Ramadan is the most sacred month of the Islamic calendar, commemorating the appearance of the Archangel Jibril (Gabriel) to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and the revelation to the Prophet of the opening verses of the Quran.
Around the world, followers of Islam wait, in eager anticipation, for the onset of Ramadan when they will once again invest one month in fasting, penitence, introspection, charity and spiritual reflection.
Ramadan (also called Ramzan) is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. The fast, from sunrise to sunset, every day of the month, is to be observed by all Muslims who are sound in mind and body, and are past the age of puberty.
Faithful observance of the fast is one of the five pillars of belief in Islam, and the devout is called upon to scrupulously adhere to the tenets of the fast.
During the daylight hours, the faithful are enjoined to abstain absolutely, not only from all food and drink but also from succumbing to the temptation to fulfil any other physical needs such as smoking, sexual activity, etc.
The Ramadan month is about much more than mere deprivation of physical and psychological demands.
Reconnecting with God, practicing self-discipline, renouncing negative behaviour, alms giving and purification of the soul are an integral part of the observance of the month.
Morning to Evening
The fast begins every morning, with Al Fajr (prayer of the morning), and ends every day at dusk, with Al Maghrib (prayer at sunset).
During the month, this is a daily routine for devout Muslims. Specific categories are exempt from observing the fast – children who have not attained puberty, those who are aged, pregnant women, nursing mothers, menstruating women, those who are not of sound mind, the sick, and travellers.
But, those who are exempt from observing the fast must feed at least one needy person every day or contribute alms equivalent to the cost of a meal for one person for every day the fast is not observed.
Fasting acts as a reminder of the deprivation experienced by millions of fellow human beings who are not sure of having even one square meal a day. The faithful give praise and thanks to God for his generosity and gladly share their God-given prosperity with the poor, the deprived and the less privileged.
The word ‘iftar’ literally means ‘break the fast’ and is supremely appropriate to describe the breaking of the fast that has been observed during daylight hours.
Traditionally, the fast is broken by eating dates and drinking a cup of yoghurt or water (but this could differ from one country to another). The tradition flows from the act of the Messenger of Allah who used to break his fast with dates, or if there were no dates, with water.
The breaking of the fast at sunset is at once a family event and a community event. While the family may break their fasts in the privacy of their home, iftar has significance as a community event also. A community of families meet together, transforming the meal into a social event; one to which the less fortunate members of the community are also made welcome.
The spiritual rewards for acts of charity during the holy month of Ramadan are especially abundant. Mosques also set up free tents, so that no faithful Muslim should be unable to break his day-end fast merely because of the penniless situation or other compelling circumstances.
Ramadan Night Market
Ramadan is not only about solemnity but also about celebrating the wonderful month.
visitors bargain hunters and aficionados – can choose from an array of eclectic products and services – fashion and fashion accessories, jewellery, automobiles, electronic appliances, souvenirs, handwriting analysis, etc, while their kids are mesmerized in the Kids’ Play Area with balloon twisting, wall climbing, sand art and such exotic and wholesome entertainment.
Needless to say, the massive food court with the choicest of mouth-watering worldwide cuisine and the Play & Win area makes the trip a complete family experience that will remain forever etched in your memory. With its bouquet of services like babysitting, taxi booking, a driver on demand, grocery shopping, one can delegate the errands to an able hand and enjoy the Ramadan market.
Make your Ramadan 2016 special by making God the centre of your life, enriching your family life, caring for fellow living beings on the planet and sharing gladly the gifts that God has bestowed upon you.