About Ramadan

Ramadan 2014 / 1435 – The Muslim Month of Fasting

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim calendar. It is during this month that Muslims observe the Fast of Ramadan. Dates for Ramadan 20143 (or 1435) are 28 June – 27 July.

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Coinciding with Ramadan, we produce a booklet for the Christian world called, “30-Days of Prayer for the Muslim world” (which can be ordered here →).

The first evening of Ramadan

In many places around the world Muslims will be looking to the heavens this evening. They will be interested in knowing if they will be able to see the crescent moon. If it is visible this will be the signal for the beginning of the month of Ramadan. (In most countries religious authorities will make a proclamation concerning the beginning of Ramadan). No fasting will take place till tomorrow morning. Muslims will rise early to eat their breakfast before the day begins. Afterwards they will not have anything else to eat or drink till nightfall. This will be their daily experience during the next 30 days.

Fasting – Ramazan

Fasting is one of the Five Pillars of the religion of Islam and one of the highest forms of Islamic worship. Abstinence from earthly pleasures and curbing evil intentions and desires is regarded as an act of obedience and submission to God as well as an atonement for sins, errors, and mistakes. Called Ramadan (or Ramazan), Muslims fast during this holy month from the moment when it first starts to get light until sunset. Muslims fast as an act of faith and worship towards Allah, seeking to suppress their desires and increase their spiritual piety. Fasting together as a worldwide community – Ummah – affirms the brotherhood and equality of man before Allah.

Islamic Calendar

The Islamic calendar is based on the lunar cycle. The month of Ramadan is the ninth month and begins with a combination of the sighting of the new moon and astronomical calculations. The exact time of Ramadan sometimes varies from place to place as some rely heavily on the moon sightings while others depend on science. An Imam (Muslim holy man) will declare the exact time of Ramadan just prior to its commencement. The fasting period ends upon the sighting of the next new moon, which occurs after 29 or 30 days.

The lunar cycle changes each year. For example, one year Ramadan was from the 22 August-20 September, but the year before the dates for Ramadan were 01-30 September. (See our Islamic Calendar article for details .)

The Meaning of Ramadan

The name Ramadan is derived from the Arabic word ramida or ar-ramad, denoting intense scorching heat and dryness, especially the ground. From the same word there is ramdaa, meaning ‘sunbaked sand’ and the famous proverb Kal Mustajeer minar ramadaa binnar – to jump out of the frying pan into the fire. Some say it is so called because Ramadan scorches out the sins with good deeds, as the sun burns the ground.

The Special Feeling of Ramadan

Ramadan brings out a special feeling of emotional excitement and religious zeal among Muslims of all ages. Though fasting is mandatory only for adults, children as young as eight willingly observe fasting with their elders. Children look forward to the excitement of sighting the moon and eating special meals with their families. Adults appreciate the opportunity to double their rewards from God and seek forgiveness for past sins. As Ramadan emphasizes Muslim brotherhood and community all feel a particular closeness.

Muslims have to change their whole physical and emotional selves during this 30 long days of fasting. A typical day of fasting begins with getting up early, around 4:30a.m. and sharing a meal called Sahur together before the fast begins at dawn, about 5:10a.m. As dawn breaks, the first of five daily prayers, Fajr, is offered.

As the day proceeds, fasting Muslims are constantly bombarded with messages from their stomachs that it is time for breakfast, snack, lunch, and so on. And each time, Muslims remind themselves that they are fasting for the sole purpose of pleasing Allah and seeking his mercy. They offer the second and third prayers during early and late afternoon, respectively.

Fasting helps one to experience how a hungry person feels and what it is like to have an empty stomach. It teaches one to share the sufferings of the less fortunate. Muslims believe that fasting leads one to appreciate the bounties of Allah, which are usually taken for granted – until they are missed!

Throughout the day Muslims are encouraged to go out of their way to help the needy, both financially and emotionally. Some believe that a reward earned during this month is multiplied 70 times and more. For this reason, Ramadan is also known as the month of charity and generosity.

