SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – How does fasting for thirty-days sound to you?
To some, the idea may sound unbearable. But to fellow Muslims around the world, this is an actual blessing.
April 13 kicks off the Islamic holiday of Ramadan. During this month-long holiday, Muslims from all around the world ditch all their meals and refocus their energy to complete spirituality and charity, fasting from dawn to sunset.
But what is Ramadan, and why do Muslims celebrate it?
Ramadan is the most sacred month of the year in Islamic culture. It is known to fall on the ninth month of the 12-month Islamic calendar. It is a time when Muslims demonstrate self-restraint, reflection, and give to those less fortunate.
During this holy month, Muslims do not eat or drink from dawn to sunset.
This fast is different for everyone around the globe. According to Al-Jazeera, some Muslims fast for over 21 hours, while others only for 10.
For those living in Utah during Ramadan 2021, Muslims are fasting for 14 hours and 46 minutes.
According to Islamic tradition, Muslims start their fast with a pre-dawn meal called “suhoor” and then break the fast with a meal known as “iftar” with friends and family.
Muslims observe this holiday to mark the point in time where God issued the first chapters of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad in 610.
Once the month-long holiday is finished, it is celebrated with a three-day festival known as Eid al-Fitr.
Are there Ramadan guidelines?
Just like any religious holiday, there are rules to Ramadan, and they should be followed in order to maintain its spiritual intentions.
According to the Quran, Ramadan is a time to administer self-restraint and self-reflection. Muslims view fasting as a time to become balanced not only in mind, but also in body. It is also an opportunity to put more focus on those in the world who are hungry and less fortunate.
While fasting, Muslims must avoid smoking, sexual activity, unkind or impure thoughts and words, and immoral behavior.
Are there any facts about Islam I should know?
In celebration of the holiday, here are six interesting facts you probably didn’t know about Islam.
- Unlike most religions, Islam isn’t named after a prophet. The Arabic root word for Islam translates to submission, obedience, peace, purity, and “voluntary submission to God” in a religious context, according to the Swedish Nomad.
- The Quran has never been altered since its revelation. None of the Torah or the Bible exist in their original form as revealed to Moses and Jesus. However, the Arabic text of the Quran has not been altered since the revelation.
- In Islam, God has 99 names. It is believed by many that if you memorize all 99 names, you will enter the gates of heaven.
- Muslims pray five times a day at specific times. Here is a breakdown of the following:
- Salat al-fajr: dawn, before sunrise
- Salat al-zuhr: midday, after the sun passes its highest
- Salat al-‘asr: the late part of the afternoon
- Salat al-maghrib: just after sunset
- Salat al-‘isha: between sunset and midnight
- There are five pillars in Islam, Muslims typically attempt to follow:
- Shahada – The declaration of faith.
- The five daily prayers
- Zakat – The practice of charitable giving
- Hajj – The Pilgrimage to Mecca
- Notable people of the Islamic faith you may have never guessed:
From our ABC4 team to you, Happy Ramadan!