Fasting is a ritual practised in all the religions. It is a way of showing our love and sacrifice in the name of devotion to God. This is of immense importance, considering the growing materialistic nature of man. As per the demands of the times, man becomes too much engrossed in his life and fulfilling his desires, amidst which he often ignores the importance of what the God has given to him and takes it for granted. Fasting, especially for a whole month makes him realize the significance of the Supreme power who has bestowed the Earth with the most crucial needs of life - water and food. It teaches penance, sacrifice, self control and brings one closer to the almighty, the nature, the giver of all that we have today.
Ramadan is the ninth and the holiest month of the Islamic Calender. The whole month is observed as a fasting month in Islam, in order to commemorate the first revelation of Quran to Mohammed. This year, the month of Ramadan is starting from Thursday, May 16 and will end on June 16. The Taraweeh prayers will begin on May 16, at 10:45 pm. The Eid-Al-Fitr will be on June 15, 2018.
The observance of this month is regarded as one of he five most important pillars of Islam. Fasting is obligatory for adults during these days, except under a few cases such as illness, pregnancy, breastfeeding,travelling etc.
The observer of the fast has to refrain from eating or drinking anything. Other activities, considered sinful in Islam, such as drinking, smoking, sex, telling lies, backbiting, jealousy etc.. are also to be abstained from. The Islamic calender observes days from evening to evening, therefore the day starts from the evening of the previous day only. However, the fast generally is observed right from the next morning.
The fast begins by having a meal before the dawn of the first Roza day. This meal is known as the Suhoor. Similarly, on the last day of the month, the fast is broken by observing Iftar, the food eaten for breaking the fast.
It is believed that the holy Quran was sent down on the Earth on the night of Laylat-al-Qdar. This is one of the five odd nights from the last ten days in the month of Ramadan. It is also believed that the major holy scriptures were sent during this month only. Such as the tablets of Ibrahim, the Torah, the Psalms, the Gospel and the Quran were sent on the first, sixth, twelfth, thirteenth and the twenty fourth day of the Ramadan, respectively. Fasting has been described as obligatory for the true devotees of the God.
The fast is begun on the Hilal, the day after the new moon and ends on the first day of the month of Shawwal. This first day is celebrated as the Eid-Al-Fitr(June 15, 2018) and observed as a holiday. After having the first meal of the day, devotees begin with the Fijr, the first prayer of the day. They break the fast by eating dates, as Muhammad had done, by eating three dates. Then is performed the Maghrib, the fourth of the five prayers of the day. Then the final food is served.
Charity is of high importance according to all the religions, especially during the fasting days. Hence, the devotees never forget giving away a part of their earning in charity. Ramadan is the most sacred month for donations and charity.
There is Quranic verse in this regard -''Believers, fasting has been prescribed for you, just as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may guard yourselves against evil.''