→ Did you know Ramadan started the evening of April 1 and ends on May 2? Ramadan is the 30-day holiday that is celebrated by Muslims.
→ Did you know the word Ramadan originates from the Arabic word ‘ar-ramad,’ which translates to ‘the hot month, dryness, or scorching heat’? In addition to the different translations, Ramadan also has spelling variations such as ‘Ramazan, Ramzan, Ramadhan, or Ramathan.
→ Did you know Muslims fast during Ramadan? It is prescribed in The Holy Quran, the religious text and one of the pillars of Islam. Fasting (sawm) is the practice of abstaining from food and drink from sunrise to sunset. Fasting also includes abstaining from other habits such as smoking, drinking alcoholic beverages, anger, cursing, fighting, and other acts that are not deemed suitable during the holy month. In the absence of bad habits comes good deeds, good intentions, and great gains. When fasting, Muslims are seeking to achieve oneness with God, self-reflection, purification of faith, meditation, self-improvement and health. Fasting from sunrise to sunset without food or water may seem challenging when working, going to school, playing sports, or taking care of children but many Muslims still practice fasting and persevere.
→ Did you know even during Ramadan, fasting does have exemptions? For instance, breastfeeding women, pregnant women, women during menstruation cycles, travelers, the sick, the elderly, individuals who are physically or mentally incapable of fasting, and prepubescent children. If one is exempt, in place of fasting giving to charity or feeding the needy is the alternative for each fasting day that is missed.
→ Did you know there are five pillars of Islam? The five pillars of faith are the obligatory acts of worship for all Muslims. The Shahada (profession of faith) is the belief that there is no deity but God and Muhammad is the Messenger of God. This testament of faith is at the heart of Islam. The second pillar is prayer (salat). Muslims perform five prayers a day at dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset and dark. Muslims can pray at any time, but the five daily prayers are mandatory. Alms (zakat) is the third pillar. According to Islamic law, Muslims donate 2.5% of their income to the community and people in need. Just as there are exemptions from fasting, there are exemptions from paying Alms (zakat). Typical reasons to cease Alms payment are those who are debt-ridden, incarcerated, or indigent. Fasting is the fourth pillar, and the fifth pillar is the Pilgrimage (hajj). Every Muslim whose health and finances permit them must make at least one trip to the Holy City of Mecca, which is in Saudi Arabia.
→ Did you know Ramadan is the name of both the ninth month in the Islamic Calendar and the holiest holiday in the Islamic faith? Because the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, the calendar year is eleven days shorter than the Julian Calendar year. Ramadan begins with the sighting of the crescent moon, which makes it a revolving holiday that never occurs on the same date.
→ Did you know Ramadan has a festive greeting? Ramadan Mubarak or Ramadan Kareem is a popular phrase known to Muslims and Non-Muslims, meaning ‘blessed Ramadan’ or ‘happy Ramadan.’ So, if you have a Muslim family member, co-worker, neighbor, friend, or acquaintance, wish them Ramadan Mubarak and happy fasting!