Ramazan is the most sacred month in Islamic religion and today it has been practiced by 1.8 billion people around the world. This year the Ramazan started on Monday 12th April and it will end on Tuesday 11th May 2021.
Ramadan is known as the holy month of fasting, with Muslims abstaining from eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset.
Fasting during the holiday is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, along with the daily prayer, declaration of faith, charity and performing the Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It is considered a holy month that honors the time when Allah, via the angel Gabriel, revealed the first verses of the Qur’an, the holy book of Islam, to a caravan trader named Muhammad.
Origin of Ramadan
Ramadan, one of the months in the Islamic calendar, was also part of ancient Arabs’ calendars. The naming of Ramadan stems from the Arabic root “ar-ramad,” which means scorching heat. Muslims believe that in A.D. 610, the angel Gabriel appeared to Prophet Muhammad in the cave on Mount Hira on the outskirts of Mecca and revealed to him the Quran, the Islamic holy book. That revelation, Laylat Al Qadar—or the “Night of Power”—is believed to have occurred during Ramadan.
More than 1,400 years ago Muslims were commanded to fast during Ramadan.
The exact beginning and ending times of Ramadan are based on the sighting of the Moon. Specifically, Ramadan is said to begin at the first observance of the new Moon over Mecca, Saudi Arabia (or on a date pre-determined by astronomical calculation). Because of this, start and end dates vary each year and each day.
Moonsighting – the practice of spotting the new moon on the first night of each Islamic month with the naked eye – is a tradition that has endured to this day, as Muslims across the world wait in anticipation and excitement for the birth of the Ramadan moon.
Ramadan lantern or fanoos, probably originating from the 10th-12th centuries, became a symbol of the sacred month – to symbolize the spiritual light and blessings that Ramadan brings. Today, intricate lanterns are mostly seen on mosques.
One of the most important aspects of the Ramadan fast is called niyyah. Niyyah literally means “intention.” Muslims must not simply or accidentally abstain from food; they must achieve the requirement of niyyah. To achieve this requirement, a Muslim must intend in heart that [the fast] is meant to be a worship for Allah alone.
The fast is intended to remind Muslims of the suffering of those less fortunate and bring believers closer to God (Allah, in Arabic). The fasting has great social, physical and mental benefits.
On the Social level it bring people more closer to the suffering of others, because beside fasting it is required to help the poor ones, give money to the charity and understand the existential problems of others. It also bring people together, during the dinner, iftar the families and friends gather and enjoy their meal together.
On physical level, it help to purity the body, regenerate the body and cells by obtaining from food.
On mental level, it helps in clearing the mind and making it stronger by self-controlling from the thing that we lure.
It also helps people behaving in nicer way, forgiving the enemies, refraining from immoral acts such as backbiting, gossiping, cursing, arguing, fighting or being disrespectful, cruel or selfish.
During the month, Muslims also abstain from habits such as smoking, caffeine, sex; this is seen as a way to both physically and spiritually purify oneself while practicing self-restraint.
Meals are opportunities for Muslims to gather with others in the community and break their fast together. Pre-dawn breakfast, or suhoor, usually occurs at 4:00 a.m. before the first prayer of the day, fajr. The evening meal, iftar, can begin once the sunset prayer, Maghreb, is finished—normally around 7:30. Since the Prophet Mohammad broke his fast with dates and a glass of water, Muslims eat dates at both suhoor and iftar.
From Ottoman times, drummers in Turkey woke people for the pre-dawn meal. This ritual is still active, around 3 in the morning, the drummers are walking around the cities and playing drums to wake people on time so they have time to prepare their meal.
Toward the end of the month, Muslims celebrate Laylat al-Qadr or “the Night of Power/Destiny” — a day observers believe Allah sent the Angel Gabriel to Mohammad to reveal the Quran’s first verses.
On this night, which falls on one of the last 10 nights of Ramadan, Muslims practice intense worship as they pray for answers and seek forgiveness for any sins.
To mark the end of Ramadan, determined by the sighting of the moon on the 29th night of Ramadan, a 3-day celebration called Eid al-Fitr brings families and friends together in early morning prayers followed by picnics, feasts and fun. In Turkey, nationwide celebrated holidays are referred to as bayram, and Eid al-Fitr is referred to as both Ramazan Bayramı (“Ramadan Bayram”) and Şeker Bayramı (“Bayram of Sweets”). It is a time for people to attend prayer services, put on their best clothes (referred to as bayramlık, often purchased just for the occasion), visit all their loved ones (such as relatives, neighbors, and friends), and pay their respects to the deceased with organised visits to cemeteries. It is also customary for young children to go around their neighborhood, door to door, and wish everyone a “Happy Bayram“, for which they are awarded candy, chocolates, traditional sweets such as baklava and Turkish Delight, or a small amount of money at every door
Unfortunately, this year because of pandemic, all the celebration will be cancelled, and also gathering of larger number of people on iftar or in mosque is forbidden.