02 July 2014

Ramadan Mubarak!

Hi guys!
In honour of the month of Ramdan, I decided to do a post that commemorates this month that Mulsims all around the world take part in through fasting.  

I have to admit, it is very difficult, particularly in the summer season where would simply crave a glass of water! But it is also an amazing way to gain empathy for those who are unable to go to their sink to get a glass of water, or open their fridge full of food and pick what they fancy. 

ramadan, the islamic holy month for muslims
I knew this was part of the reason for fasting, but when someone asked me why we celebrated Eid I was flabbergasted! I had learned from a very young age what my beliefs were but for some reason when I was put on the spot I forgot it all. So I took it upon myself to research (using Google, obvs, and some Islamic books) what the month of Ramadan is about and why Eid is celebrated. Although most of the information jogged my memory a little, I also learned some very interesting points that I thought I would share with you all so you can get a better understanding too of what Ramadan is truly about – if you are a Muslim or know someone who is, or even just to inform yourselves of other cultures, I hope you guys find this somewhat useful (please note: I am not an Islamic scholar. I am just going by my research and what I have been told by my parents and teachers.) I just hope this gives a small insight into Islam and a rough idea of why this particular month is significant to Muslims.

So, what is Ramadan?  It is the 9th month of the Islamic calendar (which is around 10 days shorter than the traditional Georgian calendar, hence why Ramadan starts 10 days earlier each year.) Every year, Muslims all over the world take part in fasting from sunrise to sunset where no food, water or anything else can be consumed. it is traditionally broken with a date, followed by the evening meal. It is also one of the 5 pillars of Islam, making it essential to Muslims to take part. The month begins and ends depending on the sighting of the moon to determine the beginning and end of the month.

ramdan is the month of fasting, that ends in the celebration of Eid
What is expected of Muslims during this month: This month is seen as a time for Muslims to dedicate their time into reading the Qu’ran, praying 5 times a day and to overall become a better Muslim. Although this is always expected of them, this month allows a chance for improvement for Muslims to truly practice Islam and dedicate themselves fully to God.it is also a time to restrain themselves from desires and reflect on their faith to help them improve themselves as a person. 

Who is exempt from fasting? people who do not fast are often divided into one of the following categories – mentally challenged, sick, children (those who have not undergone puberty), pregnant women, women on their period, travellers.

However, this is not an exhausted list as those who feel they cannot fast do not necessarily have to. For me, I believe intention is the most important factor – i.e. if a person has good intentions and genuinely cant fast, they should (hopefully) be forgiven.

There are also ways to compensate for not fasting including: fasting later in another month, giving a meal for each missed day of fasting or giving money for a meal.
Now for the most important part: WHY do we fast?

For Muslims, this time of month is an emotional time that tests a person’s strength and will, whilst bringing the whole Muslim community together in their fast. According to (http://muslimcommunityreport.com/2011/12/15/what-is-ramadan-why-do-we-celebrate-ramadan/) , Muslims use this month to re-evaulate their lives in light of Islamic guidance. Will is tested and patience, humility and submissiveness to God is taught. Charity is alsoemphasised through self-sacrifice, results in growth of empathy for the poor.
It is also significant because it was the month the Holy Book (the Qu’ran) was revealed to the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him). To mark the end of Ramadan, Eid-al-Fitr is celebrated in which communities come together and enjoy the achievements of the month. Interestingly, the word “fitr” means “to break”, therefore symbolising the breaking of the fasting period and of all evil habits (wow, I didn’t know that).

People may confuse Eid-al-Fitr with Eid-Al-Adha that takes place in the last month of the Islamic calendar. This is known as a festival of sacrifice that stemmed from the story of Abraham (Ibrahim).
This story is that of a young prophet , Abraham (who Muslims call Ibrahim). One day, God came to him in a dream and asked Ibrahim to sacrifice his son, Isma’il, as an act of obedience to God. Although the devil tempted Ibrahim into disobeying Allah and spare his son, Ibrahim was about to kill Ism’ail until God stopped him and gave him a lamb to sacrifice instead (this is why many people give money to get a lamb sacrificed around the time of Eid-al-Adhr).

I understand that this is not my usual blog post but I found it so interesting and I just wanted to share what I learned to those also struggling to grasp the true meaning behind Ramadan.
I will also hopefully be posting a few of my experiences of fasting on a few miscellaneous days :)
But don’t worry, I hopefully plan to leave this blog to be about health/ beauty/ fashion/ lifestyle/ personal and everything-in-between blog!!!Also, leave a comment below on what you think!
Hope you liked this post and carry on reading! xo

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