Tinejdad, Morocco - Muslims around the world started the month of Ramadan in Morocco this weekend. The following are the five things every person should know about this holy month.
Tinejdad, Morocco – Muslims around the world started the month of Ramadan in Morocco this weekend. The following are the five things every person should know about this holy month.
1. What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. To celebrate this holy month, Muslims try their best to attain the highest degree of obedience and faith in Islam by abstaining from food, drink, and sexual relations during daylight hours.
Ramadan is more than just not eating and drinking during daylight, but also a welcome occasion to purify one’s soul and reflect upon one’s faith. It is a joyous and special time during which believers put their faith to the test, re-evaluate their lives in light of Islamic teachings, and think of people in need.
2. Why do Muslims fast during this month?
Fasting is the fourth Pillar of Islam, one of the five obligations that every person must fulfill in order to become a true Muslim.
In keeping with the teachings of Islam and responding to the call of God, Muslims all over the world abstain from eating, drinking, and having sexual intercourse from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan.
As prescribed in the second Surat Al-Baqarah, fasting is an opportunity for all believers to attain “taqwa” (piety).
“O you who believe, fasting has been prescribed for you as it has been prescribed to those before you in order that you may attain taqwa.”
3. Why does the month of Ramadan change every year and why do Muslim countries start the month of fasting on different days?
Because the Islamic months are organized according to the Islamic lunar calendar, determining when a month starts and when it ends is not as easy a task as it is in the Gregorian calendar. To know when an Islamic month starts, Muslims of the world resort to two major methods: either through astronomy or the direct observational method. The former depends on the timing of the waning moon, which is accurately calculated, while the latter determines the beginning of Islamic months from the moon-sighting on the night of the 29th of the preceding month. Both methods are acclaimed in the Islamic world, but the observational method is the oldest method and the most common.
Morocco always relies upon the observational method in line with the Hadith of the Prophet (peace be upon Him): “Fast when you see the crescent and break the fast when you see itif it is not apparent, then make the month of Sha’ban thirty days.”
4. Who is excused from fasting during Ramadan?
All sound and healthy men and women who have reached puberty are required to fast during Ramadan. Yet, Islam set a range of cases who are excused from fasting during the whole month or during certain days of it.
Those who are traveling and find it hard to keep fasting, pregnant, breast-feeding, or menstruating women, and sick people are permitted to eat and drink during daylight hours, with the intention to make it up when they are able. In general, everyone who is physically or mentally unwell is permitted not to fast.
It is worth mentioning that some Muslim scholars allow Muslim football players to not fast during a game, provided that they will make it up when Ramadan is over.
5. What are the times of eating in Ramadan?
Muslims do not fast the whole month non stop! They start fasting before sunrise and they break their fast at sunset. In Morocco, as in other Muslim countries, families prepare very special dishes, sweets, and delicious food specifically for this blessed month.
Basically, there are two main meals during Ramadan.
Iftar or Ftour (breakfast) is a rich meal which is served immediately after the Maghreb call for prayer which marks the break of the day’s fast. Delicious and varied food and drink are served at this meal time.
Suhur is another principal meal that is eaten about an hour before the day’s fast starts, or before the Sobh call for prayer.
Many light meals are also served at night in between the two main meals.
These are just some of the basic things one should know about this very special month for Muslims. For more detailed information, one may consult a specialized journal and publication on this blessed Month.
Edited by Elisabeth Myers