||The Fast of Ramadan
Ramadan is not a fix holiday
that changes its date every year and it is located in
the ninth month of the Muslim calendar. The Month of Ramadan
is also when it is believed the Holy Quran "was sent
down from heaven, a guidance unto men, a declaration of
direction, and a means of Salvation". It is during
this month that Muslims fast. It is called the Fast of
Ramadan and lasts the entire month. Ramadan is a time
when Muslims concentrate on their faith and spend less
time on the concerns of their everyday lives. It is a
time of worship and contemplation.
During the Fast of Ramadan strict restraints are placed
on the daily lives of Muslims. They are not allowed to
eat or drink during the daylight hours. Smoking and sexual
relations are also forbidden during fasting. At the end
of each day the fast is broken with prayer and a meal
called the "iftar". In the evening following
the iftar it is customary for Muslims to go out visiting
family and friends. The fast is resumed the next morning.
According to the Holy Quran: One may eat and
drink at any time during the night "until you can plainly
distinguish a white thread from a black thread by the daylight:
then keep the fast until night".
The good that is acquired through the fast can
be destroyed by five things: the telling of a lie, slander,
denouncing someone behind his back, a false oath, greed or
covetousness. These are considered offensive at all times,
but are most offensive during the Fast of Ramadan.
During Ramadan, it is common for Muslims to go to the
Mosque and spend several hours praying and studying
the Quran. In addition to the five daily prayers, during
Ramadan Muslims recite a special prayer called the Taraweeh
prayer (Night Prayer). The length of this prayer is
usually 2-3 times as long as the daily prayers. Some
Muslims spend the entire night in prayer.
On the evening of the 27th day of the month,
Muslims celebrate the Laylat-al-Qadr (the Night of Power).
It is believed that on this night Muhammad first received
the revelation of the Holy Quran. And according to the Quran,
this is when God determines the course of the world for the
When the fast ends (the first day of the month
of Shawwal) it is celebrated for three days in a holiday called
Id-al-Fitr (the Feast of Fast Breaking). Gifts are exchanged.
Friends and family gather to pray in congregation and for
large meals. In some cities fairs are held to celebrate the
end of the Fast of Ramadan.
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