Ramadan: what is it and why do Muslims fast during this holy month?

Published by Rizhlaine de Sortiraparis · Photos by My de Sortiraparis · Published on March 10th, 2024 at 06:47 p.m.
Every year, Ramadan is observed by many Muslims around the world. But what exactly is Ramadan, and why do we fast during this holy month? We explain this pillar of Islam.

Every year, many Muslims around the world celebrate Ramadan. What does it mean? Ramadan is one of the months that make up the Hegirian (or Muslim) calendar, based on the lunar cycle, which explains why it is shifted every year according to the Gregorian calendar. InIslam, the month of Ramadan is a holy month, commemorating the revelation of the Koran and in particular the Night of Destiny(Laylat Al Qadar) , when the holy book was transmitted to the prophet Mohammed by the archangel Gabriel.

During the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast. This is one of the five pillars of Islam. From dawn to dusk, depending on prayer times, observers abstain from eating, drinking and sexual relations. The time at which the fast is broken is called the ftour (or Iftar) and changes with the day, since it is dictated by the setting of the sun. Fasting is compulsory except for the elderly, pregnant women, people who are ill, travellers or during menstruation.

In addition to deprivation, Ramadan is a month that calls for appeasement, and those who follow it also refrain from slandering, lying or using violence. While almsgiving (Az-Zakat) is also one of the pillars of Islam, and is practiced throughout the year, donations(sadaqa) are all the more numerous during Ramadan, as good deeds are multiplied throughout this holy month. However, these actions must be carried out unselfishly.

This month of fasting has many meanings for Muslims. On a spiritual level, it allows them to become more aware of themselves through deprivation. On a communal level, it's a time for coming together, both during prayers and at the breaking of the fast. Ramadan fasting is also said to have positive effects on health, both physical and mental. Finally, the end of Ramadan is marked by a festival, AïdEl Fitr.

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