Every year, the month of Ramadan dawns with fervour over Muslims. It certainly is a time of celebration and joy as it is not just the month of worship; but also a 30 day gala time complete with food, fun and frolic.
Here is everything you need to know about the divine period.
1. History of Ramadan
Eid-al-Adha, which is preceded by Ramadan, was a custom started by Prophet Mohammed, the last messenger of Islam. During the last 10 days, Muslims worship with even more devotion as it is believed that ‘Laylatul Qadr’, the Night of Destiny falls during this period. It is supposed to be the day when the first verses of the Quran were revealed to the Prophet.
2. What exactly do Muslims do in Ramadan?
Muslims are supposed to fast from dawn to dusk. They aren’t permitted to consume anything, even water. They have to get up before the sun rises and take whatever food, water or medicines they want and then stop eating when the ‘Fajr’ (early morning) call of prayer is given out. This period is called the ‘Suhoor’ or ‘Sehri’. After eating nothing for the entire day, they have to eat directly when the Maghrib (dusk) prayer is called out. This meal is called the Iftaar. The fast is usually broken with a date and a glass of water.
3. What is the significance of Ramadan?
It is like no ordinary fast where all you do is stay hungry. A fasting individual has to be the best version of a Muslim that they can be. You have to put in maximum efforts to read the Quran (the holy book) and avoid sins such as lying, swearing, immodesty and other undesirable acts. This is also the month where Muslim families give out charity. The month of Ramadan is extremely blessed and almost like an opportunity for Muslims to redeem themselves.
The month symbolises gratitude, forgiveness and love. As Muslims fast, they realize the value of food and the importance of a simple, grateful life, thus relating to the less fortunate.
4. What are the benefits of Ramadan?
Since Muslims have abstained from sexual acts, food and other addictions like smoking for a month, they develop self-control and restrain. They also understand the pain of the underprivileged which helps to develop gratitude and the joy of giving in their hearts. It is a period of tests and trials, wherein there is food right in front of you, but you hold back and don’t eat it until your Lord commands you to.
5. Can Muslims be excused from fasting?
Elderly people, children, patients suffering from diabetes and other diseases and menstruating women are exempted from fasting. At times, even elitist athletes skip fasts. However, by and large, every Muslim must fast.
6. What are the special features of Ramadan?
The iftaar is no ordinary meal. It consists of the best a family can afford. There are kebabs, bhajiyas, fast food, oily greasy stuff that we all love. Right from naan sandwich to baida roti, households cook up the best non veg dishes they can. An iftaar is never a dull affair. Along with that, there is a special kind of light in the mosques and happiness in the air which lasts through the month.
There is also excitement for Eid, which is celebrated after the month comes to an end. The shopping and festivities last the entire duration. Muslims pray a special kind of ‘namaaz’ called the ‘Taraweeh’ which is exclusive to Ramadan.
7. Why is Eid celebrated?
Eid is like the end product of all the hardships a Muslim bears throughout the month. It usually lasts three days. In Islamic countries, holidays are usually given for 16 or 30 days for Eid. Fasting is not permitted on this day. To celebrate, Muslims meet up with their families and friends, dress up their best, eat great food and go for outings.
8. Things you must do to make the most of Ramadan
Whether you are a believer of Islam or not, Ramadan is a period of happiness for everyone. If you happen to belong to Mumbai, don’t forget to visit Mohammed Ali Road at midnight, which is an epitome of ‘good food, good life’. The place is lit up and all kinds of delicious food, which won’t otherwise be available throughout the year, is sold. Soak in the beauty of the festival and enjoy the food at other Muslim dominated areas where the food stores stay open right till 4 am in the morning.
Try to avail the Iftar Boxes which you can get at certain restaurants. Try to get invited to an iftar party to get a complete feel of the season. And end it with biryani on Eid along with shirkurma. Yum!
Grab some time and enjoy the authenticity of Muslim vicinity, diving into their flavors and prayers.
Share your Ramadan plans in the comment section below. Let us know more places where we can drive in, to celebrate the holy month. Eid Mubarak!