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Ramadan, the Month of Devotion and Worship

Ramadan is a time of spiritual reflection and increased devotion and worship. Five prayers are observed every day from dawn to night. They are called: Fajr (dawn), Dhuhr (noon), Asr (afternoon), Maghrib (evening), and Isha (night). During the month of Ramadan, Muslims let go of the worldly pleasures and fast with their family and friends.

Story behind the festivity

During the month of Ramadan the Quran was first revealed to Muhammad which has been referred to as the "best of times". The first revelation was sent down on Laylat al-Qadr (The night of Power) which is one of the five odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan. According to hadith, all holy scriptures were sent down during Ramadan. It is further believed that the tablets of Ibrahim, the Torah, the Psalms, the Gospel and the Quran were sent down on 1st, 6th, 12th, 13th and 24th Ramadan, respectively.

God proclaimed to Muhammad that fasting for His sake was not a new innovation in monotheism, but rather an obligation practiced by those truly devoted to the oneness of God. According to the Quran, fasting was also obligatory for prior nations, and is a way to attain taqwa, fear of God. The pagans of Mecca also fasted, but only on tenth day of Muharram to expiate sins and avoid droughts.

The Beginning of Ramadan

 Ramadan beginning dates between Gregorian years 1938 and 2038. Hilāl (the crescent) is typically a day (or more) after the astronomical new moon. The beginning and end of Ramadan are determined by the lunar Islamic calendar. Hilāl (the crescent) is typically a day (or more) after the astronomical new moon. Since the new moon marks the beginning of the new month, Muslims can usually safely estimate the beginning of Ramadan. However, to many Muslims, this is not in accordance with authenticated Hadiths stating that visual confirmation per region is recommended. The consistent variations of a day have existed since the time of Muhammad.

Power

This is the night in which Muslims believe the first revelation of the Quran was sent down to Muhammad stating that this night was "better than one thousand months [of proper worship]", as stated in Chapter 97:3 of the Quran. The Arabic Laylat al-Qadr, translated to English is "the night of power" or "the night of decree", is considered the holiest night of the year. Also, generally, Laylat al-Qadr is believed to have occurred on an odd-numbered night during the last ten days of Ramadan, i.e., the night of the 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th or 29th. The Dawoodi Bohra Community believes that the 23rd night is Laylat al-Qadr.

day of Shawwal is called Eid al-Fitr .The holiday of Eid al-Fitr (Arabic:عيد الفطر) marks the end of Ramadan and the beginning of the next lunar month, Shawwal. This first day of the following month is declared after another crescent new moon has been sighted or the completion of 30 days of fasting if no visual sighting is possible due to weather conditions. Eid al-Fitr may also be a reference towards the festive nature of having endured the month of fasting successfully and returning to the more natural disposition (fitra) of being able to eat, drink and resume intimacy with spouses during the day.

Religious practices

It is the common practice during Ramadan to fast  from dawn to sunset. The pre-dawn meal before the fast is called the suhur, while the meal at sunset that breaks the fast is the iftar.

Muslims also engage in increased prayer and charity during Ramadan. Ramadan is also a month where Muslims try to practice increased self-discipline. This is motivated by the Hadith, especially in Al-Bukhari that "When Ramadan arrives, the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of hell are locked up and devils are put in chains."

This year Ramadan in India will begin on May 5 or May 6, depending upon the moon sighting and will last for one complete moon cycle, which are usually 29 or 30 days. So the holy month is likely to end on June 4 or June 5.

 



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