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Posted On: 25 April 2019 01:38 pm
Updated On: 20 April 2022 01:24 pm

Everything you wanted to know about Ramadan but were too afraid to ask!

ILQ Staff
ILQ Staff
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Everything you wanted to know about Ramadan but were too afraid to ask!

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and it's also the month in which the Qur’an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam and is prescribed to every able-bodied Muslim. What this means is that for a month each year, Muslims fast from dawn until sunset every day. During the fast, they are not allowed to eat or drink anything and must also abstain from sexual relations.

Typically, Muslims have “Suhoor” or the morning meal before the morning prayer, Fajr. Once it is time for Fajr, the fast begins. It continues until the sunset prayer, Maghrib. The fast is then opened with a meal called “Futoor” or “Iftar.” During Ramadan, Muslims also tend to maximize the time they spend in prayer and worship. This includes reading a lot of Qur’an, engaging in remembrance of Allah, as well as standing in the night prayer (Taraweeh) and the even later night prayer during the last ten nights of the Holy Month.

For those not practicing Ramadan, it may be a new concept or something that seems unusual. People tend to have a lot of questions but maybe are afraid to ask them, either for fear of offending someone or maybe just for fear of seeming ignorant. A question I get asked quite often is, “All day? Not even water? COFFEE?”

Yep, not even water, and definitely no coffee (or cigarettes). Smoking’s not allowed either. So, is bringing you answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Ramadan.

First off, the most basic of them all. Why do Muslims fast in Ramadan?

Fasting is a way for Muslims to exercise self-restraint by staying away from consumption of food, drink and sexual activity—things that act as temptations in our daily lives. It helps exercise discipline because fasting also requires that one doesn't get angry or engage in any bad or harmful activities, especially towards others.

Does everyone have to fast? Are there exceptions?

Children are exempt from fasting until they reach the age of adolescence. Pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding are also exempt from fasting during Ramadan, as are people who are travelling. While they're menstruating, women are not allowed to fast, but have to make up their missed fasts after Ramadan. People without mental capacity and insight as well as people who are sick can be excused from fasting. However, all fasts that are skipped by adults with mental soundness have to be made up at any other time during the year.

Check out our article about those exempt from fasting for more details!

What happens if you accidentally break your fast?

If someone accidentally breaks their fast—meaning they forget that they're fasting and eat or drink absentmindedly and then realize and stop immediately, their fast is still valid. They can continue the fast and will not need to compensate for it as long as they don’t then consciously break it again.

According to a hadith (narration), the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said:

“Whoever forgets he is fasting and eats or drinks, let him complete his fast for it is Allah Who has fed him and given him to drink.”

So if you accidentally drink some water, don’t go raiding the fridge thinking you’re done for.

Is it rude if non-Muslims eat in front of Muslims during Ramadan?

It definitely shouldn’t be! Non-Muslims don’t have to fast just because we do! Usually, people tend to feel ashamed or hide their meals from Muslims during Ramadan, but chances are, we don’t really mind! Our stomachs are going to growl loud enough for the entire room to hear, regardless of whether or not you’re sipping your coffee. You may come across people who throw a dirty glance your way for eating while they’re fasting, but that isn’t really how it’s supposed to be. Sure, if you feel like you’re being disrespectful, do what makes you feel comfortable, but it’s most likely that your Muslim colleagues and friends are OK with it. Just try not to look them in the eye as you down an icy glass of water on a summer day in Qatar.

What is Laylatul Qadr/Why are the last ten nights of Ramadan special?

Laytul-Qadr also known as “the night of decree” or “the night of power” - A night that falls within the last ten days of Ramadan and commonly believed to be any of the odd nights, inclining towards the 27th; however, not definitive.

The last nights of Ramadan is a period within which worshippers hasten toward lengthy night prayers known as “Qiyam ul-Layl” in addition to the prayer of “Taraweeh”.

It is believed to be the night Angel Jibril (Gabriel) revealed the Holy Qur'an’s first verses to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH); thus, making it one of the most auspicious times of the Islamic calendar.

Devotional acts of worship are increased in an attempt to ensure the sacred virtue of this special night is not missed as it is believed to be the night wherein one’s fate is decreed and is the night of Allah’s abundant mercy. Additionally, every act of worship has exceeding rewards in this duration; thus the attainment of it is what worshippers seek.

These were our Top 5 Frequently Asked Questions about Ramadan. Hopefully, your questions about the Holy Month were answered. Let us know in the comments below if you have more questions or if you’ve been asked any others!

RELATED: A Non-Muslim's Guide to Ramadan Etiquettes in Qatar

Have a blessed last week of Ramadan! Also, don't forget to give us a like and a share—it keeps us going!

Cover image credit: iStock-654751028, Written by Rumana Shaikh