holy month of Ramadan, or Ramzan as we call it in India, has now begun. During this month, Muslims fast from dawn-to-dusk, which is known as ‘Roza’. Roza is observed to attain purity and piousness in the month of Ramadan. It is believed that this is a way to get closer to Allah. Before the fast, Muslims consume Sehri, a meal which is eaten before the fast begins. The fast is then broken with Iftar, an evening meal consumed after the sunset.
Many of us know in general terms what the event entails - fasting and prayer are in there, of course, as are family gatherings.
But did you know that because the festival is associated with lunar cycles, it moves around 11 days or so every year?
For those who don't know Ramadan is a period of fasting observed by Muslim adults to celebrate the Muhammad receiving the Quran (also written Koran).
It can also vary from place to place around the world thanks to weather conditions and other influences on how the moon is seen.
It's an annual event that's meant to help focus Muslims on prayer, purification and charitable acts.
Here's all you need to know on the biggest event in the Muslim calendar.When does Ramadan 2018 start and end?
Ramadan began this year on the evening of Tuesday, May 15 and will end on the evening of Thursday, June 14.
It's dictated by the lunar cycle, particularly the crescent moon.
However, because the moon couldn't be seen in Saudi Arabia on May 15, the start was pushed back a day. The official start in 2018 then was May 16.
Ramadan ends with the holiday Eid al-Fitr, which is the start of the next lunar month.
The greeting is Ramadan Mubarak, meaning "have a blessed Ramadan".When does Ramadan 2018 end
The evening of Thursday, June 14 2018 marks the end of Ramadan.What are Ramadan greetings?
Ramadan Kareem,” translates into “Have a generous Ramadan”
“Ramadan Mubarak,” which translates into “Happy Ramadan"
On the last day of Ramadan, which is Eid-al-fitr, the greeting is “Eid Mubarak.”What is Ramadan about?
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.
It is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting (Sawm) to mark the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad according to their belief.
It’s an incredibly sacred time for Muslims who believe that during Ramadan that the Qu'ran - the holy book - was revealed to mankind through the Prophet Muhammad.
Observance of it is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam. It lasts 29-30 days based on the moon and changes each year because of this.The Quran (or Koran) says:
The month of Ramadan is that in which was revealed the Quran; a guidance for mankind, and clear proofs of the guidance, and the criterion (of right and wrong). And whosoever of you is present, let him fast the month, and whosoever of you is sick or on a journey, a number of other days. Allah desires for you ease; He desires not hardship for you; and that you should complete the period, and that you should magnify Allah for having guided you, and that perhaps you may be thankful.Ramadan Calendar
Beginning - Hilal, the crescent
Typically a day (or more) after the astronomical new moon.
Night of Power - Laylat al-Qadr
Also known as "the night of the decree". Seen as the holiest night of the year.
This is the night in which Muslims believe the first revelation of the Quran was sent down to Muhammad saying this night was "better than one thousand months [of proper worship]" (Chapter 97:3 of the Qu'ran).End - Eid al-Fitr
This marks the end of Ramadan and the beginning of the next Lunar month, Shawwal. This first day of Shawwal is called Eid al-Fitr. It may also be a reference to having endured a month of fasting successfully.
Prayer schedule for 27th day of Ramadan
Suhoor (early morning meal) ends 2.59am
Fajr (prayer) starts 2.59am
Fajr Jamat (prayer assembly) 3.30am
Dhuhr (prayer) starts 1.10pm
Dhuhr Jamat (prayer assembly) 1.45pm
Asr (prayer) start 5.34pm
Asr Jamat (prayer assembly) 6pm
Iftar (evening meal) and maghrib (prayer) 9.35pm
Isha (prayer) starts 10.52pm
Isha Jamat (prayer assembly) 11pmWhere does the word Ramadan come from?
It comes from the Arabic word ramiá¸a or ar-ramaá¸ which means scorching heat or dryness. It normally falls in a hot time of year.What do Muslims do during Ramadan?
During Ramadan , Muslims fast during the hours of daylight, meaning they are allowed no food or drink at all.
As well as fasting, they undertake extra prayers and worship, as a means to grow closer to Allah.
The month is intended to improve morality and character, so there are more regular mosque visits alongside a personal attempt to work on positive traits and thoughts.
According to the Qu'ran, the Prophet said: "Whoever does not give up false statements and evil deeds and speaking bad words to others, Allah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink [or fasting]" - meaning that you must work on your whole person.What is fasting?
