WHAT IS RAMADAN?
Ramadan is considered one of the holiest months of the year for Muslims. In Ramadan, Muslims commemorate the revelation of the Qur’an, and fast from food and drink during the sunlit hours as a means of learning self-control, gratitude, and compassion for those less fortunate. This is a time to detach from worldly pleasures and focus on one's prayers. Many Muslims dress more conservatively during Ramadan and spend more time at the mosque than at any other time of the year. However, this year, people are having to mark the holy month at home instead due to lockdowns. Giving "Zakat" (donations, charities) and feeding the hungry is another common practice during Ramadan.
HOW DO MUSLIMS FAST?
Fasting is an exercise of self-restraint. It's a way to physically and spiritually detoxify by resisting desires like morning coffee, smoking, eating, etc. Muslims abstain from eating and drinking from predawn to dusk for the entire month of Ramadan. A single sip of water, chewing gum or smoking a cigarette is enough to break the fast.
In addition to the absence of food and drinks during the day, spouses must abstain from sexual intercourse during the day, and avoid engaging in road rage, cursing, fighting or gossiping.
Muslims are also encouraged to observe the five daily prayers on time and to use their downtime just before breaking their fast at sunset to recite Quran and intensify remembrance of God.
HOW DO MUSLIMS BREAK THEIR FAST?
Muslims traditionally break their fast like the Prophet Mohammed did, with a sip of water and some dates at sunset. That first sip of water is by far the most anticipated moment of the day.
After a sunset prayer, a feast known as "iftar" is shared with family and friends.
To prepare for the fast, Muslims eat what is commonly called "suhoor," a pre-dawn meal of power foods to get them through the day.
CAN MUSLIMS BE EXEMPTED FROM FASTING?
Yes. There are exceptions for children, the elderly, the sick, women who are pregnant or menstruating and people traveling.
HOW DO MUSLIMS MARK THE END OF RAMADAN?
The end of Ramadan is marked by intense worship as Muslims seek to have their prayers answered during "Laylat al-Qadr" or "the Night of Destiny." It is on this night, which falls during the last 10 nights of Ramadan, that Muslims spend all of their time in the mosque.
The end of Ramadan is celebrated by a three-day holiday called Eid al-Fitr. Children often receive new clothes, gifts and cash.
Muslims attend early morning Eid prayers the day after Ramadan and then go on with their celebrations, which of course include, tons of food and family time.
For More About Ramadan & Sustaining Fitness/Health, click here.