Ramadan falls on the ninth month in the lunar calendar and to people of the Islamic faith it is the holiest month of the year. This month is special to the followers of Islam because they believe during this month Allah revealed the first five verses of the Quran to his messenger Muhammad.
This year Ramadan began on Nov. 6.
Ramadan is a time when sins are forgiven. During Ramadan, Muslims must fast during the day, only eating before dawn and after sunset.
However, fasting is only valid if Muslims make intentions each day. Making intentions during Ramadan means prayer must be given to Allah each day a Muslim intends to fast.
The Quran says: “The month of Ramadan in which the Quran revealed, a guidance of the criterion between right and wrong. So whoever of you sights the crescent for the month of Ramadan, he must fast that month.” (Surah Al-Buqarah, 2:185).
In Islamic countries, fasting is an obligation. Any Muslim who declares that he or she is not fasting will be punished.
Women who are pregnant do not have to fast because it is considered unhealthy for the baby and women who are on their menstrual cycle are exempt from fasting because they are considered to be unclean. Before participating in the fast Muslim men and women must be cleansed.
“After sexual intercourse or your menstrual cycle, you perform ghusl (a special cleansing process).”
“After that you should be able to fast again,” said Tauheedah Asad, a general studies student from Miami.
“Married men and women must refrain from marital relations during the daytime hours.”
Muslims must also give up something of choice that is important to them. It is believed that giving up something will show how strong a Muslim’s commitment is to becoming closer to Allah.
“I have cut down on a lot of things, but it is not necessarily a requirement,” said professor Thomas Rasheed of the division of Graphic Arts.
One significant night in the month is the Night of Power, believed to bring greater joy than any of the days in an a lifetime. People praying to Allah on this night, will receive whatever has been prayed for.
Although no one knows the actual night the Night of Power falls on, it is usually during the last 10 days of Ramadan.