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              This article is about religious observances during the month of Ramadan. For the actual

              calendar month, see Ramadan (calendar month).

     Ramadan (Arabic: ••••••) (also written Ramazan, Ramzan,

     Ramadhan, Ramdan, Ramadaan) is an Islamic religious

     observance that takes place during the ninth month of the Islamic

                                                                       Qur'an 2:185]
     calendar; the month in which the Qur'an was revealed[

     to the Prophet Muhammad. In the western calendar, the dates of

     Ramadan vary, moving forward about ten days each year. It is

     the Islamic month of fasting, in which participating Muslims
                                                                                                   Part of a series on

     refrain from eating, drinking, sexual conduct, smoking, and                                Islamic Culture
     indulging in anything that is in excess or ill-natured; from dawn
     until sunset             Fasting is meant to teach the Muslim patience,            Arabic · Azeri

     modesty and spirituality. Rama•n is a time to fast for the sake of                 Indo-Islamic · Iwan

     Allah, and to offer more prayer than usual. Muslims also believed Moorish · Moroccan · Mughal
                                                                                        Ottoman · Persian · Somali
     through good actions, they get rewarded twice as much as they
                                                                                        Sudano-Sahelian · Tatar
     normally can achieve. During Rama•n, Muslims ask forgiveness
     for past sins, pray for guidance and help in refraining from
                                                                                        Calligraphy · Miniature · Rugs
     everyday evils, and try to purify themselves through self-restraint
     and good deeds.
                                                                                        Sema · Whirling

                               Contents[hide]                                           Dress

                                                                                        Abaya · Agal · Boubou
      q   1 Origins of Ramadan
                                                                                        Burqa · Chador · Jellabiya
      q   2 Practices during Rama•n
                                                                                        Niqab · Salwar kameez · Taqiya
          r   2.1 Fasting
                                                                                        Thawb · Jilbb · Hijab

          r   2.2 Prayer and reading of the Qur'an                                      Holidays

      q   3 Eid ul-Fitr

      q   4 Determining the start date

      q   5 References

     Origins of Ramadan                                                        [edit]

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                                                                                  Ashura · Arba'een · al-Ghadeer
     The name "Rama•ma" had been the name of the ninth month in
                                                                                  Chaand Raat · al-Fitr · al-Adha
     the Arab world long before the arrival of Islam; the word itself
                                                                                  Imamat Day · al-Kadhim
     derived from an Arabic root rm•, as in words like "rami•a" or "ar-           New Year · Isra and Mi'raj

                                                   [2]                            al-Qadr · Mawlid · Ramadan
     rama•" denoting intense heat , scorched ground and shortness
                                                                                  Mugam · Mid-Sha'ban
     of rations. In the Qu'ran, God proclaims that "fasting has been
     written down (as obligatory) upon you, as it was upon those
                                                                                  Arabic · Azeri · Bengali
     before you". According to the earliest hadith, this refers to the
                                                                                  Indonesian · Javanese · Kashmiri
     Jewish practice of fasting on Yom Kippur.                                    Kurdish · Persian · Sindhi · Somali

                                                                                  South Asia · Turkish · Urdu
     Laylat al-Qadr, considered the most holy night of the year, is the
     night in which the Qur'an was revealed to Muhammad, the "Night
                                                                                  Dastgah · Ghazal · Madih nabawi
     of the Power".              Muslims believe it to have occurred on an odd-
                                                                                  Maqam · Mugam · Nasheed
     numbered night during the last 10 days of Rama•n, either the
     night of the 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th or 29th (in Sunni thought) or
     the 19th, 21st or 23rd (in Shi'a thought). Rama•n ends with Eid
                                                                                  Karagöz and Hacivat · Ta'zieh
     ul-Fitr, with much celebration and feasts. During the month

     following Rama•n, called Shawwal, Muslims are encouraged to

     fast for a further six days, known as as-Sitta al-B+ or "the white
                                                                                  Islam Portal

     six." When fasting is over, Muslims go to Mosques in new clothes             v•d•e

     to pray the first Eid prayer. They give out presents to the young

     ones and greet their friends and families. They then thank God for what He has given them.

