What Is Ramadan?, When Is It?, and How Is It Celebrated?
Al-Hamdou Lil-Lah (Praise Be To Allah – SWT). The first day of Ramadan in Reading, PA will be on Monday, May 6th, 2019.
The first Taraweeh Prayer will be, Insha-Allah, on Sunday, May 5th, 2019 at the Islamic Center of Reading, PA located on 18 S. Noble Street, Reading, PA, and at the Islamic Society of Reading, Berks County located on 101 W. Windsor Street, Reading, PA 19601 right after Isha prayer.
What is Ramadan and its purpose?
Ramadan is a very blessed month to all Muslims around the world! Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and the month of fasting for us Muslims.
Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam! Ramadan is the fourth pillar of Islam that comes after the Shahada (testimony of faith), Salat (daily prayers), Zakat (Almsgiving to support the poor and the needy), and before the last pillar of Islam, which is Haj (Pilgrimage to Makkah – If financially and physically able).
Ramadan begins upon the sighting of the moon, and in the U.S.A., it is largely determined by ISNA (Islamic Society of North America).
Why Muslims fast or observe Ramadan?
First and foremost, it is because it was ordained by Allah (SWT)! Ramadan was not only prescribed for the Muslims only but also prescribed to those before us. Ramadan was commanded to help us learn self-restraint.
Ramadan, or fasting during the month of Ramadan (and even before and after the blessed month) is recognized, by all Muslims, for its health, psychological and spiritual benefits. It is also considered by Muslims to be a mean of improving our moral characters and seen as a great opportunity to renew and improve on our spiritual mind.
The real purpose of Fasting during Ramadan (or before and after)
To me, Allah (SWT) prescribed fasting, or Ramadan to us, and to the ones before us, not to see us suffer from hunger and thirst, or make us uncomfortable, but to help us be conscious of Allah (SWT), the Creator, and strive to please Him (Allah – SWT) by increasing good deeds towards yourself, your family, neighbors and friends (without regard to their religious belief).
Ramadan, to me, is to be especially kind to all of Allah’s (SWT) creations.
The way I see Ramadan is a mean to get my sins (bad deeds) forgiven by Allah (SWT)! It helps me increase my worshipping Allah (SWT), give a smile to others (again, without regard to their belief), help anyone in need, watch over my neighbor by helping him carry his groceries if he can’t, share the blessing of Allah (SWT), such as food if he is hungry, control my anger towards anyone, and so on.
Ramadan and saying NO to what is usually permissible
During the blessed month of Ramadan, we learn to say NO to permissible things such as food, water, having a marital relationship with your wife (and the wife with her husband) throughout the day and avoid that which was always forbidden.
To me, Ramadan helps me taste and feel the pain (to an extent) of those who are suffering from hunger and thirst and don’t know when their next meal will be.
To me, Ramadan teaches me to be sympathetic and empathic towards the destitute and helps me stop being self-centered and selfish.
When do Muslims fast?
The fasting starts in the early dawn to sunset, each day till the last month of Ramadan!
Depending on when Ramadan falls (Summer, Winter, Fall, and Spring), Muslims will fast for approximately 17 to 19 hours each day.
During Ramadan, we Muslims abstain from food, marital relationship, drink and ill-conduct towards yourself, your family, and others.
Who is required to fast Ramadan?
Islam is a religion of ease and not of hardship!
It is compulsory for every mature, physically able and mentally healthy Muslim to fast during the month of Ramadan!
Those who are exempt from fasting during the month of Ramadan are the old, sick, travelings, menstruating and pregnant women.
Please note that the menstruating and pregnant women, including the traveling person(s), are not required to fast during the blessed month of Ramadan, but are required to make up the missed days at a later time before the next Ramadan starts.
Ramadan and The Night of Power during (Laylatul Qadr)
Laylatul Qadr during Ramadan, or the Night of Power, is a very special night!
This special night is better than a thousand months because it is the night that the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
The Night of Power is the holiest night of the year and can be either the 19th, 21st, or 23rd night of Ramadan!
During that night, it is recommended that you make a lot of Du’as, pray and read the Quran as much as you can.
The Night of Power is a night where the fate of every believing man and woman for the following year is decreed.
A day in Ramadan
Before a Muslim start his fast, it is a sunnah to have S’hour (Souhour or a light meal) before starting the fast.
This light meal can be of any dish you prepared the night before (or leftover). It is recommended that you eat something that will not get you thirsty a couple of hours after you have consumed it, but instead, give you that feeling of being full and give you the energy to tackle that day.
During the day, it is recommended that you do not participate in activities (sport for example) that will make you thirsty, but this does not mean you cannot perform your usual job at work.
During the blessed month of Ramadan (and throughout the year), we should do everything that pleases Allah (SWT) and your body and mind such as refrain from anything that goes against Allah (SWT) and the teaching of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
You want to get closer to Allah (SWT) and please him even more during the month of Radaman?…
Then do your best to imitate what our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) did during Ramadan.
Breaking the fast, and where?
It is recommended that you take 3 dates with you to the Mesjid to break the fast!
As soon as the Athan starts, you can eat your dates with water or milk (usually, the Mesjid provides a mean to break the fast).
Note – Allah (SWT) has not made going to the Mesjid compulsory for women, during the blessed month of Ramadan and after, but it is permissible if they want to go and perform the Taraweeh provided they have met and performed their other obligations.
Once the Athan is finished, you should pray the Maghrib with the congregation and get more rewards.
Once you’ve finished praying the Meghrib prayer, you can go and have your Iftar with the congregation and enjoy their companionship, or perform the Iftar at home with your family.
After you’ve enjoyed your iftar and if you are at home, you should go to the Mesjid (Mosque) to perform the Taraweeh prayers and get even more rewards of praying with the congregation, and listening to the Quran while praying.
The Rewards of Women that stay home during Taraweeh during Ramadan
Even though women are not required, like men, to go to the Masjid, they can go to a Mesjid and pray during Ramadan and perform the Taraweeh prayers and receive the pleasure and blessing of Allah (SWT).
But what about the women that decide to stay home and take care of the children?
Well, Insha-Allah, they will still get rewards from Allah (SWT) for not only thinking of taking care of the children so that the father can perform the prayers and Taraweeh with the congregation, but also for actually performing the act of watching the children, taking care of the house chores, and so on.
Allah (SWT) blesses and rewards each person in different ways! We just have to know that for every good did (any type of good deed), Insha-Allah, you are being rewarded by our Creator, Allah (SWT).