The Islamic festival of Ramadan is in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is considered by Muslims as the holiest month of the year.
Muslims believe during this month the gates of Heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed, and it was during this time the Qur’an, the Islamic Holy book, was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed.
The actual night that the Qur’an was revealed to Mohammed is called Lailat ul Qadr and to stand in prayer on this one night is said to be greater than one thousand months of worship.
During Ramadan Muslims all over the world fast, they do not eat or drink during daylight hours.
Fasting is obligatory during the entire month for all able Muslims, this is to practice self-control and allow for other things such as prayer, worship, reciting the Qur’an and giving to charities. Many Muslims also try to break bad habits during the month of Ramadan.
When is Ramadan 2012?
The dates for Ramadan 2012 are approximately from Friday 20th July to Sunday 19th August. However, the official start is at the first sighting of the new moon.
There is some confusion over the start date with some Muslims following the first sighting of the new moon in their country. Others believe it is when the new moon is sighted in Saudi Arabia, where Islam started. Some believe it is the sighting in the nearest Muslim country to them.
The end of Ramadan is called Eid Ul-Fitr and is a festival which not only celebrates the end of fasting for Muslims, but also to thank Allah in giving them the strength he gave them in the previous month.
Eid starts at the first sighting of the new moon in the next cycle, and involves special services in Mosques and in the community including processions through the streets and decorating houses.
Muslims wear their best clothes during Eid and eat a celebratory meal in the day time, for the first time in a month.
Eid is not just for celebrating, this time is also for forgiveness and making amends.
This year the festival of Eid is on Sunday 19th August and all over the world Muslims will be celebrating this special time.
Let us know how you are celebrating the festival of Eid.