Ramadan is the Holy Month for over 1.8 billion Muslims around the world – this is considered as the period when the Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad. It is a time when Muslims fast during the day. However, contrary to popular belief, this isn’t restricted to food and water alone. Muslims also practise abstinence from negative thoughts in their aim to commune with Allah for self-purification. Positive thoughts take the shape of acts of kindness and charity. The last meal of the day is eaten before sunrise and the next meal, called iftar, is the one that breaks the fast after sunset, following the evening prayer.
Fasting for food only?
Ramadan is not merely about avoiding food during the day. Muslims also have to avoid drinking water and are expected to abstain from smoking cigarettes and engaging in other sinful acts.
Majority of Muslims who break their fast eat dates – a traditional fruit that’s harvested across different farms across all seven emirates.
Ramadan as a name
The name of the holy month has also witnessed an increase in preference among Muslim households when choosing the name of their baby boy. The baby naming site, Baby Center, states that ‘Ramadan’ as a baby name has been rising in popularity in recent years.
Fasting period varies
Breaking the fast for Muslims depend on the time when the sun sets on the horizon – which means timings vary for the faithful around the world.
The longest fasting period expected this 2021 are those living at Murmansk in Russia, who have to fast at least 18 hours, while the shortest is for Muslims living at Ushuaia in Argentina, who will only have an average of 12 hours to fast.
The UAE enjoys a median range on timings for their fast, with 14 hours daily before the sun fully sets.
No pre-determined dates
Every year, the month of Ramadan falls on different dates, starting approximately 11 days earlier than the year before.
This is because Ramadan follows the lunar calendar or the phase cycle of the moon, which is equivalent to only 29.5 days. What this means is that the total number of days for each transition from a new moon to another new moon is only 354 days per year.
Help from the heart
Ramadan is synonymous to charity, in the sense that many more Muslims practice the act of giving to others. However, here in the UAE, authorities discourage giving directly to beggars to the point of banning begging as a whole, citing that some of these unscrupulous individuals take advantage of the kindness of Muslim residents and citizens especially during the period of Ramadan.