Ramadan is the Arabic name for the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. It is considered one of the holiest months for Muslims, marked by a period of fasting, and is considered one of the Five Pillars of Islam.
It is essential to have a good understanding of the rules and practices of fasting in Islam, in order to respect and support those who are following this important tradition.
Ramadan is often surrounded by myths and assumptions that may not be entirely accurate. In order to gain a better understanding, it is essential to differentiate between fact and fiction.
Let us find out what’s true and what’s not.
- Assumption: Every Muslim fasts during Ramadan
Fact: It is a common misconception to assume that every Muslim fasts during Ramadan. In fact, there are many exemptions for those who may not be able to fast.
Some Muslims may have health conditions that prevent them from fasting, or may be elderly, pregnant, breastfeeding, traveling, or menstruating.
It is essential to know about the different exemptions and circumstances in which fasting is not obligatory, and to be respectful of those who may not be fasting during this holy month.
- Assumption: A fasting Muslim can drink water throughout the day.
Fact: A fasting Muslim abstains from food and water from sunrise to sunset during the holy month of Ramadan.
The ideology behind this is that, water is just one of the many gifts we take for granted in this life and one of the effects of fasting during Ramadan is that it brings all of these things into focus, helping us to remember all the blessings we receive and take for granted, such as food and water.
This act of self-discipline and devotion to God is one of the Five Pillars of Islam and is mandatory for all healthy and able-bodied Muslims.
- Assumption: You can overindulge at Iftar
Fact: Another common assumption is that one can overindulge at Iftar during the month of Ramadan. However, in Islam, there is an etiquette to eating a meal, especially during Ramadan.
People can experience health problems in Ramadan due to eating beyond the level of fullness at the time of breaking their fast. Consuming large quantities of food for Iftar can lead to an upset stomach.
Muslims are encouraged to eat in moderation and to avoid overindulging in food and drink. It is recommended to break the fast with dates and water, followed by a light meal, and to avoid filling the stomach to the brim.
This is not only in keeping with the spiritual aspect of fasting, but it is also a healthy practice for the body.
- Assumption: Ramadan falls at the same time every year.
Fact: Ramadan is part of the Islamic calendar, which is a lunar calendar based on the cycles of the moon. It begins and ends with the appearance of the crescent moon.
The Islamic calendar is approximately 10 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar, and it has no leap days, which means that Ramadan falls approximately 10 days earlier each year in relation to the Gregorian calendar.
- Assumption: Muslims fast for 30 days straight.
Fact: Muslims do not fast for 30 days straight during the Ramadan, instead, they fast from sunrise to sunset for 30 days. This means that they abstain from all forms of food, drink, and other physical needs during daylight hours for a period of 30 days.
The fasting period begins at dawn, before the first light of day, and ends at sunset.
They wake up well before dawn to eat seheri and at dawn, they perform the morning prayer. They go about their daily business as they normally would, despite not being able to eat or drink anything the whole day then they break the day's fast with iftar and perform the evening prayer.