) Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
The End of Ramadan and the Celebration of Eid al-Fitr
The ending of Ramadan is followed by the celebration of Eid al-Fitr – the festival, wherein, Muslims offer special prayers, enjoy meals with friends and relatives, and exchange gifts amongst themselves.
Good and Noble Deeds you can be Involved in During Ramadan
- Along with your friends and family, you can also share food with your neighbors at the time of breaking the fast. This way, not only food, but love and happiness are shared as well.
- Volunteer to help other people. You can offer food to the poor and the less fortunate. You can make contributions and provide help to those who are suffering.
- Make it a point to pay Zakat, and you will be rewarded and blessed. Zakat, the third pillar of Islam, is a portion of wealth donated for charitable purposes.
- How about spending as much time as possible with your loved ones at home? You can do household chores together. For instance, you can also cook and prepare food for yourself as well as your loved one. Then you both can break the fast together after sunset by eating the meal that has been prepared by you.
Last but not the least, not only during Ramadan, what you need to do throughout the year is just one thing – Be a good human being and work towards the welfare of mankind. Only then you will be blessed and rewarded by Allah (سبحانه وتعالىٰ).