To a Muslim, fasting not only means abstaining from food, but also refraining from all vice and evils committed consciously or unconsciously. It is believed that if one volunteers to refrain from lawful foods and sex, they will be in a better position to avoid unlawful things and acts during the rest of the year.

Breaking The Daily Fast During Ramadan

The fast is broken at sunset. The Prophet Muhammad recommended breaking the fast with dates. Muslims are urged to invite others to break the fast with them. These gatherings are called Iftar parties.

Just after breaking the fast, and before dinner, Muslims offer the fourth of the five daily prayers, which is called the Maghrib prayer. After dinner, Muslims go to their houses of worship, called Mosques, to offer the Isha prayer, which is the last of the five daily prayers. The day ends with a special voluntary prayer, the Taraweeh, offered by the congregation reciting the Qur’an, the holy book of Islam.

The Last 10 Days of Ramadan

The last ten days of Ramadan are considered highly blessed, especially the 27th night which is also called the ‘Night of Power’, or the ‘Night of Destiny’. It is believed that on this night the prophet Muhammad received the first revelation of the Qur’an. For many Muslims, this period is marked by a heightened spiritual intensity and they may spend these nights praying and reciting the Qur’an.

After 30 days of fasting, the end of the month of Ramadan is observed with a day of celebration, called Eid-ul-Fitr. On this day, Muslims gather in one place to offer a prayer of thanks. It is traditional to wear new clothes, visit friends and relatives, exchange gifts, eat delicious dishes prepared for this occasion, and wait patiently for the next year.

We also have a special version “Just for Kids” and families:

What the Bible Says About Fasting

In the Bible, we do not find any one method of fasting required of us, but the Lord Jesus did say however, “when you fast…” (Matthew 6:16), seeming to assume that His followers would imitate His own example. We fast as an outward symbol of our devotion to God, being willing to deny ourselves food for His sake. Fasting adds intensity to our prayer, and often leads to breakthroughs. We do not fast to convince or persuade Him, but rather to identify with His broken heart and with His desire for all mankind to know Him. “Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free and that you break every yoke. Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out.” (Isaiah 58:6 &7)

“Why Pray?” Video

Clock from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.


Comments

  1. I find christian belief very confusing. You believe jesus is god. and that jesus’s father is god. well if we are gods children, doesnt that make us gods too??! and why would god let his “son” be crucified like that? We believ that jesus was a messenger of Allah. He is not god. gods dont die. God Almighty has the greatest power. Do u seriously think a god would let himself be mercilessly killed? and how did his death allow you all to survive? that i REALY dont get. I think ALL of us should do some research before saying anything like this. I’ve heard of sooo many priests converting to islam, google them ask them WHY

    • Colleen Funderburk says:

      Aida,
      Christianity is like water turning to ice and then vapor…all three equal water. That’s the way they explained it to me in Sunday school. They have a Trinity that is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. However, the contradiction in the Bible is with John 14: 16 “and He shall give you another Comforter” so who was this other comforter coming? Also look up John 16:7-14 where it says that this new comforter will reprove the world of sin and righteousness and of judgement. It also states that he shall not speak of himself and he will guide you into all truth. So if Jesus was suppose to be the last messenger, than why would he say this in the Bible???

      • Colleen, please read thoroughly John 14-16 and see the whole thing in context. The comforter is the Holy Spirit (see Jn 14:26) who will remind the disciples of all the things Jesus taught.Yes, he also convicts the world concerning sin. What you fail to realise is that Jesus sent the Spirit for this purpose, not to proclaim anything new, but to remind and convict people of Jesus’ message.
        The Quran, however, claims to be clear does it not? Perhaps you can explain what the ‘alif, lam,mim’ mean? Apparently only Allah knows their meaning, so i guess the Quran isn’t so clear always? Contradiction? Or why do you need the Hadith to interpret the Quran if it is clear?

