Why is Ramadan called Ramadan? Answers to 6 questions – GV Wire
Editor’s Note: Mohammad Hassan Khalil, Professor of Religious Studies and Director of the Muslim Studies Program at Michigan State University, answers six questions about the importance of the Muslim month of fasting.
1. Why is Ramadan called Ramadan?
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar and lasts 29 or 30 days, depending on when the new crescent moon is or is expected to be visible.
Mohammad Hassan Khalil
The Arabic term Ramadan evokes intense heat. It seems that in pre-Islamic Arabia, Ramadan was the name of a hot summer month.
In the Islamic calendar, however, the timing of Ramadan varies from year to year. This year Ramadan begins on the evening of April 1 or 2. An Islamic year is about 11 days shorter than a Gregorian year.
2. What is the significance of Ramadan?
Ramadan is a time of fasting and spiritual growth, and is one of the five “pillars of Islam”. The others being declaration of faith, daily prayer, almsgiving and pilgrimage to Mecca.
able-bodied Muslims are supposed to abstention eat, drink and have sex from dawn to dusk every day of the month. Many devout Muslims also perform additional prayers, especially at night, and attempt to recite the entire Quran. The prevailing belief among Muslims is that it is during the last 10 nights of Ramadan that The Quran was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad.
3. What is the connection between the soul and the body that the observance of Ramadan seeks to explain?
The Quran states that fasting was prescribed for believers so that they are aware of God. It is believed that by abstaining from things that people tend to take for granted (such as water), one can be led to reflect on the purpose of life and come closer to the creator and sustainer of all existence. .
As such, committing wrongdoing effectively undermine the fast. Many Muslims also argue that fasting allows them to gain feeling of povertyand it can foster feelings of empathy.
4. Can Muslims skip the fast under certain conditions? If so, do they make up for missed days?
All those who are physically limited (for example, due to illness or old age) are exempt from the obligation fast; the same goes for anyone who travels. Those who are able to do so must make up the missed days later. One could potentially make up for any missed days in the month immediately following Ramadan, the month of Shawwal.
Those who cannot fast at all (if they have the financial means) are should provide meals to the needy as an alternative action.
5. What is the meaning of 29 or 30 days of fasting?
By fasting for a long period, observant Muslims aim to promote certain attitudes and values that they could grow for an entire year. Ramadan is often equated with a spiritual training camp.
In addition to experiencing feelings of hunger and thirst, believers you have to deal with fatigue because of night prayers and pre-dawn meals. This is especially true during the last 10 nights of the month. Besides being the period in which the Quran is believed to have been first revealed, it is a time when divine rewards are believed to be multiplied. Many Muslims will offer additional prayers during this time.
6. Do Muslims celebrate the end of Ramadan?
The end of Ramadan marks the beginning of one of the two major Islamic holidays. Eid al-Fitr, the “feast of breaking the fast”. On this day, many Muslims attend a religious service, visit relatives and friends, and exchange gifts.
This is an updated version of an article originally published on May 22, 2017
About the Author
Mohammad Hassan KhalilProfessor of Religious Studies and Director of the Muslim Studies Program, University of Michigan. This article is republished from The conversation under Creative Commons license. Read it original article.
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