Thursday, 18 June 2015

7 Facts about Ramadan

As some of you may know (or not), I am Muslim and today is the first day of Ramandan - the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Ramadan is usually difficult while being enjoyable - it's difficult to go about your day when you're fasting (more info below) but it's enjoyable because there's just something so special about the month. I know religion is a tough subject to bring up so I thought I'd do a few quick facts about Ramadan to teach you something new or something you've been afraid to ask.

1. During Ramadan, most Muslims fast from dawn to sunset - fasting includes abstaining from food, drinks (including water) and sex. We wake up to eat a meal at dawn and only eat/drink after the sun sets. We also try to abstain from unkind thoughts, gossip and swearing.

2. The point of Ramadan is to detox and recharge; to focus ourselves on prayer, charity and spirituality. It's also a great reminder of the blessings we take for granted and to know the suffering of those who don't have food and water.

3. Fasting is not impossible - it can be hard during the summer months when days are longer but it's not impossible. I find that the hardest part of fasting isn't the lack of food or water but the lack of sleep - waking up early to eat disturbs our sleep cycle and the very late sunset means we sleep late too. Other than that, it really isn't so bad!

4. Not everyone has to fast - children, those who are pregnant, breast feeding or sick do not need to fast. Those who have to take medication at certain times and many with diabetes choose not to fast as well. You also do not have to fast if you are travelling or menstruating. It's not meant to punish you by any means - only those who can fast should fast.

5. The nightly optional prayers at the mosque have an inexplicable air of joy around them. I wish it's something I could formulate - it's a very specific, happy feeling and it's unlike any other. I didn't go to nightly prayers last Ramadan as they were too late and I had to go to work early the next day and it's something I regret. There's joy and excitement and a sense of community at these prayers and it's an unmatched feeling.

6. As it is based on the lunar Calendar, the date of Ramadan changes every year. It moves up by 10 days.

7. Charity is a huge part of the month. There are five pillars of Islam and while I'll delve into that later, one of them is charity. Muslims are required to give 2.5% of their savings to a charity of their choice or to people in need each year. Many opt to do this during the month of Ramadan as the blessings are multiplied during this month!

Hope this post helped you learn a little more about the holy month for Muslims! Please feel free to ask any questions or share your thoughts below or tweet me @SundayWardrobe. If I've gotten any facts wrong, please let me know!

If you see a Muslim, for the next month, feel free to say Ramadan Mubarak! It means have a blessed Ramadan :)

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