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Significance of Ramadan for Muslims



I would like to inform readers of the significance of Ramadan for Muslims as we fast from dawn to dusk during this month.

Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic (lunar) calendar. It was during this month that the Quran - the holy book of Islam - was first revealed to the prophet Muhammad by Allah (God). Ramadan is the"month of blessing" marked by prayer, fasting, and charity. For nearly two billion Muslims around the world, including some 8 million in North America, Ramadan focuses on self-sacrifice and devotion to Allah (God). This is a month of fasting during the daylight hours from dawn to sunset. Fasting is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, the mandatory acts that form the foundation of Muslim life. The other pillars are faith, prayer, charity and the pilgrimage to Mecca.

For Muslims, Ramadan is a holy month dedicated to prayer, reading the Quran, and introspection. Fasting means abstaining from food, drink, smoking, bodily desires, swearing, gossip or other sinful acts, during daylight hours. Meals are served before dawn and after sunset. This means that they may not eat or drink anything, including water, until sunset. Families get up early for Suhoor, a meal eaten before the sun rises. After the sun sets, the fast is broken with a meal known as Iftar which usually begins with dates and sweet drinks. While we experience hunger and thirst, Muslims are reminded of the suffering of the poor. Fasting is also an opportunity to practice self-control and to cleanse the body and mind. Fasting helps Muslims feel the peace that comes from spiritual devotion as well as kinship with fellow believers and concentrate on devotion and worship, express gratitude and seek forgiveness and help the needy and to make us better versions of ourselves. Although charity and good deeds are always important in Islam, they have special significance during Ramadan. People raise money and donate supplies to help others in need. Muslims also attend late night prayers called Taraweeh.

Everyone who has gone through puberty is expected to take part in fasting. There are exceptions such as the elderly, women who are breastfeeding and those with medical conditions.

Ramadan ends with the festival of Eid al-Fitr when the new moon is sighted. Literally the "Festival of Breaking the Fast," Eid al-Fitr is one of the two most important Islamic celebrations (the other occurs after the Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca). At Eid al-Fitr people dress in their finest clothes, adorn their homes with lights and decorations, give treats to children, and enjoy visits with friends and family. Muslims will gather together at the mosque for a prayer, before spending the day with family or friends and wishing one another 'Eid Mubarak', or 'Blessed Eid'.

How can non-Muslims be considerate of their Muslims friends and colleagues during Ramadan? If you know someone who is fasting, just be considerate and don’t hesitate to ask questions as Muslims will happily explain why they are fasting. It can be very beneficial to Muslim employees if their employers provide flexible scheduling during Ramadan, if possible. Working an entire day without eating or drinking can be difficult, and nighttime prayer and charity events mean workers’ schedules are jam-packed.

For employees with a typical 9-to-5 schedule, this could look like allowing workers to create a custom schedule where they work from home or come into work after Suhoor (the meal consumed in the early morning before fasting begins) and leave the office earlier than usual. Employers can also consider letting those who celebrate, work through their lunch break and go home early.

Employers can also consider providing flexibility to employees who don’t work a typical 9-to-5 workday. Employers should allow their Muslim workers to schedule their shifts around these important mealtimes if possible. Not only does this show respect for the employee’s religion, but workers may be more productive after eating a meal and prefer to work in the morning after Suhoor or at night after Iftar.

May Allah bless all of us to have a fruitful Ramadan. Ramadan Mubarak to all Muslims and fellow Canadians.


Article Source: ALAMEENPOST