Ramadan The mUslim HOly MoNth

The basics: Millions of Muslims around the world gather to mark the start of Ramadan. Ramadan is a month of intense prayer, fasting form dawn-to-dusk and nightly feasts. Some begin fasting a day late, due to a moon-sighting methodology that can lead to different countries declaring the start of Ramadan a day or two apart.

History: It was established as a Holy Month for Muslims after the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad in 610 CE on the occasion known as Laylat al-Qadr, or as frequently translated, “the Night of Power.

How: For one, Muslims fast between dawn and sunset, restricting themselves from drinking and eating. After the sun has set, families gather together for Iftar where they break their fast. The traditional starting of the meal is eating a date to break the fast. This is followed by the fourth of the five daily prayers. After the fourth prayer the main meal is served. Lastly, Charity during Ramadan is very important to the Muslims. Traditionally, Ramadan is a blessed time to give to charity. So it's not uncommon to see families and individuals donate clothes, food and monies towards charities and those that are less fortunate during the Holy Month.

The start date of Ramadan changes each year but it always is on the start of the 9th month in the Islamic calendar and varies from country to country. Ramadan 2017 in United States of America will begin in the evening of Friday, May 26nd ends the evening of Sunday, June 25.

Ramadan lasts 29 to 39 days. The holy month starts and ends with a new moon.

During Ramadan, Muslim-majority countries often shorten work days to allow for additional prayer time each day.

"Preparing for Ramadan. But for many of us the Qur'an has gathered a lot of dust since the last time we picked it up. As Ramadan is fast aproching we must blow off the dust and start to build a close realatioship with the Qur'an."

Children are not forced to fast during Ramadan, not until they have reached puberty, but some practice in order to prepare for adult participation.

Fasting can last longer each day for Muslims in in polar regions where daylight can last for up to 22 hours.

At the end of Ramadan there is a large festival called Eid ul Fitr to celebrate the end of the fast. Eid ul Fitr is celebrated by wearing one's best clothes, giving gifts, having a large meal, and spending time with one's family. Muslims also use this time to ask for forgiveness for sins and to praise thier god, Allah.

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