All over the world, Muslim faithfuls are observing a period of great abstinence and holiness. It is a period when most faithfuls observe a high level of piety and holiness. A friend once told me that within these periods, they won’t allow themselves to be soiled by worldly profligacies. One would be tempted to ask ‘’what happens when the period is over’’ but that sure would be an answer for the ‘’gods’’ .
WHAT IS RAMADAN
The name ‘’Ramadan’’ is an Arabic name derived from the word ‘’ramad’’ meaning parchedness or scorchedness. It refers to the ninth month of the Arabic calendar. The season of Ramadan is that season when muslim faithful observe their fasting.
Fasting is (obligatory) for adult Muslims, except those who are suffering from an illness, travelling, are elderly, pregnant, breastfeeding, diabetic, chronically ill or menstruating. Fasting the month of Ramadan was made obligatory during the month of Sha’ban, in the second year after the Muslims migrated from Mecca to Medina. Fatwas have been issued declaring that Muslims who live in regions with a natural phenomenon such as the midnight sun or polar night should follow the timetable of Mecca, but the more commonly accepted opinion is that Muslims in those areas should follow the timetable of the closest country to them in which night can be distinguished from day.
When fasting, Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, smoking, sexual relations etc. They keep away from all sinful behaviour that would reduce the effects of the fasting. They instead focus on activities that would improve their spirituality.
However, there are some few and literally unknown facts about the Ramadan that people really do not have any idea of: They include:
- FASTING IS COMPULSORY WHEN YOU ATTAIN PUBERTY
In clear terms this simply means for any adult, as soon as the age of puberty is attained, fasting becomes obligatory but children can only fast if they wish . There are exemptions though and these include; the elderly, the sick, the pregnant, women with menstrual flow, breastfeeding mothers etc
- TIMES FOR FASTING VARY ALL AROUND THE WORLD
Due to the differences in time zone, the various times for fasting vary greatly. This is because fasting is mostly done during the day time and In the daytime. For example in Iceland , there are 21 hours of daylight while in Austria there are just 16.
- DURING THE RAMADAN SEASON MUSLIMS GIVE MORE
Do you want to get quite enough from that muslim friend of yours? All you have to do is wait for the Ramadan season. Muslims give more during the Ramadan season for this is one of the five pillars of Islam. Faithfuls give a lot more to charity during their period of fasting.
- THERE ARE PENALTIES FOR BREAKING THE FAST IN SOME COUNTRIES
In some Muslim countries, breaking the fast in public is considered to be a crime which has a jail term attached as its penalty while in others; it is punishable with fines and community service.
- DURING FASTING , MUSLIMS TRY TO REFRAIN FROM BAD BEHAVIOUR
Muslim faithful try as much as possible to refrain from bad behaviour during this season. They are also asked not to use swear words or derogatory words , all of these are done to ensure that they remain holy throughout this period.
- THE ACT OF FASTING DURING RAMADAN IS KNOWN AS SAWM
Being one of the pillars of Islam, fasting is also known as ‘’SAWM’’ , other pillars of islam include faith, prayer, charity and at least one pilgrimage to Mecca in a lifetime.