Ramadan is a holy month of fasting, self reflection and prayer for Muslims. During Ramadan, Muslims must refrain from consuming any food or liquids, smoking, and or engaging in any sexual activity, these rules apply in-between the hours of dawn to sunset. The purpose of Ramadan is to teach those taking part to practice self-discipline, self-control, sacrifice, and empathy for those that are not as fortunate. Fasting allows Muslims to devote themselves to their faith. Children, pregnant women, elderly people and those who are ill or travelling are exempt from fasting. During Ramadan, just before dawn, those taking part usually have a meal known as Suhoor which is to prepare them for fasting over the course of the next day. After a long day of fasting, one can break their fast just at Sunset, this is known as Iftar or Futoor.
This routine continues for a whole month. Ramadan takes place annually, since Muslims follow a lunar calendar, the date of Ramadan is determined by the position of the moon. Therefore, it differs every year. Many Muslims would attempt to read the whole Qura’an (The Holy Book Of Islam) at least once over the course of the month.
There is also special Mosque services that take place post Iftar which Muslims attend to listen to the Imam preach, recite verses from the Holy Qura’an as well as pray together as a group. This service is known as Taraweeh. Taraweeh means rest or relaxation. Taraweeh is optional, and it is believed that those who attend Taraweeh throughout Ramadan out of sincerity and faith will have their past sins revoked. Soum (fasting during Ramadan) is one of the 5 pillars of Islam. According to studies, 93% of Muslims practice Ramadan. Ramadan fasting hours differ in every country according to the time zones, meaning that in some countries, because the sun is out for longer, the fasting hours are longer. This year in Dublin (according to the lunar calendar) Ramadan commences on Saturday the 2nd of April. If you practice Ramadan and are reading this, Ramadan Mubarak!
written by volunteer, Abdulrahman Alsafi (Andy).