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Posted On: 6 March 2023 05:07 pm
Updated On: 6 March 2023 05:41 pm

Learn about Ramadan & its significance

Fareeha Imtiaz
Fareeha Imtiaz
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If you have been in Qatar for a while, you must've heard about Ramadan and would know that it is a significant part of the country's traditions, culture and lifestyle.

It is a month of fasting for Muslims; however, many remain unaware of little details like what it signifies, rituals & more!

The (ILQ) team is here to give you more information on the lesser-known aspects of Ramadan.

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What is Ramadan?

Learn more about Ramadan & its significance
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During Ramadan, Muslims fulfil the religious obligation of fasting for one month.

Fasting during Ramadan falls under the fourth pillar of Islam and is also the month in which the Qur'an was revealed.

The practice of fasting was obligated via the verses of the Qur'an (Surah Baqarah, verses 183-187) and has evolved, making it convenient for people to fulfil.

What is the significance of Ramadan?

Learn more about Ramadan & its significance
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Ramadan is considered a special time in the lives of Muslims as it is a time to reflect on the many fundamentals of the religion or even life as a whole. Most people use Ramadan as a time to regain spiritual connection and use it as a stepping stone towards positive change.

It is also a time of discipline as most people abstain from what they deem as bad habits. During Ramadan, even in times of anger and stress, people are expected to show patience.

While it is a month of forgiveness from the creator, it is also a time of forgiveness between humans and a time to strengthen or rekindle family ties.

Ramadan is also a time to exercise gratitude and engage in more charity.

When is Ramadan?

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Ramadan falls during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and the start of Ramadan is declared based on the sighting of the crescent moon, as the Islamic calendar is lunar.

Due to the Islamic calendar being shorter than the Gregorian calendar, Ramadan begins 10 to 12 days earlier than the previous year.

For 2023, Ramadan is expected to start by 22 March 2023.

Rituals of Ramadan

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The rituals fulfilled during Ramadan are based on the teachings and practices of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

Sohour - the pre-fast meal

One of the essential parts of the fast is 'Sohour', which refers to a pre-fast meal just before the call to prayer at sunrise.

It is highly recommended that those fasting must wake up and have this meal and ideally delay it to as late as possible before the call to prayer.

This time and ritual are significant as the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had mentioned that the fast starts with the intention that the fasting person must make before beginning the fast. This doesn't have to be uttered out loud.

Iftar - the time of breaking fast

The term 'Iftar' refers to the meal that is had at the time of sunset to break one's fast. Based on the practices of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) the fast is mostly broken with dates.

It was also instructed not to delay breaking your fast. Iftar globally tends to be a time of gathering as many people enjoy this spiritual time with loved ones.

Taraweeh - Night prayers

'Taraweeh' is an extended night prayer that gets offered after the regular night prayer that is fulfilled five times daily. Taraweeh is a prayer that was practised by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and is typically offered in congregation.

Offering this prayer in congregation is not mandatory and can be provided individually.

Although this prayer is an integral part of Ramadan and is believed to be highly rewarding, it is not an obligatory duty.

Due to its extensive nature, there came a time when Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) would avoid offering this prayer out of fear that this would become a mandatory ritual that people would find difficult to deliver.

Laylat ul Qadr - Night of Power (last ten days of Ramadan)

The last ten days of Ramadan are high in virtue and are deemed the ten days within which the 'night of decree' or the 'night of power' falls.

This is believed to be a night of forgiveness from the creator and a night when a person's fate is written. Due to its high virtue and not wanting to miss any of the blessings of the time, Muslims engage in extensive prayer and worship during these days.

They offer extended prayers in a congregation or individually and recite the Qur'an or other supplications by remembering Allah (SWT).

Zakat Al Fitr - The Charity of Breaking the Fast

Ramadan is also considered the month of giving as it is one of the most charitable times of the year. Aside from the voluntary charity that most people engage in to strengthen their spiritual connection, there is something called 'Zakat Al Fitr'.

'Zakat Al Fitr' is an obligatory charity of food that has to be offered by all Muslims, regardless of age, before the end of Ramadan, typically by sunset of the last fasting day. In the case of children, the guardian will have to fulfil this charity on their behalf.

This is obligatory for those who have sufficient to support themselves and their dependents.

The amount of charity given typically is described as a one saa' of food (which converts to four hands full of food). In most cases, this charity is shown in the form of rice; however, it is not the only way. The amount would vary based on the weight of the ration or item that the charity is given in. This charity can also be given monetarily, ensuring it is sufficient for one saa'.

Eid Al Fitr - Festival of breaking fast

'Eid Al Fitr' is a celebration that has been endowed to Muslims at the end of Ramadan, which lasts a duration of 3 days.

It is a crucial part of the Ramadan rituals by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). It is an auspicious day for celebration and togetherness with loved ones, and it is forbidden to fast on the first day of Eid.

Who should fast & who is exempted?

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All healthy adult Muslims who are physically and mentally able must fast. There are exceptions to fasting in the case of the elderly, the ill, children, pregnant women and travellers.

If someone is temporarily unable to fast, they must make up for those missed fasts after Ramadan.

In the case of a permanent restriction, such as the elderly or the ill, compensation in the form of feeding someone else should be offered, which is paid for each missed fast.

Prohibited actions while fasting

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While typically, the fast refers to abstaining from eating and drinking from dawn to sunset, Ramadan also withholds many other rules.

As Ramadan is a time for getting closer to Allah (SWT) many other actions are prohibited, such as the following:

  • Eating or drinking
  • Using obscene language
  • Smoking
  • Intimate relationships with spouses
  • Lying

If any above-mentioned actions occur unintentionally, it does not invalidate the fast.

Did you know these details about Ramadan? Are you looking forward to Ramadan in Qatar? Do let us know in the comments below. Do share this article - it keeps us going!


Sources: Muslim Maid / Muslim Hands / Zakat / The Ramadan Kareem / Al-Islam /