     Practices during Rama•n                                                                                         [edit]

     Fasting                                                                                                         [edit]

                         Please help improve this section by expanding it. Further information might be

                         found on the talk page. (September 2008)

              Main article: Sawm

     The most prominent event of this month is fasting. Every day during the month of Ramadan,

     Muslims around the world get up before dawn to eat Sahur, the pre-dawn meal, then they perform

     the fajr prayer. They have to stop eating and drinking before the call for prayer starts until the fourth

     prayer of the day, Maghrib. Muslims may continue to eat and drink after the sun has set until the

     next morning's fajr prayer call. Then the process starts all over.

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     Ramadn is a time of reflecting and worshiping God. Muslims are expected to put more effort into

     following the teachings of Islam and to avoid obscene and irreligious sights and sounds. Sexual

                                                                                     Qur'an 2:187]
     thoughts and activities during fasting hours are also forbidden.[                               Purity of both thought
     and action is important. The fast is intended to be an exacting act of deep personal worship in which

     Muslims seek a raised awareness of closeness to God.

     The act of fasting is said to redirect the heart away from worldly activities, its purpose being to

     cleanse the inner soul and free it from harm. It also allows Muslims to practice self-discipline, self-

     control        , sacrifice, and empathy for those who are less fortunate; thus encouraging actions of
     generosity and charity. However, A certain level of self-control can be lost by those who suffer from

     eating disorders.

     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. A

     difference of opinion exists among Islamic scholars as to whether this last group must make up the

     days they miss at a later date, or feed poor people as a recompense for days missed.                             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

                              Qur'an 2:184]
     days they miss.[                              More specifically, Twelver Sh+‘ah define those who travel more than 14
     miles in a day as exempt. . 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 Eftar 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

                                                                    Qur'an 2:184]
     repaying for the days they could not fast. [

     A person who is observing Ramadan might break the fast accidentally, due to having forgotten it. In

     such an instance, one should spit out the food being eaten or cease the forbidden activity,

     immediately upon remembering the fast.

     When Ramadan came to overshadow Ashura in importance, it took on some characteristics of the

     latter. According to the well-known hadith, the person who observes Ramadan properly will have all

     their past sins forgiven. According to another, "When Ramadan arrives, Heaven's gates are

     opened, Hell's gates are closed, and the demons are chained up" and who ever passes away will

     enter paradise.

     There are exceptions in certain Muslim communities that deny practicing fasting in Ramadn such

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     as Alevi people in Turkey.

     Prayer and reading of the Qur'an                                                                            [edit]

                                                                                    Sultan Ahmet Mosque,

                                                                                    Istanbul, Turkey in Rama•n (the

                                                                                    writing with lights called mahya)

                                                            Fanoos Ramadan, Cairo

     In addition to fasting, Muslims are encouraged to read the entire

     Qur'an. Some Muslims perform the recitation of the entire

     Qur'an by means of special prayers, called Tarawih, which are

     held in the mosques every night of the month, during which a

     whole section of the Qur'an (juz, which is 1/30 of the Qur'an) is
                                                                                    Eid Ul-Fitr meal, Malaysia
     recited. Therefore the entire Qur'an would be completed at the

     end of the month.

     Ramadn is also a time when Muslims are to slow down from worldly affairs and focus on self-

     reformation, spiritual cleansing and enlightenment, establishing a link between themselves and God

     through prayer, supplication, charity, good deeds, kindness and helping others. Since it is a festival

     of giving and sharing, Muslims prepare special foods and buy gifts for their family and friends and

     for giving to the poor and needy who cannot afford it; this can involve buying new clothes, shoes

     and other items of need. There is also a social aspect involved the preparing of special foods and

     inviting people for the Iftar meal (the meal to open the fast).

