Ramadan, a holy month for followers of Islam, is one of the most significant religious events for Muslims worldwide.
The month is observed as a sacred time of worship where and, as Islamic Relief Australia shares on its website: “It is an opportunity for new beginnings; for spiritual renewal and reflection, increased devotion, and celebration of the mercy and love of Allah (SWT)”.
What is the month of Ramadan?
As Al Jazeera writes, the month is recognised as the time when the first verses of the Quran were shared with the Prophet Muhammad some 1,400 years ago.
It is a time where practising adult Muslims (who are healthy enough to do so) fast from dawn to dusk. This month-long fast is inclusive of all food and drink.
During Ramadan, regular prayer, acts of charity and a general focus on spiritual connection are encouraged. This is also the time of year where followers of the Muslim faith will try to complete the pilgrimage to Mecca (the Hajj) if they are able.
Muslim Village editor Ahmed Kilani once explained the experience to ABC news as, “one of the five pillars of Islam — one of the fundamental foundations of the faith”.
“…It’s not just about abstaining from food and water but it’s about self-reflection and contemplation and reconnecting with our spiritual side and strengthening our connection with God by doing extra prayers, extra charity and basically, I like to call it a 30-day spiritual bootcamp in essence,” he told the outlet.
After sunset each day, many families come together to break their fast and share a meal. Depending on the time of year in which Ramadan falls, the number of hours spent fasting will vary from 12 to about 22 hours.
However, there are exemptions when it comes to fasting.
Tasneem Chopra, the Cross-cultural consultant and chair of the Australian Muslim Women’s Centre for Human Rights also spoke with the ABC and explained that children, those who are on their period, pregnant or breastfeeding, elderly folks and individuals who rely on medications, or those who are travelling may be excused from fasting.
When does Ramadan fall?
Each year, this differs by about 10 days. Ramadan is recognised as the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, however, the calendar is based around the lunar cycle. The beginning of the month is determined by the sighting of the new moon.
This year, Ramadan’s beginnings will be observed on either April 12 or 13, depending on your location.
Some countries, Al Jazeera reports, follow Saudi Arabia’s new moon sighting, but Australia follows the statements of local moon sighters.
Earlier this month the Grand Mufti of Australia, Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohamad, released a statement confirming that the Holy Month of Ramadan would commence on Tuesday, April 13 in 2021.
However, it’s also worth sharing that the following was also included in the statement regarding the commencement of Ramadan:
“The Grand Mufti of Australia, Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohamad, and the respected Imams of the Australian National Imams Council and the Australian Fatwa Council acknowledge, understand and respect the Imams and scholars who may hold a different opinion.”
The month of Ramadan concludes after about 29 or 30 days, again depending on new moon sightings. This point in time is recognised with the festival of Eid where families come together to eat and celebrate the significant event. Eid will likely fall on May 12 or 13 for 2021.
If you’d like to learn more about Ramadan, check out this video from Lifehacker about the holy month and its significance.
Ramadan Mubarak to all those observing the month this year.