As we welcome Ramadan 2021, let’s learn more about Ramadan’s significance and beautiful traditions.
Ramadan is a period of devotion and worship for Muslims, irrespective of which part of the world they are in. The auspicious month of Ramadan is marked by day-long fasting throughout the month. During Ramadan, Muslims dedicate themselves to introspection, praying, charity, self-restraint and more. With honest intentions, good deeds, reciting of Quran, and regular praying, Muslims seek and receive countless blessings and rewards from the Almighty.
This blog tries to outline the history, traditions, and significance of Ramadan in Islamic culture.
Disclaimer: This purpose of this blog is to educate the readers about Ramadan, its importance and practices. It is based on the facts and information curated from multiple primary and secondary resources.
About Ramadan Traditions & Significance
Ramadan is the time when Muslims observe month-long fasting, and go without food and water during the day, that is from sunrise to sunset. However, Ramadan is much more than just fasting–it is a time to be with family, look inwards, and connect with Allah; it is about reciting the Holy Quran, offering prayers, engaging in charity, participating in community feasts, and more.
The month of Ramadan holds a lot of significance for the Muslim community. It is a remembrance of the time when the teachings of the Holy Quran were first revealed to Prophet Muhammed. Ramadan ends with Eid-ul-Fitr – a festival of breaking the fast. On this day, Muslims have to perform a special prayer, essentially in congregation, in an open field or the prayer hall of a mosque.
The prayer is followed by dressing up in new clothes, visiting loved ones, exchange of gifts, and partaking in festive feasts.
When Does Ramadan Start in 2021?
Ramadan 2021 begins on 13th April. The month-long fasting will end with Eid al-Fitr celebrations on 13th May 2021.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Hijri calendar, which is a lunar calendar. It is sometimes also referred to as the Islamic or the Muslim calendar. The exact beginning and end of Ramadan varies as it depends on the first observance of the new moon over Makkah in Saudi Arabia.
Ramadan 2021 Guidelines – Dos & Don’ts
The intention behind Ramadan fasting is to seek rewards from Allah. For this Muslims are advised to:
1. Fast from Sunrise to Sunset
“Oh you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may learn piety and righteousness.”
(Surah Al-Baqarah: 2:183)
Fasting is an important part of Ramadan. All adult Muslims must fast from sunrise to sunset and follow specified rituals and guidelines as well. However, in Surah Al-Baqarah (2:185), Allah has exempted sick people and travelers from fasting during Ramadan. In the opinion of many scholars, elderly, children, pregnant, breastfeeding, and menstruating women are also exempted.
What not to do during Ramadan fasting?
A few actions that lead to invalidation of the fast are:
- Taking medication through nose or ears
- Vomiting intentionally
- Eating after Suhoor – the morning meal before dawn
- Eating after Iftar – the evening meal eaten after the sunset
2. Offer Prayers to the Almighty Allah
During Ramadan, Muslims pray 5 times a day on specified time, ideally in congregation. The prayers should be performed in an open area or a prayer hall of a mosque with the intention of seeking Allah’s blessings. There are specific prayers for different seekings and rewards, such as for forgiveness, for breaking of fast, and prayers recited in the remembrance of God.
3. Perform Night Prayers, or Tarawih
Some Muslims also perform extra prayers at night during Ramadan. During Tarawih, a Hafiz: one who has memorized Holy Quran recites parts of the Quran every night, while attendees listen to the recitation. The recitation of the Quran is completed before the last day of Ramadan.
4. Recite the Holy Quran
Muslims must recite the Holy Quran during the entire month of Ramadan. However, there is no obligation to complete reciting the whole Quran. One might just recite at least one Juz: one of 30 parts into which the Quran is divided each day.
5. Observe Itikaf
Worship or ibadat is an important part of Ramadan rituals. Itikaf is the practice of staying in the mosque for a specific period and devoting time to worship. It involves not indulging in any worldly matters and focussing on religious rituals. Usually, Itikaf starts after the dawn of the 20th day of Ramadan and ends with the sighting of the Eid moon.
6. Pay Zakat
Zakat is a religious obligation and an important pillar of Islam. All Muslims are obligated to donate a portion of their earning/wealth for charity. It is believed that paying Zakat purifies the earnings made beyond providing for the essential. During Ramadan, Muslims do charity in various forms – monetary donations, helping the needy, feeding the hungry and so on.
7. Perform Umrah during Ramadan
Umrah – the minor pilgrimage carries immense religious value and holds a special significance during the sacred month of Ramadan. In fact, according to Tirmidhi: 939, performing Umrah in Ramadan is considered equivalent to Hajj in reward (not in duty; Hajj is still compulsory).
Make Ramadan 2021 all the more special by observing it with your loved ones. Follow the rules and guidelines to gain not just rewards and blessing, but also purify your mind, heart and soul.