Fasting is seen as a way to cleanse the soul and free it from harmful impurities. It also teaches self control.
It's obligatory during the period of Ramadan . It's know as fardh and for adult Muslims has to be observed.
It means abstaining from food, drink, smoking, sex, swearing, gossip and sinful acts.
There are some exceptions such as illness, travelling, are elderly, pregnant, breastfeeding, diabetics, or if you're on your period.
Some consider abstinence from sex as part of Ramadan as the idea is to cleanse the soul and free it from worldly activities.
Muslims can eat after sunset.
Fasting is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, the others are faith, prayer, charity and pilgrimage to Mecca.
In Ramadan it carries on from dawn to sunset. Meals are served after this time. The meal before dawn is called sufur and after sunset is iftar. Spiritual rewards are supposed to increase during Ramadan.Why do people fast?
The idea is it helps worshippers concentrate on devotion and worship, express gratitude and seek forgiveness.
What is iftaar?
Iftaar is when families and friends gather together at sundown to break their fast - iftaar literally translates as 'break fast'.
Many eat with family, but there are also occasionally mealtimes at mosques, charity iftaars and rushes on halal restaurants.What do people eat for iftar?
The iftar meal consists of water, juices, dates, salads and appetizers, one or more main dishes, and various kinds of desserts. Usually the dessert is key.
Typical main dishes are lamb stewed with wheat berries, lamb kebabs with grilled vegetables, or roast chicken served with chickpea-studded rice pilaf.
Dessert can be baklava, kunafeh or luqaimat and ends the meal.What happens if people don't fast?
In some countries it is a crime to fail to fast. Being seen in pubic breaking it is seen as a minor offence with a community service penalty.
In other areas people have been flogged, fined or sent to jail. Egypt bans alcohol sales. Other countries have laws that amend work schedules during Ramadan .Who is exempt from fasting?
The elderly, pregnant women and diabetes sufferers are exempt from fasting in Ramadan .
Children are also not expected to fast, although they do occasionally join parents on 'half-fasts'.
Elite athletes are sometimes also given a pass, such as Muslim players at the World Cup last year. but it is a personal choice.Nightly prayers
Tarawih refers to prays performed at night in Ramadan . They are not compulsory, though many pray them. Muslims are also encouraged to read the entire Quran.What happens at the end of Ramadan?
At the end of Ramadan , Muslims will celebrate with Eid al-Fitr - one of the two major holidays of Islam.
Muslims will gather together at the mosque for a prayer, before spending the day with family or friends and wishing one another 'Eid Mubarak', or 'Blessed Eid'.
Meanwhile take a quick look at some of the best apps to use during this period which will be your guide during this holy month: 1. Ramadan Timetable
'Ramadan Timetable' is a highly-rated Android app; which has been released by Andiko. It provides features such as “When is Ramadan,” which tells us the starting date of Ramadan for every year up to Ramadan 2020, along with a map of Mecca’s position, prayer times, call-to-prayer audio, text of Ramadan prayers and 25 duas from the Holy Quran. It can even redirect you to the ‘Sky and Telescope Moon’s Phase’ site to calculate the moon’s phase.2. Muslim Pro - Ramadan 2018
This is a fairly basic app which is hassle free. It offers different features which include a ‘Qibla’ compass, holiday and prayer calendars and the full Quran too. The Arabic scripts can be translated in 15 different languages and the maps indicate the locations of the Mosque and halal restaurants in your area which make it very beneficial for global travelers.3. Ramadan 2018
‘Ramadan 2013' by Hakim Boukhatem is available for both iOS and Android platforms. It is a Ramadan calendar that displays ‘Imsak’ and ‘Iftar’ timings and is known for being a reliable and accurate source of information. Seamlessly functional, it displays the current date’s five prayer times for more than 251 countries.4. Islam 101
This app covers the fundamental principles and beliefs of Islam. This provides a bountiful of information to both young Muslims and non-Muslims who are interested in learning about the Islamic way of life that compasses every aspect of a Muslim’s life — personal, social, economic, political, legal and religious etc.5, Muslim Dua Now
This app will offer access to various traditional Islamic duas which are divided into 18 major Dua and Azkar categories. It serves as a purpose of letting the Muslim community all over the world know about highly useful supplications which one can benefit from in various daily life instances.