Today, April 12, 2021, is Ramadan, where Muslim global youth advocates worldwide celebrate, especially in light of the pandemic. The ASEAN Youth Advocates Network, the Official Southeast Asian Chapter of the Global Youth Advocates Network, celebrates this every day by educating you, global youth advocates worldwide. As this is the holiest month for all Muslims, let us pay our respect to this special occasion.
What is Ramadan?
- Ramadan is the holiest month for all Muslims. This Islamic celebration is a month filled with fasting, prayers, and other sacred festivities.
- The ninth month’s start in the Islamic calendar changes per year because of the varying moon phases, in which the Islamic lunar calendar follows. Muslims all over the globe anticipate the rise of the new crescent moon. This officially signifies the first day of Ramadan or the start of the ninth month in the Islamic calendar.
- A moon-sighting committee in Saudi Arabia predicts the start and end of each Ramadan. This year, the occurrence is said to fall on April 12 and ending in May on the same day.
- Whether it be a unique dish required to be prepared or observing a dining table filled with the extended family, Ramadan’s traditions vary depending on each one’s cultural practice.
What is Ramadan’s History?
- This holy celebration is part of ancient Arabs’ calendars. The Arabic word “ar-ramad” is the root of Ramadan’s name, meaning “scorching heat.”
- In Islam, it is believed that the angel Gabriel appeared to Prophet Muhammad, revealing the Islamic holy book or “Quran.” This event is supposed to be called Laylat Al-Qadar or “the night of power.”
- Spiritual growth through a better relationship with Allah is the goal for this occasion. Intentional praying and recitation of the Quran are ways to achieve Ramadan’s purpose.
- To commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad, Muslims also perform a month of fasting from dawn until sundown. Consuming food, drinking liquids, smoking, engaging in sexual relations, and other ‘sinful’ behavior, such as lying, gossiping, and fighting, are avoided. This practice has the purpose of developing proper self-control and individual improvement. In countries like Malaysia and Brunei, fasting during Ramadan is first taught to children as young as 12 years old.
- Meals in Ramadan mean opportunities for Muslims to gather and break their fast together. Muslims wake up early to eat a pre-dawn meal called “Suhoor” before praying “Fajr,” the first prayer of the day.
- At sundown, the Sunset prayer “Maghreb” is done before the evening meal “Iftar.”
- Suhoor and Iftar meals always have dates, a staple food. This is because the Prophet Muhammad consumed dates and a glass of water for breaking his fast.
- “Eid al-Fitr” or “the festival of breaking the fast” marks the end of Ramadan. It begins with the first appearance of the new moon in the night sky. The following day, special worship is done through Eid prayers. Once prayers are done, Muslims visit their brothers and sisters to apologize for the wrongdoings they have done to each other in the past.
Aljazeera. (2020, April 20). Ramadan 2020: Why is it so important for Muslims? https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2020/4/20/ramadan-2020-why-is-it-so-important-for-muslims.
Eslah Attar. (2021, April 7). Why Ramadan is the most sacred month in Islamic culture. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/culture/holidays/reference/ramadan/.
Sarah Reid. (2018, May 18). What it’s like to travel in Malaysia during Ramadan. https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/travel-in-malaysia-during-ramadan/