Ramadan: the Yearly Fast Began


People in Mecca breaking their fast. Courtesy of www.india.com.

“Ramadan is important to me because you learn through the experience of not eating or drinking until sundown to empathy for others who can’t afford to eat or drink and work hard just for a little food,” explained Noor Deek, eighth grade student at BYMS, in an interview with the Matador Messenger.

The mark of fasting began for all 1.6 billion Muslims around the world on Saturday, May 27.  The fasting consists of fasting for 16 hours. Muslims eat before sunrise and break the fast at sundown. This process relies on a lunar calendar, so the last day of Ramadan will depend on when the full moon appears according to www.vox.com.

The dates for Ramadan always change year to year because the lunar calendar only consists of  354 days, 11 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar. Leading to each year of Ramadan to move backwards 11 days, explained time.com.

Fasting, being one of the five pillars of Islam-Muslims, are not allowed to drink anything, eat any food, or smoke cigarettes from dawn all the way to sunset. “Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars — or duties — of Islam, along with the testimony of faith, prayer, charitable giving, and making pilgrimage to Mecca,” stated www.vox.com.  

Ramadan is more than just the five pillars. According to Ozgur Koca, assistant professor of Islamic Studies at Claremont School of Theology, “ It’s a form of self-discipline … It paves the way for self-transformation, spiritual cleansing, a realization of higher ethical standard and kindness to others,” in an interview with www.latimes.com.

Ramadan is also the most sacred month of the year for Muslims, the Prophet Mohammed reportedly said, “When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of heaven are opened and the gates of hell are closed and the devils are chained,” sunnah.com.

“Muslims believe it was during this month that God revealed the first verses of the Quran, Islam’s sacred text, to Mohammed, on a night known as “The Night of Power” (or Laylat al-Qadr) in Arabic,” www.vox.com.