    • Aida, Jesus is God the Son, and HE choose to lay down His life willing, according to God the Father’s plan of salvation. It’s not that Jesus WANTED to die, but He was willing to accept His role in the master plan to accept the weight of the sins of the world. Before Jesus Christ, the Jews sacrificed a lamb for Passover… but that lamb was only a temporary reprieve from sin… not a permanent solution. Jesus is the only one who could atone for all sin, for all people, for all time… BECAUSE He had no sin of His own.

      To your other misconception… no, we are not all children of God, we are all born as “children of wrath”, born sinners due to Adam’s sin, it is in or genetic code… EVERYONE sins, whether big sins like murder, rape, adultery… or smaller sins, white lies, maybe cheating on your taxes just a little, not being content in your situation, etc. The only ones who can be called “sons of God” are those whom have experienced a second birth… a spiritual birth through acknowledgement of Jesus Christ as our Lord and personal Savior. Look in Ephesians 2:3 “among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.”, also see John 1:12 “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children…

  2. christians dont understand why we are so strongly attached to our religion. read translations of the Holy Quran, find out WHY. dont just blindly say that your belief is true and our’s isnt. check it out. Oh, and while ur at it, google those priests who converted to islam. ask them why

    • Colleen Funderburk says:

      Asalam alaikom wr wb brother…I understand completely where you are coming from. The blind lead the blind and only Allah guides whom He will, inshallah. I have read about all the religions in the world…Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Sikhism, etc. Islam is the only religion I feel comfortable with alhamdoulilah. What’s the harm in learning something new? Knowledge is power. But I think people are skeptical because of what the media portrays. What’s the worse that can happen if you read the Qu’ran? Nothing. It’s not going to burn up in your hands or convince you to do something you don’t want it to. The worse thing that can happen is that you’ll discover the Truth. Fear of the unknown exists because people don’t want to get out of their comfort zone. They love who they are whether it’s right or wrong.

    • The comforter that is being spoken of is the Holy Spirit. I don’t see any contradictions. I’ve read the New Testament many times and don’t find the contradictions people say exist. I do know there are passages that may seem like contradictions that really are due to not understanding the history of tradition, culture, meaning. The bible is nothing less than an incredible collection of historical information. And, information about the future of mankind.

  3. Look, us Muslim’s dont belive that Allah had a son, No-one existed before Allah, Isa ( christians call him Jesus) in Islam is a Prophet But NOT the son of Allah

  4. Jesus is known to have referred to himself as son of man. Doesn’t that make him human? Cuz he’s not saying son of god…

    • Why do people keep referring to Christians who converted to Islam? Ever saw the videos of imams and other Muslims that converted to Christianity? Try youtube. And they give the reasons why the converted, no need to ask them.

  5. I thought only Jewish people said G-d.

  6. Dearest Muniupa,

    IN REPLY OF WHO CAME NEXT AFTER CHRIST — THE ANSWER IS GOD’S “HOLY SPIRIT” .

    John 14:26 —-But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
    Luke 24:49—– I am going to send you what my Father has promised;

    Acts 2:3 PROVES IT “They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.”

    There are many more [http://bible.cc/mark/4-12.htm] but dear friend I would not waste yours as well as mine— valuable time- the sole reason being that the Bible says :
    Mark 4:12—–so that, “‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’”
    Isaiah 6:9 He said, “Go and tell this people: “‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’

    John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father(GOD THE FATHER ALMIGHTY-also father of Ishmael-son of Hagar-Abraham/Ibrahim-as written in Injil/Surah/Qu’ran/Bible) except through me.

    Thank you for your time & GOD Bless you
    (Edited to make it shorter / Admin)

  7. Dear Kellie,

    and what factual proof do you have, except , of course, your dreams, visions and fantasies? any scientific facts?

  8. I am not a Muslim but I write to express how Ramadan is recognized not only to Muslim people but also to other religion. It is in fact marked as an holiday to the Christian calendar. The sacrifice of the Muslims in this certain event is very much recognized and appreciated.

