Six things to know about the sacred month of Ramadan

The most important month for Muslims is due to start this Saturday, and it'll last for about 30 days.

Photo by: TRT World
Photo by: TRT World

Muslims observing Ramadan in Scandinavia, Greenland and northern Asia will be fasting the longest hours approximately 19-21 hours.

1. Ramadan falls on the ninth month of the Islamic calendar

The Islamic calendar is based on the lunar calendar, rather than the Gregorian calendar. The lunar calendar has 12 months. Ramadan is considered the most sacred month of the year. 

Ramadan is often highlighted by a festive atmosphere across Muslim communities.

2. As the Islamic calendar is determined by the moon, around every decade the month moves from the summer to winter

Fort the past few years, Ramadan has been observed during summer. As such, the hours of fasting are longer than usual, particularly in the northern hemisphere.

Large prayer congregations are often observed at mosques during Ramadan.

3. Ramadan is a period of fasting for Muslims around the world

Fasting begins from sunrise and ends at sunset. However, fasting is not expected to be practised by menstruating or pregnant women, children, the sick and the elderly.  

In some Muslim communities someone is tasked with waking people up to eat before sunrise.

Fasting is considered one of the five pillars of Islam. The other four include the testimony of faith, prayer, giving charity to the needy and the pilgrimage to Makkah.

4. The first verses of the Holy Quran were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad during the last ten days of Ramadan

Laylat al Qadr is the name given to the  night in which the Quran was revealed.

Muslims are encouraged by their faith to read the entire Quran during Ramadan.

Many Muslims recite the entire Quran by the end of Ramadan by attending special night prayers known as Tarawih. These are held every night of the month in mosques.

5Apart from fasting, Ramadan is meant to be emphasized by prayers, charity and self accountability

Every Muslim will hold a different value or emphasis on what Ramadan means to them ranging from strengthening their health, character, faith and compassion.

Large public offerings of food are organised every night in most Muslim communities.

Many Muslim charities, organisations and individuals organise charitable events or large offerings of food and clothing around the world.

6. There is a great deal of cultural diversity in the way Muslims observe Ramadan

Differences can be observed in cuisine, festivities, daily work hours and mundane activities.

TRTWorld and agencies