Ramadan 2020: History, importance and when does Ramadan start – extra way of life

During the period of Ramadan, millions of Muslims fast for a month every year. It is one of the most important festivals of the Islamic calendar.

Ramadan is a time for introspection and fasting and takes place every year. According to Islam, Ramadan celebrates the first time when the Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad.

Ramadan shall start on the evening of April 23, 2020 and end on May 23- it is a month-long festival. The date for Ramadan changes yearly because the Islamic calendar is based on the moon cycle. Only after the moon has been seen shall the holy month begin.

The Association of Islamic Charitable Projects says that crescent of Ramadan should be observed post the sunset of the 29th day of Sha’ban (the month preceding Ramadan). In case the moon is not sighted, Ramadan shall start 30 days after Sha’ban.

The word Ramadan is derived from the Arabic root ramida or ar-ramad, which means ‘scorching heat.’ Ramadan takes place for 720 hours, which is four weeks and two days. During the period of Ramadan, Muslims are supposed to fast between dawn and sunset.

It is compulsory for adult Muslims to fast, barring a few exceptions. Those who are seriously ill, travelling somewhere, very old, pregnant, have diabetes or menstruating do not need to take part in the fast.

‘Thawab’ is what the spiritual rewards of fasting are known as, and it is believed that these rewards multiply during the period of Ramadan. During this period, Muslims stay away from food and drink, smoking, sexual activities and any sinful behaviour.

They devote all this time in praying, which is known as salat, reciting verses from the Quran, performing charitable duties and striving for purity.

Once the call to Maghrib or evening prayer is heard, a small prayer is said by Muslims who break their fast with water and dates. Post this, they pray Maghrib salat and break their fast with a lavish feast, called Iftar and Fatoor.

When Ramadan starts, Muslims begin praying day and night and fast during the day. Special evening prayers called taraweeh are held during which portions from the Quran are recited.

During the end of Ramadan, intense prayers take place during the Laylatul Qadr or the Night of Power, which is believed to be the holiest night of the year. It generally falls on the 27th day of Ramadan and is a commemoration of the night when the Quran was first revealed to the Prophet Muhamad.

The end of Ramadan is marked by Eid-ul-Fitr. Shawwal is the starting of the next month, and translated it means, ‘festival of breaking of the fast.’ All over the world this event is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm where people buy new clothes and visit their friends and relatives. Food items such as biryani and kebabs are cooked and deserts like sevaiyan are cooked in milk, nuts and spices. Muslims adorn their houses with lights and decorate it to bid goodbye to the holy month of Ramadan.

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