Ramadan 2021 is almost upon us and it is a time for us to remember our heritage and work to become closer to Allah (SWT). The rich history of the Islamic faith is something to be celebrated, and it is through our festivals and traditions that we are able to gain a deeper understanding of our origins – both as individuals and as Muslims.
In Ramadan, charity is at the heart of the community with Muslims paying Fitrana and putting into practice the lessons that Allah (SWT) teaches us. It is this which allows us to continue to celebrate everything that is meaningful about our faith.
The Holy Month of Ramadan is one of the most significant periods of the Islamic calendar – it is an opportunity to reap the blessings and rewards that this auspicious month brings to all.
Ramadan is the most important month in the Islamic calendar as it is the month of sawm (fasting), which brings Muslim closer to their faith and, with that, Allah (SWT). It is the ninth month in the lunar calendar and, as per the message of the Holy Qur'an, all able Muslims should observe the fast throughout Ramadan.
This means that Muslims, between sunrise and sunset, will abstain from food and drink - as well as swearing, impure thoughts and sexual activity. This is a time for reflection and contemplation, as well as a time for giving which is why Muslims are obliged to pay Zakat ul-Fitr (Fitrana) during Ramadan before the Eid prayers begin.
As the Islamic calendar goes by the sighting of the moon, Ramadan will fall roughly 10 days earlier each year in the Gregorian calendar and, thus, there is no exact time and date. When Ramadan falls during the summer months, this often means that Muslims will be fasting for between 18 and 20 hours a day (depending on their location), while the years that Ramadan falls in the winter months means a considerably shorter fasting period.
Ramadan holds a special place in Islam because this is when the Holy Qur'an was first revealed to the Prophet (PBUH). It is widely believed that this happened on the 27th night of Ramadan, which is known as Laylat-ul-Qadr, or the Night of Power, although some scholars believe this could have happened on any of the odd-numbered nights in the last 10 nights of Ramadan. The Night of Power is the most popular time for Muslims to make their charitable payments, such as Fitrana and Zakat, as this night comes with increased rewards and blessings - multiplied by that of a thousand months.
As the Islamic calendar is lunar, the dates of Ramadan rotate by approximately 10-11 days every year.
2021 Ramadan is expected to begin in the evening of Monday 12th April and conclude on Tuesday 11th May, subject to the official sighting of the moon. Eid-ul-Fitr is expected to start on the evening of Wednesday 12th May and conclude at sunset on Thursday 13th May.
"Oh, you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may learn piety and righteousness"
During Ramadan, eligible Muslims participate in a fast which lasts from Fajr (dawn prayer) to sunset, as ordained by Allah (SWT) in order to abide by the fourth pillar of Islam, Sawm, which is the basis for the Ramadan definition.
While fasting during the hours of daylight is compulsory, those participating in the fast should still eat at least two meals per day in order to remain sustained and healthy. Suhoor should be eaten at dawn to open the fast, whereas Iftar should be eaten to break the fast at sunset. It is advised to carefully consider the nutritional benefits of the food you are choosing to eat, as these meals must be able to adequately sustain you throughout the following day. Traditionally, the day’s fast is broken with a glass of water and a handful of dates before the Iftar meal is consumed.
Certain individuals may be exempt from fasting during Ramadan if they meet one or more of the following criteria:
If you are unable to complete the fast during Ramadan, Fidya and Kaffarah are the ways in which you can make up for the missed fast.
If you are unable to fast (as intended by the Ramadan meaning) due to illness, you must make a donation which pays for someone else to be fed. The fee for this is £5 per day, meaning that if you miss every day of the fast, a total of £150 must be paid.
If you deliberately miss the fast without good reason, you must either fast for an additional 60 days or donate to feed 60 people at £5 each.
The conclusion of Ramadan is marked by the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr, a joyous occasion when Muslims feast, give gifts and spend time with family and friends. Eid-ul-Fitr is a time for celebration and happiness as Muslims celebrate the Holy month that has passed while looking ahead to the future.
There are many Eid traditions, largely centred around family, generosity, and festivities. On the first day of Eid-ul-Fitr, Muslims will wake early and dress in their finest clothes to attend Mosque for Eid prayers. After prayers, Muslims will wish each other “Eid Mubarak” before spending the rest of the day in prayer, enjoying good food, sharing gifts with children and loved ones, and giving to those less fortunate.
Ramadan is a time for giving and compassion, a time for your generosity to change the lives of people around the world for the better. Generosity always brings significant rewards in Islam, but in accordance with the meaning of Ramadan, donations during Ramadan are greatly multiplied.
Make the most of the blessed month and support those in need as you invest in your Hereafter. Commit to supporting your brothers and sisters across the world. Charity work in Ramadan and the rest of the year, alongside your generous donations, really can make all the difference to those living in a world where every day is a struggle for survival.
The entire team here at Muslim Aid thanks you for your generous donations in 2020 and look forward to receiving your generous Ramadan donation in 2021. We hope you have a blessed Ramadan filled with plentiful reward. We pray that Muslims around the world fast during the Holy month every year and attain the blessings of Laylat-ul-Qadr. Ameen.