Understanding Why Our Muslim Friends Fast during Ramadhan
Living in a multi-cultural society, we often see our friends of different races celebrate different holidays, going through different lifestyles and traditions. But none of us ever questioned the purpose behind what they do.
I’m sure many of us wonder from time to time why people of various faith go through certain rituals every year. As it is now the fasting month, we prepared a quick guide to help our non-Muslim friends understand why Muslims fast during Ramadhan!
WHAT IS RAMADHAN?
Ramadhan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and the month in which the Quran (Holy Book) was revealed to Prophet Muhammad S.A.W (may peace and blessings be upon him).
The word ‘Ramadhan’ is taken from the word ‘ramad’ in Arabic, which means intensely or vehemently heated by the sun. The word ‘ramdhaa’ means the intense heat of the sun. Hence, Ramaá¸han was named as such as the Muslims believe that it is when the sins of the believers are burned.
WHY DO MUSLIMS FAST DURING RAMADHAN?
Muslims believe that Ramadhan teaches them to practice self-discipline, self-control, sacrifice, and empathy for those who are less fortunate, thus encouraging actions of generosity and compulsory charity (zakat). One is exempted from fasting when they’re traveling, menstruating, pregnant, breastfeeding or suffering from severe illness.
It is compulsory for Muslims to fast in the month of Ramadhan because Allah (God) had commanded this in His Holy Book – the Quran.
HOW LONG IS RAMADHAN AND HOW LONG DO MUSLIMS FAST IN A DAY?
If we’re talking about the period of fasting, Ramadhan is approximately 720 hours long - lasting for four weeks and two days.
Sunrise till sunset is approximately 13 hours in Singapore – which is why you’ll see that most of our Singaporean Muslim friends are always preparing to eat slightly before or after 7.00pm onwards depending on the time the sun sets on a particular day.
WHY DO THE DATES OF RAMADHAN CHANGE EVERY YEAR?
The start of Ramadhan changes every year as Muslims follow the Islamic lunar calendar consisting of 12 lunar months in a year of 354 or 355 days. The holy month will only begin when there has been a physical sighting of a new moon.
Visibility of the moon depends on various factors, therefore, the months in the Islamic calendar begin on different dates every year.
SO, WHAT'S A TYPICAL DAY LIKE DURING RAMADHAN FOR OUR MUSLIM FRIENDS?
A typical day during Ramadhan for our Muslim friends would usually start with waking up before dawn for Sahur (pre-dawn meal) and making their ‘Niyyah’ (intention) to fast before fajr (dawn) prayer – the first prayer of the day. They then go on with the rest of the day, resisting all the temptations surrounding them (such as consuming food and water, physical intimacy etc.) till the time of breaking their fast with ‘Kurma’ (dates).
WHAT CAN YOU DO FOR YOUR MUSLIM FRIENDS DURING RAMADHAN?
Although many of our Muslim friends are used to being teased with food and water by their friends, we should respect the boundaries of our Muslim friends during the fasting month – simple gestures such as asking if it is okay to eat in front of them or being a bit more patient with them, understanding that due to the lack of energy from no food and drinks, they might not be at their best condition.
These little gestures can greatly brighten up the exhausting day of our Muslim friends!
So, there you go! You’ve just acquired new knowledge on another culture! Being understanding of other cultures and our friends will help in creating a harmonious society for all of us to live in!
Finally, to our Muslim friends, have a blessed Ramadhan!
Written by: Alvira Alayna
Posted by nEbO Admin on 4 May 2020, 5:34 pm
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