Ramadan or Ramzan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is considered to the holiest month of the calendar. Ramadan 2019 begins on Sunday, May 5 after sundown and will last for 30 days until Tuesday, June 4. Muslims follow the lunar calendar, which means Ramadan arrives several days earlier each year.
This annual observance is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam.
Ramadan is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting (sawm) to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to prophet Muhammad according to Islamic belief. Between sunrise and sunset every day, Muslims must abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and sexual activity.
The fourth pillar of Islam is known as Sawm, which requires all Muslims to fast as a requirement during Ramadan. The only exceptions made are for pregnant and breastfeeding women, the elderly and sick.
The pre-dawn meal is called Suhoor while the post-sunset meal is known as Iftar. The fast will end at sunset when the Maghreb prayers begin, followed by an evening meal traditionally eaten with friends and family.
What does Ramadan Mubarak mean?
Most Muslims will greet one another during Ramadan by saying “Ramadan Mubarak”, which means “Happy Ramadan” or “blessed Ramadan”. Another saying is “Ramadan Kareem” meaning “Have a generous Ramadan”, although this is not as common as “Ramadan Mubarak”.
During the month of Ramadan, in addition to fasting, Muslims will use the time to abstain from as many vices as possible such as lying and insulting others. Charitable giving is usually an important part of Islamic belief and many Muslims will give more generously than normally during Ramadan.
The celebration of Eid al-Fitr officially marks the end of fasting and the period. This year, Eid falls on June 4 and is likely to be marked by joyous and colourful get-togethers by Muslims around the world. Celebrations usually start with a visit to the mosque followed by social gatherings and feasting.