Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to Prophet Muhammad according to Islamic belief.
This annual observance is regarded as one of the five pillars of Islam. The month lasts for 29–30 days based on the visual sightings of the crescent moon.
The onset of the holy month of Ramadan, according to the International Astronomical Centre, is expected to arrive either on the 5th or 6th of May this year in most Islamic nations.
Each year, Ramadan begins about eleven days earlier than in the previous year. And for 2019, it will fall on a season when winter has just ended in Qatar and extreme humidity is probably on its way.
Keep on scrolling as we've compiled for you five of the most common signs that the Holy Month is almost here!
Major hotel chains in Doha usually send Iftar food tasting invites at least 2 weeks before the holy month itself so if you're an employee of any decent-sized or well-known company in this part of the world, you probably have received an invitation or two to try out humongous Ramadan tents across the many posh hotels in D-Town and we can't blame you if you just can't say no!
Qatar daily The Peninsula reported recently the Ministry of Commerce and Industry's discount initiative on more than 500 consumer products in Qatar in the observance of the upcoming holy month of Ramadan.
The initiative covers basic commodities consumed during the fasting season, such as flour, sugar, rice, pasta, Harees, oil, milk, and other food and non-food items whose consumption increases during the holy month.
The Ministry has been communicating and coordinating with suppliers to identify commodities that witness increased demand during the holy month in a bid to offer these goods at the most appropriate prices.
According to the same report, the initiative will remain applicable until Ramadan concludes on the first week of June.
Besides the several night markets that will for sure open for the public one-by-one as Ramadan 2019 comes closer, the Ministry of Municipality and Environment has also recently opened a first-of-its-kind international dates exhibition where about 150 local and international exhibitors are currently showcasing different varieties of dates.
Over 20 tonnes of dates were sold out last Friday (April 26) at the 2019 International Dates Exhibition which is being held at Souq Waqif. Moreover, the MME said in a statement that around 6,000 people visited the exhibition on the same day. It will run until May 4.
Read more about the 2019 Dates Festival HERE!
As Ramadan is a time of spiritual reflection, improvement of devotion, and worship, countless acts of kindness are also being carried over within this season including gift giving, food distribution, and charity drives.
The Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) for example. They've recently announced the launch of their annual Ramadan campaign with the theme: “A Call for Mercy”.
The new drive comprises a wide range of humanitarian operations in 22 countries, at a total value of QR48mn. These operations will include 18 Ramadan Iftar projects in 11 countries throughout the holy month of Ramadan.
Qatar Charity (QC), on the other hand, has launched their own campaign called "Ramadan, The Gift of Giving", an initiative that seeks to implement major and seasonal projects in 30 countries, including Qatar. These projects worth QR71.8m are expected to benefit 3.4 million people across the globe.
In addition to this, some 45 Iftar tables will be spread across Qatar, benefiting more than 350,000 people at the cost of QR10m, while the ‘Mobile Iftar for Workers’ programme is expected to benefit 39,000 labourers at the cost of QR700,000.
Another project, ‘Baraha’, will support Iftar tables and activities of many communities residing in Qatar during the holy month of Ramadan to enhance interaction and cohesion among their members. Lastly, the 'From Home to Home' project will have Qatari families preparing and serving Iftar meals to low-income families on a daily basis.
To conclude, some 6,000 people are expected to benefit from the projects by QRCS and QC throughout the holy month.
A study revealed that the vast majority of Muslims around the world prefer not to travel during the month of Ramadan. Instead, they would spend the month with family and friends at home in a familiar environment to maximize the observance of faith-related practices.
But this is not the case in multi-culturally diverse Qatar. Since the expat population here is way more than that of the locals, most people would prefer to go back to their home countries for a while during the month-long Ramadan season—despite the relatively over-the-top prices on flight tickets.
With an increasing trend in family members living overseas for long periods due to studies or work, with some even migrating to other countries, Ramadan becomes an important and precious period for Muslims to travel and be closer to their loved ones.
There is also a growing trend amongst Muslims nowadays to spend Ramadan in other locations to experience the unique ways that the Islamic holy month is being practised around the world. The culture experienced in another country may be significantly different from that in their home country.
For everything Ramadan-related in Qatar, click HERE!
Did you find this article interesting? If yes, what are some more Ramadan signs that you want to add to the list? Let us know by dropping a line in the comments section and also, don't forget to like and share this article—it keeps us going!