Here are the most interesting facts about Ramadan that you probably didn’t know.
Marking the ninth Islamic month, Ramadan is celebrated by Muslims around the world to commemorate a ritual that has been a practised for over 1,000 years. Ahead of the auspicious occasion, we’ve compiled a list of quick facts that will help you understand more about the holy month.
Borrowed from the Arabic word Ramad, Ramadan literally translates to ‘intense or scorching heat by the Sun’. The month was named Ramadan because, in its true essence, the month burns the sins of Muslims.
If you’ve been wondering when it all began, Ramadan was established in 610 CE after the Islamic holy scripture Quran was revealed to the last Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (PBUH) on the Night of Power (Laytal-al-Qadr). The night is of great significance to Muslims even though the exact date remains unknown.
This year the UAE will begin fasting from 5th May until 4th June, however the dates are subject to change owing to the sighting of the moon.
Celebrated with family and friends, Eid al Fitr marks the end of this sacred month. The occasion is both a celebration and reward for the Muslim community for their perseverance and steadfastness throughout Ramadan.
Unlike the Gregorian calendar, the lunar calendar relies on the moon sighting. As the cycle of both calendars does not coincide, Ramadan moves back by approximately 11 days each year. In 2018, the UAE began fasting on 17th May, so this year Ramadan is likely to begin by 6th May.
Geographically, time zones differ, and because of this, Muslims around the world fast on different days (as and when the moon is sighted in their region).
Speaking of the world, according to the latest research conducted in 2015, there are 1.8 billion Muslim devotees across the globe, which makes up for about 24 percent of the world population.
Last year, Muslims in Iceland witnessed the longest fast, abstaining from food and drink for more than 21 hours due to the Midnight Sun phenomenon in the Arctic region. The shortest duration of fasting was in Chile with approximately ten hours. Owing to their geographical location, it is likely that the same regions will have the longest and shortest fasts again. This year, residents in the Emirates will fast for 29 days.
Contrary to popular belief, Ramadan is not mere fasting from dawn till dusk, but it is a lifestyle Muslims aim for throughout their lives. For the entire month, Muslims are advised to avoid social as well as spiritual evils. Instead, steadfastness, patience, perseverance and compassion are promoted and encouraged.