Ramadan is the most sacred time of the year for Muslims. The Holy Qur’an was revealed, and the prophecy of Muhammad, peace be upon him, began during this time. Muslims spend Ramadan, which lasts about one month, reading the Qur’an, drawing near to Allah (God), and spreading peace between each other. During the entire month of Ramadan, Muslims fast every day from dawn to sunset. That means it is a time of spiritual discipline and deep contemplation of one’s relationship with Allah, a time of increased charity and generosity, and a time of intense study of the Qur’an. Muslims avoid eating and drinking until sunset, when they break the fast with a meal called Iftar. Ramadan is a month for forgiveness and mercy. Not all Muslims fast during Ramadan because Allah allows exemptions for people experiencing illness and travelers, for whom it is hard to fast.
Before Ramadan comes, Muslims prepare to welcome the month by buying foods and decorating homes with the crescent symbol. Also, they contact their friends and relatives to bless them for the month. Muslims spend Ramadan with their family, which means they sit at one table and break the fast together. Most families usually start with a small meal, go to prayer, and then have a big meal. After Iftar, some Muslims enjoy watching famous Ramadan TV shows with their family. Then they drink coffee with Ramadan sweets, such as qatayef, luqamat, and konafa. Each family has their own recipes with different components for homemade food. The most famous dishes for Ramadan are sambosah, soup, fatayer (similar to a meat pie), and khaliat nahal.
Ramadan is not only a month to eat delicious dishes; it is also a month to purify the soul. Ramadan has many lessons, such as feeding poor people, because they do not have enough food and may go longer with empty stomachs. This means that Ramadan is not only for worship; it is also for self-monitoring and being forgiving with others. It is a chance to do something good in life and do good deeds for others. Muslims avoid holding weddings or other private celebrations during Ramadan, because Ramadan is for being alone with their families and themselves. This is also a good opportunity to improve oneself and draw near to Allah. Muslims called Ramadan “kareem,” which means “generous,” because no one can be hungry or thirsty during Ramadan. They like to bring Ramadan dishes to their neighbors too.
At the end of Ramadan, Muslims feel sad because this spiritual month is over, and it will not come again until next year. After this month, there is Muslims’ biggest holiday called Eid al-Fitr. In preparation for Eid al-Fitr, which lasts only one day, Muslims go shopping, buy new outfits, and clean their homes ahead of welcoming guests. It is the time to celebrate with relatives and friends. Eid al-Fitr starts in the morning, right after Eid prayer. Muslims say hello to everyone with big smiles and joy. Each family has different celebratory traditions, such as dancing or fireworks.
This post was written by Ghadah, one of the Global Ambassadors at DU. You can chat with one of our Global Ambassadors to learn more about life at DU through Unibuddy.