Ramadan is a significant month for Muslims as it is the month that Allah revealed the Quran to the last prophet, Muhammad. Fasting in Ramadan is the 4th pillar of Islam. It falls in the 9th month of the Muslim lunar year which moves 11 days earlier each solar year. During a Muslim’s life, Ramadan will fall both during winter months, when the days are short, and summer months, when the days are long and the fast is more difficult.
Muslims who are physically able are required to abstain from food, drink and other physical needs each day of the entire month, from sunrise to sunset. The evenings are spent enjoying family and community meals, engaging in prayer and spiritual reflection, and reading from the Quran.
The Arabic word for “fasting” (sawm) literally means “to refrain” – and it means not only refraining from food and drink, but from evil actions, thoughts, and words. Muslims are called upon to use this month to re-evaluate their lives in light of Islamic guidance. Ramadan is the time to purify the soul, refocus attention on God, and practice self-discipline.
The festival of Eid ul-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan. On the day of Eid, the Muslim community begin the day with morning prayers at the mosque followed by feasting and celebration among family and friends. Some Muslim families will celebrate Eid by wearing new clothes, giving each other gifts and decorating their homes.
A typical day for a Muslim in Ramadan begins with having a meal before sunrise known as ‘suhoor’. This year, the suhoor meal will be eaten before 2:30am. The suhoor meal is followed by the morning prayer, called Fajr. The fast is broken at sunset with a meal known as ‘iftar’. This year, iftar will be after 9pm. Iftar is followed by the prayer called Magrib. A special night prayer called Taraweeh takes place around one hour after the iftar meal. It is common practice for the Muslim community to come together in the mosque to break their fast and offer the Taraweeh prayers in congregation.
Prayers times at the Muslim Cultural Centre Wollaton: