What is Ramadan? Wikipedia defines Ramadan as:
“Ramadan (/ˌræməˈdɑːn/; Arabic: رمضان Ramaḍān, IPA: [ramaˈdˤaːn];also known as Ramazan, romanized as Ramzan, Ramadhan, or Ramathan) is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting (Sawm) to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad according to Islamic belief.
This annual observance is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam. The month lasts 29–30 days based on the visual sightings of the crescent moon, according to numerous biographical accounts compiled in the hadiths.”
During Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn to sunset and abstain from earthly pleasures and spend more time to pray and become closer to Allah. Most Muslim families also gather in celebration during the month.
Fasting is observed to help teach humility, self-discipline, self-restraint, and generosity. Muslims use this time as well to donate to the less fortunate and start charities.
Ramadan is determined by the sighting of the moon.
When their fasting starts and end?
From sun up to sun down. Muslims have “Suhoor” before sunrise and “Iftar” right after sunset. The best way to check the accurate timing is to check your local mosque.
What do you mean by fasting?
No eating or drinking at all. Not even mints or chewing gums. No intake of anything of any kind.
How about those who are non-Muslims in a Muslim country?
They are expected to observe their behavior around Muslims even more during Ramadan. If you are hungry or thirsty, you may do so but not in public or in the company of a fasting Muslim. In some countries, you may be jailed for not adhering to the rules.
Here are some fast rules you can do or cannot do during Ramadan:
Don’t eat, drink or smoke in public during the day. Observe the cultural and religious rights of the country.
Take extra caution on the road. Most of the drivers will be rushing their way home for Iftar.
Use the duration of Ramadan for reflection. You don’t have to be a Muslim to reflect. It also helps that almost everyone around you is observing the same.
Most if not all restaurants and cafes are closed during the day. Have your breakfast and hydrate before hitting the road.
Be considerate. Those who are fasting are all hungry, tired and thirsty. Be patient with them. They may be slower than the usual at work.
Government offices and most businesses have shorted operation hours. Try to get your work done while they’re open.
Be friendly and greet everyone with “Ramadan Kareem”.
As much as possible, do not reject when offered with food. It’s a blessing and an honor to be offered. It’s a sign of respect and being friendly.
Lay low on your sounds. As much as possible don’t play music loudly. If you really want to listen to some music, use a headset.
Do not wear revealing or inappropriate clothes. Although this is to be observed not only during Ramadan but Muslims may not take it lightly during their holy month.`
Observe the traffic even more. Work hours change during Ramadan. The rush hours may be an hour ahead or an hour late. Adjust accordingly.
It’s bad news for you if you’re drinking. In Bahrain, all liquor shops are closed during Ramadan. You might as well fast on the alcohol.
Avoid confrontation as much as possible. Ramadan is a holy time for Muslims. Swearing and cussing are mostly taken more offensive than ever.
No PDA (Public Display of Affection). This more than ever is a rule to be always observed mostly in a Muslim country.
Take part of the cultural tradition. Most restaurants have special offers during the month for Iftar.
Try fasting as well so you can learn more what your Muslims friends are going through during Ramadan.
Ramadan is a special very special time of a year for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Use the season to interact with friends, neighbors and everyone in the community. Ramadan Kareem!
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