  9. Colleen Funderburk says:

    Asalam alaikom wr wb…(peace and blessing be upon each and every one of you). Practically everyone here claims to be Christian one way or another but putting it into practice is another story. I was raised Christian but I found many contradictions in the Bible and many unanswered questions. However, after reading the Qu’ran I discovered the missing pieces to the puzzle. I am not here to brag or to put down any religion. But alhamdoulilah I have reverted to Islam for the sake of my mental and physical health. My brothers and sisters in Islam have given me way more than my own family had to offer. Which do you prefer…drugs, alcohol, verbal and mental abuse or a life of peace and tranquility with people who truly care about you? The so called Christian family I had did not help me in any way. Just the opposite. They wanted my life to spiral out of control so that I could be at their level. Hypocrisy! Honestly, I don’t know too many people nowadays who live their life “Christ-like”. They just claim to be Christian but that’s just a logo. Underneath that logo hides a fraud and a scam.

    • Anthony Walker says:

      Colleen, I’m sorry that you had poor examples of Christians in your life…but the truth be told we are sometimes very weak example in our faith and devotion to God…we are weak in areas of self control, love, Peace, mercy and grace, and we do defame the name of the Lord…but in all of that we still have the mercy of God who will save of not because of our goodness but because of His righteousness and His glory.

      • Colleen,
        In every religion there are examples of people who claim a faith but who live according to the flesh, like your family. You’ll find these people also among Muslims if you do not live in a completely sheltered environment. You may find now that your friends in the Islamic faith are caring and loving but the main difference with the two beliefs is that with Islam you are ever working to please God with the hope (but uncertainty) of eternal life. This, in time, is frustrating and exasperating, to work at something but never be assured of it’s reward. In Chrisitanity when rightly understood and lived, we are assured of our salvation because Christ paid the price for our sins (It’s not based on how good or bad we have been, although true faith in Christ will reflect true repentence) and we live pleasing God out of gratitiude and love, not out of fear and uncertainty. Your new found religion may have brought you a temporary peace but when you encounter Christ in a personal relationship, you have have real peace with God. This is a vast difference, Islam calls you to a religion, Christ calls us into relationship with him! Don’t allow the bad example of your family to blind you to the truth. A life lived as a true Christian will be much more of a rebuke to them than turning to Islam.

  10. Colleen Funderburk says:

    I personally don’t know any Christian who fasts. Do you? and if so, for how long? and when? Also, why do they eat pork if it says it’s forbidden in the Bible?

    • Muslims don’t fast. Not eating for twelve hours is hardly a fast. It isn’t even dieting. Muslims eat an enormous meal right before sunrise and then another after sunset; and, pork is not ‘forbidden in the Bible’.

    • I am Christian. I fast and know others that do as well. Eating of pork is forbidden n the Old Testament. Believed to be there for health reasons due to the parasites in the meat. It is believed to have been approved to eat, in the New Testament.

  11. Colleen Funderburk says:

    You sound like the KKK. Indian Muslims? I am a muslim and I am not Indian. what’s up with that???

  12. ACCORDING TO ISLAM, ALLAH IS ONE AND HE HAS CREATED THIS UNIVERSE AND ISA (JEJUS) IS THE PROPHET OF ALLAH………

  13. I have read the comments here with great Interest, especially comments by Colleen, whose Christian Family fall short of Christian values.

    Colleen, I also was born into a Christin Family, but convered to Islam on personal convictions. MyFamily are good Christian people. My Father (god rest his soul) was a church Elder. many of the chracter traits I demenstrate today (No alcohol, no smoking, personal discipline, etc) all were learnt at home from my Father before I converted to Islam.

    I am sorry your Family did not meet your expectations of Christianity, but i have to say that Christianity is neither a Fraud or a Scam.

    AsSallam Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah.

