Every year, as the ninth month of the Hijri calendar approaches, Muslims look up to the sky… or rather to the new crescent moon. It is he who will officially launch one of the most important events of the year for Islamic culture: Ramadan.
A pillar of Islam
Originally, the word Ramadan means the ninth month of the Muslim calendar. It was during the month that the Koran was revealed to Muhammad, during the famous “Night of Destiny”. By extension, it now designates this month of fasting to which the faithful must comply.
Indeed, Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam with the profession of faith [“I certify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is his messenger”], prayer, almsgiving and pilgrimage to Mecca.
The goal of Ramadan is to purify the body and mind of the faithful and allow them to better understand the fate of the poorest. According to tradition, healthy people should fast. Exceptions therefore exist for children who have not reached puberty, pregnant women, the sick or the elderly. And in some cases, fasting can thus be postponed to a later period.
Donation to the needy
Starving his body also allows the faithful to realize that the most essential needs are spiritual. During Ramadan, the faithful are thus invited to (re) immerse themselves in the Koran and devote more time than usual to meditation and prayer. Thus, during the month of Ramadan, important moments in the history of Islam – such as the “Night of Destiny” are commemorated.
Moreover, beyond fasting and the spiritual aspect, the faithful must adopt an exemplary attitude by avoiding gossip, conflicts and above all, by applying alms. The month of Ramadan is therefore a period of intense generosity. Through fundraisers organized in mosques or through the direct help of relatives, giving to the needy is an obligation for those who do not have financial difficulties.
A moment of fellowship
Ramadan is not just about homework, however. It is also a moment of celebration and communion for those who respect it. When the fast is broken, we meet every evening with family and friends. And the end of the fast – Eid al-Fitr – is greatly celebrated.
The start and end date of Ramadan changes every year. The Muslim calendar was a lunar calendar, so it has ten days less. Result: the date of Ramadan is gradually shifting. For several years, it takes place during the summer period and practitioners sometimes have to face significant heat without a drop of water.