     In many Muslim and non Muslim countries with large Muslim populations, markets close down in the

     evening to enable people to perform prayers and consume the Iftar meal – these markets then re-

     open and stay open for a good part of the night. Muslims can be seen shopping, eating, spending

     time with their friends and family during the evening hours. In some Muslim countries, failing to fast

     or openly flaunting such behavior during Ramadan is considered a crime and is prosecuted as

     such. For instance, in Algeria, in October 2008 the court of Biskra condemned six people to 4 years

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     in prison and heavy fines.                    .

     Eid ul-Fitr                                                                                                     [edit]

     The Islamic holiday of Eid ul-Fitr (Arabic: ••• ••••••) marks the end of the fasting period of Ramadan

     and the first day of the following month, after another new moon has been sighted. The Eid falls

     after 29 or 30 days of fasting, as per the lunar sighting. Eid ul-Fitr means the Festival of Breaking

     the Fast; a special celebration is made. Food is donated to the poor (‘Zakat al-Fitr’), everyone puts

     on their best, usually new, clothes, and communal prayers are held in the early morning, followed

     by feasting and visiting relatives and friends. The prayer is two rakaahs only, and it is optional

     (Wajib)prayer as opposed to the compulsory five daily prayers.

     Determining the start date                                                                                      [edit]

     Hilal is typically a day (or more) after the Astronomical New Moon (No Moon). So, since there is

     only one new moon a month, we can safely estimate the beginning of Ramadan.

     References                                                                                                      [edit]

                         This article needs additional citations for verification.

                         Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be

                         challenged and removed. (September 2007)

             1. ^ An Idiot's Guide to Ramadan; BBC, 03 October, 2005

             2. ^ Ramadan FAQ

             3. ^ Sunan al-Tirmidhi I.145.

             4. ^ Šelomo D. Goy•ayn. Studies in Islamic history and institutions. Leiden, E. J. Brill, 1966. p. 95–96.

             5. ^ Robinson, Neal. Islam; A Concise Introduction. Washington: Curzon Press, 1999.

             6. ^ Why Ramadan brings us together; BBC, 01 September, 2008

             7. ^        Help for the Heavy at Ramadan, Washington Post, 27 September, 2008

             8. ^ See, for example, http://www.islamonline.net/discussione/message.jspa?messageID=21665, where

                  both points of view are indicated by different scholars; see also http://www.islamonline.net/English/

                  ramadan1422/2001/fiqh/fiqh62.shtml, where different views on this subject are mentioned.

             9. ^ Robinson, Neal. Islam; A Concise Introduction. New Jersey; Curzon Press, 1999.

           10. ^ AFP-Arabia.net, 7 October 2008; visited 9 December, 2008.

           11. ^ [1], visited 19 August, 2009.

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       v•d•e                                                          Muslim holidays and observances            [show]

         Islamic New Year | Day of Ashura | Imamat Day | Arba'een | Mawlid | Imam Musa al Kazim day | Lailat al Miraj

         | Shab-e-baraat | Ramadan | Laylat al-Qadr | Eid ul-Fitr | Eid al-Adha

       v•d•e                            Holidays, Observances, and Celebrations in the United States             [show]

         April Fools' Day • Arbor Day • Ash Wednesday • Black Friday • Christmas Day

         • Christmas Eve • Cinco de Mayo

         Columbus Day • Earth Day • Easter Sunday • Easter Monday • Election Day

         • Father's Day • Flag Day

         Good Friday • Groundhog Day • Halloween • Hanukkah • Independence Day • Kwanzaa

         • Labor Day • Leif Erikson Day

         Martin Luther King, Jr. Day • Mardi Gras • Memorial Day • Mischief Night • Mother's Day

         • New Year's Day

         New Year's Eve • Palm Sunday • Passover • Patriots' Day

         • Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day • Presidents Day • Ramadan

         Rosh Hashanah • Saint Patrick's Day • Super Bowl Sunday • Thanksgiving

         • Valentine's Day • Veterans Day • Yom Kippur

         Categories: Sawm | Islamic Holy days | Ramadan


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