The month of Ramadan, the ninth and one of the holiest months of the Muslim calendar, began this year on Oct. 25. The calendar, which is based on the sighting of the new crescent, causes Ramadan to fall at different times of the year on the Gregorian calendar.
During Ramadan, Muslims all across the world are required to fast from dawn to sunset. Ramadan is characterized by fasting, prayer and charity. It is a time for Muslims to concentrate on their spirituality and self-discipline. Ramadan offers an opportunity to purify your soul and teaches you to sympathize and help the less fortunate. It brings back a sense of humbleness that we seem to forget so often in our busy lives. It makes you think twice before you complain, insult, or act ungrateful. It makes you thankful. In Ramadan, an extra effort is put into always being honest, honorable, and forbearing.
Each morning during Ramadan, Muslim families have a breakfast before dawn called "Suhoor." The fast is then broken in the evening with a meal called "Iftar," at the time of sunset.
Islam calls for five daily prayers, and during the month of Ramadan, a special prayer is held every evening called Taraweeh. Going to the Mosque every night creates a sense of unity and peace in the community. The divine book, The Quran, was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) during the month on Ramadan. Muslims search for the night known as "Laylatul Qadr," the Night of Power, in the last 10 days. The Night of Power is valued more that any night, for it is worth a great amount of reward. During this month, Muslims try to read as much of the Quraan as possible, in an effort to finish it by the end of the month.
When the fasting has come to an end, and the new moon has been sighted, there is a three-day celebration called "Eid al Fitr," the Feast of the Fast Breaking. Eid al Fitr is celebrated around the world with different traditions and customs. The day starts off with a special prayer, and the rest is filled with visiting family and friends, and having an enjoyable time. After a month of fasting, special foods are prepared for Eid.
Ramadan has come and gone, but the lessons learned will last until next year. Ramadan serves as a reminder of the expectations that we are held to as Muslims and as members of the communit