What is Ramadan and its Benefits?
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim calendar. Muslims around the world observe fasting in this holy month. It begins and ends with the appearance of the crescent moon. Because the Muslim calendar year is shorter than the Gregorian calendar year, Ramadan starts 10 to 12 days earlier every year. This way, it falls in every season throughout a 33-year cycle.
What is the meaning of Ramadan?
This month is also considered a period of spiritual cleansing, as fasting helps you gain control of your actions. Since fasting is from dawn to sunset, the duration of fasting time differs from country to country and changes depending on the season and where a Muslim is located in the world. Near Polar Regions, fasting can be almost 22 hours in summer or just a few hours in winter. For Muslims, Ramadan is a time of introspection, communal prayer, and reading of the Qurʾān. Ramadan fasting involves stopping eating, drinking, and sexual desires from dawn to sunset. During Ramadan, Allah revealed to the Prophet Muhammad the Qurʾān, Islam’s holy book, “as a guide for the people.” And the “Night of Power” (Laylat al-Qadr)—was commemorated on one of the last 10 nights of Ramadan.
Daily Obligatory Practices of Ramadan
After the sunset prayer, Muslims gather to break their fast with a meal called ifṭār. Additional prayers are offered during this month at night called the tawarīḥ prayers, preferably performed in the congregation at the mosque. During these prayers, the entire Qurʾān may be recited for the month of Ramadan. Then a Muslim makes the intention of fasting and wakes up for a meal called the suḥoor.
Muslims are supposed to break their fast by drinking sips of water or by eating dates. In a hadith of Anas (RA) who said: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) used to break his fast with fresh dates before praying; if there were no (fresh dates) then with dry dates, and if there were no (dried dates) then he would take a few sips of water. (Narrated by Abu Dawood, no. 2356; al-Tirmidhi, 696; classed as Hasan in al-Irwa’, 4/45) Dates are also a great way of getting some much-needed fiber.
It is Sunnah to delay suhoor because of the report narrated by al-Bukhaari from Anas from Zayd ibn Thaabit (RA), who said: “We ate suhoor with the Messenger of Allah (PBUH), then he got up to pray.” I said: “How much time was there between adhan and suhoor?” He said: “The time it takes to recite fifty verses.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1921).
What is Lailatul Qadr, and How to find it in the last 10 Nights of Ramadan?
Laylatul Qadr, the Night of Decree or Night of Power, is one of the most sacred nights in the Islamic calendar. This is a night of great commemoration and devotion to Allah (SWT), and the rewards of praying this night are higher than that of 1,000 months. Nine days of prayer during The Night of Power (Lailatul Qadr) is filled with bountiful blessings. We, as Muslims, are supposed to make the best use of these nights and worship Allah.
Allah says in the Qur’an, “The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months” (Qur’an, 97:3). The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever prays on Laylatul Qadr out of faith and sincerity shall have all their past sins forgiven” (Hadith, Bukhari, and Muslim).
Narrated Abu Huraira (RA): The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Whoever fasted the month of Ramadan out of sincere Faith (i.e., belief) and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his past sins will be forgiven, and whoever stood for the prayers in the night of Qadr out of sincere Faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven .” Reference: Sahih al-Bukhari 2014
Narrated `Aisha (RA): Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Search for the Night of Qadr in the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan.” Reference : Sahih al-Bukhari 2017
What is Eid Ul- Fitr?
Eid-al-Fitr is the day after the completion of Ramadan. It’s a time to celebrate, with fellow Muslims gathering their friends and family to show gratitude toward God following the previous month of reflection. The holiday is a reminder to be grateful for whatever Allah has provided us with and share with those who may be less fortunate.
The importance and benefits of Ramadan and Fasting:
- During Ramadan, Allah revealed to the Prophet Muhammad the Qurʾān, Islam’s holy book, “as a guide for the people.” And the “Night of Power” (Laylat al-Qadr)—was commemorated on one of the last 10 nights of Ramadan.
- Indeed, we sent the Qur’an down during the Night of Decree. And what can make you know what the Night of Decree is? The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months. The angels and the Spirit descend therein by permission of their Lord for every matter. Peace is until the emergence of dawn. (Quran 97:1-5)
- Fasting makes Muslims realize that all sustenance comes directly from God. We must acknowledge its value and feel the need and dependence on that sustenance. It only happens when we physically feel and experience the pangs of hunger and thirst. Since a believer fasts for the sake of God, they acknowledge the sustenance, which may be taken for granted.
- This month is filled with bountiful blessings, and hence, Allah forgives the past sins of those who observe the holy month with fasting, prayer, and faithful intention.
- Fasting helps to attain Taqwa, which means to fear His disobedience and punishments
- Fasting can positively affect your mental well-being and spiritual focus, and most importantly, it boosts your immunity. A study carried out by scientists in the USA found that the mental focus achieved during Ramadan increases brain-derived neurotrophic factors, which causes the body to produce more brain cells, thus improving brain function.
- Ramadan is the perfect time as it encourages us to ditch our bad habits for good, and it’s also easier to quit habits when you’re surrounded by groups of people who care about you. The UK’s National Health Service recommends fasting as the ideal time to cut down on bad habits like smoking.
- Another fascinating benefit of fasting is that it keeps cholesterol levels in check. A team of cardiologists in the UAE found that people observing Ramadan enjoy a positive effect on their lipid profile, which means there is a reduction of cholesterol in the blood.
- As well as being great for spiritually cleansing yourself, Ramadan acts as a fantastic detox for your body. By not eating or drinking throughout the day, your body will be offered the rare chance to detoxify your digestive system throughout the month.
- Fasting does not help you cleanse spiritually but also detoxifies your body., The metabolism gets better.