Last edited by HAQ on Sun Jul 31, 2011 4:15 pm; edited 1 time in total
- Post n°7
Ramadan (Arabic: رمضان Ramaḍān, Arabic pronunciation: [rɑmɑˈdˤɑːn]) (also Ramadhan, Ramadaan, Ramazan) is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which lasts 29 to 30 days. It is the Islamic month of fasting, in which participating Muslims refrain from eating and drinking during daylight hours and is intended to teach Muslims about patience, spirituality, humility and submissiveness to God. Muslims fast for the sake of God (Arabic: الله, trans: Allah) and to offer more prayer than usual. Compared to the solar calendar, the dates of Ramadan vary, moving backwards by about eleven days each year depending on the moon; thus, a person will have fasted every day of the calendar year in 34 years' time. Muslims believe Ramadan to be an auspicious month for the revelations of God to humankind, being the month in which the first verses of the Qur'an were revealed to the Islamic prophet, Muhammad (peace be upon him).
- Post n°8
Hilal(the crescent) is typically a day (or more) after the astronomical new moon. Since the new moon indicates the beginning of the new month, Muslims can usually safely estimate the beginning of Ramadan.
There are many disagreements each year however, on when Ramadan starts. This stems from the tradition to sight the moon with the naked eye and as such there are differences for countries on opposite sides of the globe. More recently however, some Muslims are leaning towards using astronomical calculations to avoid this confusion.
For the year of 1432 Hijri, the first day of Ramadan was determined to be August 1, 2011.
- Post n°9
Ramadan is a time of reflecting, believing and worshiping God. Muslims are expected to put more effort into following the teachings of Islam and to avoid obscene and irreligious sights and sounds. Sexual intercourse among spouse is allowed after one has ended the fast. During fasting intercourse is prohibited as well as eating and drinking, one is also encouraged to resist all temptations while you are fasting. Purity of both thoughts and actions is important. The act of fasting is said to redirect the heart away from worldly activities, its purpose being to cleanse the inner soul and free it from harm. It also teaches Muslims to practice self-discipline, self-control, sacrifice, and empathy for those who are less fortunate; thus encouraging actions of generosity and charity (Zakat).
It becomes compulsory for Muslims to start fasting when they reach puberty, so long as they are healthy, sane and have no disabilities or illnesses. The elderly, the chronically ill, and the mentally ill are exempt from fasting, although the first two groups must endeavor to feed the poor in place of their missed fasting. Also exempt are pregnant women if they believe it would be harmful to them or the unborn baby, women during the period of their menstruation, and women nursing their newborns. A difference of opinion exists among Islamic scholars as to whether this last group must make up the days they miss at a later date, or feed poor people as a recompense for days missed. While fasting is not considered compulsory in childhood, many children endeavour to complete as many fasts as possible as practice for later life. Lastly, those traveling (musaafir) are exempt, but must make up the days they miss. More specifically, Twelver Shī‘ah define those who travel more than 14 mi (23 km) in a day as exempt.
- Post n°10
The month of Ramadan is the one in which the Qur'an was sent down - right Guidance to mankind, and clear signs of Guidance and Distinction of truth from falsehood. Those among you who witness it, let him fast therein. Whoever is sick or on a journey, then a number of other days. God desires ease for you, and desires not hardship. Thus may you fulfil the number of days assigned, magnify God for having guided you, and perhaps you will be thankful.
Ayah 185, Sura 2 (Al-Baqara),
- Post n°12
Muslims all around the world will abstain from food and drink, through fasting, from dawn to sunset. At sunset, the family will gather the fast-breaking meal known as Iftar. The meal starts with the eating of a date — just as Prophet Muhammad used to do. Then it's time for the Maghrib prayer, which is the fourth of the five daily prayers, after which the main meal is served. 
Over time, Iftar has grown into banquet festivals. This is a time of fellowship with families, friends and surrounding communities, but may also occupy larger spaces at mosques or banquet halls, where a hundred or more may gather at a time.
Most markets close down during evening prayers and the Iftar meal, but then re-open and stay open for a good part of the night. Muslims can be seen shopping, eating, spending time with their friends and family during the evening hours. In many Muslim countries, this can last late into the evening, to early morning. However, if they try to attend to business as usual, it can become a time of personal trials, fasting without coffee or water.