  14. Ibnu Khaldun says:

    Colleen, isn’t it wonderful that you are free to change your religion and exercise your belief, thanks to the free society that you are living in. You won’t find this kind of freedom in strict muslim environments. When it comes to freedom, tolerance, pluralism, multiculturalism, your new religion has a really really bad name. And it’s not because of the unbalanced media coverage as you claim, but because of what your peer muslim brothers and sisters have done in the past and are still doing now, to this moment. Your religion is good when its followers practise it moderately or even reluctantly, but unfortunately not when they start to practice it strictly. Have you ever heard of ‘shariah law’? Your imam/ustaz might have told you that every muslim is obliged to live according to shariah (law) and it is good to please Allah/God. Don’t take his words for granted. Let yourself someday visit places where shariah is implemented: Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and see for yourself. Just compare the situation to where you are living now and see the difference. Sad to say, where there is Islam, there is violence, intolerance, and persecution of others. Let you ask yourself humbly: “What’s wrong with my religion?”
    Or take some time to visit Indonesia the so-called ‘most tolerant and peaceful muslim country’. I live here. Truthfully, it was…

    • Yes, of course Indonesia is a good country for Muslims, most tolerant and peaceful Muslim country’ but for Christians is struggle country to exercise their faith. You can google it many churches burned and it’s not easy to build church. Not like as easy to build mosque.

  15. I don’t understand why “some” Christians feel that they need to read an comment on Islamic matters. I’m a reverted Muslimah and I the ability to compare and contrast to two beliefs system. I’ve never read a Christian blog with comments from Muslims concerning OUR belief because there is no Complusion in Islam. Those Christians who read Muslim information and make comments in an attempt to convince individuals who have been called to Islam, are wasting precious time. Let your light shine that other my glorify Allah (god). Isa(Jesus PBUH) would not be please with those who say they believe seek to put a wedge between believers. WE DO HAVE THE SAME BELIEF BELIVE IT OR NOT!

  16. As per Makkah Calendar announcement, Eid Al Fitr 2012 should be celebrated on Sunday, 19th August 2012.(Comment shortened by Admin. because of links to other web sits.)

  17. Jesus only? Wht part does God play?

    • If you really wanted an answer to that question, you could begin by reading the Epistle to the Hebrews and the Book of Romans, to name just two excellent sources for the role of both Jesus and the Father.

  18. but in the Bible @ Hebrew 5:7-8, Jesus in his days cried out to ALLAH(God) who was and is the only one who could save from death, so why dont you cry out to this same ALLAH(God) when you have problem.?

  19. I wouldn’t go to a mortal either, which is why I rely on Jesus and not Muhammad. Also, explain how you think Jesus is a mere ‘mortal? Muslims keep telling me that Jesus was ‘taken up’ by Allah and will return on the Last Day. Sounds like Jesus has been alive now for +/- 2,000 years. Hardly a mere ‘mortal’.

  20. JOHN 14:15-17: “If you love me you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father and He will give you another Comforter to be with you forever – the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept him because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him for he lives with you and will be in you.” and JOHN 16:13-15 [edited for brevity, admin.]

  21. Why do the, Muslim clerics want to refer to the Bible to find something about Mohammed there, while they are saying that the Bible was corrupted? If the Bible was corrupted, why are you searching for a verse here, and a verse there, referring to Mohammed? They say the “Bible is corrupted! Leave it alone!” But with their saying that the Bible was fabricated, was corrupted, they are really dying to find a verse here, or a verse there to speak about Mohammed. [Edited for brevity, admin.]

    • To go back to your original question that if the bible is corrupted then why do we seek the truth in it? That is because the truth is still written in there. Even in the western world it is commonly known and accepted that many verses have been added and changed within the bible and mostly because of money. I have learned this at school here in the west. However it doesn’t mean you can just disregard the bible in its whole, it is still a holy book.

      I do not understand these disputes because in the end we will stand infront of our creator and we will all answer individually for our sins muslim/jew/christian.

  22. If Christians are in America, are they not Americans? Christians in France… are they French? I’m not completely sure of the logic in “why are they Muslims and not Germans?” argument, other than that they are not Christian Germans.

  23. god has given u brains to think for yourselves. So think, cross refer, have an open mind, ask god to guide u to the truth.

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