Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar and means ‘scorching heat’, which refers to the weather that it first occurred. Nowadays, Muslims all around the world observe Ramadan, of which some experience long fasts in the heat while others do not. Ramadan is a month of fasting and abstaining from sinning, as well as strengthening relationships with Allah (SWT), our Creator.
During Ramadan, fasting is compulsory for every non-disabled Muslim adult. Those who are exempt from fasting include children who have not reached puberty, women who are menstruating, pregnant or breastfeeding, the elderly, the ill, those on medication and those who are unable to physically fast due to health reasons.
If someone breaks their fast or cannot fast due to health reasons, they should pay Fidya to feed the poor. If someone intentionally breaks their fast, they must pay Kaffarah, which is a higher penalty than Fidya or fast for 60 consecutive days.
It was during the 27th night of Ramadan that Angel Jibrael came to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to reveal the Qur’an. The Prophet (PBUH) was in the Cave of Hira, aged 40 when Angel Jibrael came to him. ‘It was the month of Ramadan in which the Qur’an was first sent down as guidance for all people, having in it clear proofs of divine guidance and the criterion for right and wrong. So whoever among you bears witness to the month shall then fast it’ (Surat Al-Baqarah, 2:185).
The first Surah that was revealed to him was Surah Al ‘Alaq, meaning ‘the clot’. The first five Ayahs from this Surah were revealed, translating as, ‘Recite in the name of your Lord who created. Created man from a clinging substance. Recite, and your Lord is the most generous. Who taught by the pen. Taught man that which he knew not.’ This Surah consists of 19 verses and is very important as it confirms to the Prophet (PBUH) that there was indeed a Creator.
In 2023, the month of Ramadan will begin on Wednesday 22 March and end on 22 April with the celebrations of Eid Ul-Fitr.
Many Muslims believe that the Qur’an was revealed on the 27th night of Ramadan, known as Laylatul Qadr, which makes these days and nights very important to Muslims. Muslims all around the world strive to make the most of these days and nights by praying, giving to charity, and doing good. These last 10 days are a good time for reflection on oneself as well as seeking Allah’s (SWT) forgiveness.
During these last 10 days, the Prophet (PBUH) would perform I’tikaf, where he would stay in the Mosque worshipping Allah (SWT) in the form of dhikr, praying, making dua and reading the Qur’an. Performing I’tikaf is a good way of making the most of Ramadan.
Any dua can be made during these 10 days, while some are particularly encouraged.
This dua should be recited on Laylatul Qadr and throughout the last 10 nights of Ramadan to seek Allah’s (SWT) forgiveness: ‘Allaahumma innaka ‘afuwwun, tuhibb al-‘afwa, fa’fu ‘anni’. This dua translates as, “O Allah, You are the Most forgiving, and You love to forgive, so forgive me.”
The last 10 days of Ramadan are especially significant, meaning one can reap extra rewards for performing good deeds during this time. Donate to Muslim Aid to reap the rewards and change someone’s life for the better this Ramadan.