For Muslims all over the world, Ramadan is a jovial and reflective time of year. Ramadan is a month during the Islamic calendar in which the practice of fasting and giving charity is observed by many.
As a Muslim living in the United States, I come across many individuals who have certain misconceptions and ideas of the holy month. I want to help clear up any misunderstandings of the tradition as well as enlighten folks about things that were not conveyed to them.
In Islam, it is expected of every Muslim person to fast during the month of Ramadan from sunrise to sunset. While the expectation is set upon all Muslims, there are a few people who are exempt from the requirement. Among those who are not obligated to fast are children, sick people, pregnant people and those who are on their menstrual cycle.
Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar which is a lunar calendar. Muslims rely on moon sightings in order to initiate and conclude the holy month. Because of this, Ramadan does not fall during the same time every year. As a result, every year there is a ten-day difference. This is why every year Ramadan feels like it’s happening sooner than people are used to. Because of this, Ramadan will actually occur twice in 2030.
The purpose of fasting during Ramadan is different depending on who you ask. And there are various reasons as to why people abstain from eating. One aspect of the fast is feeling gratitude for the little things in life that are taken for granted. As someone who lives in an environment where food and water are readily available, abstaining from it can remind me of the fact that not everyone has this privilege. Another reason is giving the body and mind a time to cleanse itself. Intermittent fasting is proven to be beneficial to the human body in many ways and Ramadan is a great opportunity for people to become health conscious without feeling alone in the process.
When fasting, all Muslims are told to abstain from consuming food and water for the day. At night, consumption of food and water is permitted. In cases where eating during the day is necessary for the health of a person, they are not encouraged or required to fast at all. Many people are surprised to hear that even water is prohibited during the fasting period, but it is something that Muslims have become accustomed to.
Throughout this holy month, Muslims still live their day-to-day lives with the exception of any food breaks. It is considered a blessed month for us and we love the feeling that Ramadan brings to the Muslim community.