Ramadhan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar ( a calendar measured by the cycles of the moon). Ramadhan is thought of as the holiest month. The month begins as soon as the new moon is seen. Muslims have to go without all food, drink, any kind of tobacco use and any kind of sexual contact between dawn and sunset. Other things Muslims should do are refraining from lying, gossiping, abuse and all other bad deeds. All obscene sights and sounds should be avoided. This is done so that the mind can be clean of bad thoughts. The act of fasting redirects the heart and mind from the world, and directs it to God. When a Muslim has an ‘’urge’’ he / she is told to think of Allah. This raises the level of God- consciousness.
The month of Ramadhan is a time for spiritual reflection, prayer, doing good deeds and spending time with family and friends. In the evening some Muslims go to the mosque to perform extra prayers in a congregation, called Tarawih prayers. Every night during these prayers, one thirtieth of the Qur’an is recited, so that by the end of the month, the entire Qur’an has been read. People do wish each other ‘’ Ramadhan Kareem’’ or ‘’ Ramadhan Mubarak’’, this means a successful, happy and blessed month.
During the last 10 days of the Month Muslims try to spend as much time worshipping in the mosque as possible. Some Muslims even spend the whole of the month there. During the month of Ramadhan it is also a very popular time for Muslims to visit Mecca and Madina (holy places). A normal day of fasting for Muslim starts with a very early breakfast called sahoor. Breakfast is eaten while it’s still dark, before the break of dawn. In a family home there may be a variety of food. But when you are alone, you would have to rely on yourself to wake up and eat alone. Some Muslims then go to the mosque to do the dawn prayer (1 prayer out of 5 the daily live) and they recite verses of the Qur’an while others do this at home. Some people go back to bed before carrying on with the day as usual, but this depends on the time. After the sun has set the fast is broken with a meal called Iftar. The tradition is to drink a glass of water with a date. Then the ‘’ proper’’ meal is eaten. Before the proper main meal is eaten the Magrib prayer is recited. The poor are invited or are given food, so they can experience the pleasure of Islam.
Ramadhan is a time for spiritual reflection, prayer, good deeds and also spending time with family, friends and loves ones. The fasting is intended to teach Muslims self-discipline and self restrain. It also reminds Muslims of how the poor suffer and how some of the poor hardly ever eat. There is a feeling the same demands of the fast, and in some places they both share their food at night. This should also make them more generous toward others. Some Muslims seek Allah’s forgiveness and protection in this month. This is the month for some Muslims to renew their commitment and re-establish their relationship with Allah. It is like the spring season for goodness and righteousness. Some Muslims think that Ramadhan and its demands strengthen their faith and purity his/her heart, soul and bad deeds.
They are many good things as a result of fasting. Fasting helps one to feel compassion for those who are less fortunate and under-privileged. This is because each day Muslims feel greater appreciation for what they have as a result of feeling hunger and thirst. The Muslims may gain good qualities such as perseverance and patience. Fasting also allows one to build a sense of self-control and well-power, which can be used throughout life in dealing with temptations and peer-pressure. Through fasting Muslims learn to control their normal urges such as hunger and thirst, and this are able to better resist temptations for things which are not necessary such as drugs or other unwanted habits. Some disadvantages are that it will be difficult for Muslims who are fasting to continue with their normal work, particularly anything demanding. The whole pace of life is slows down in Muslim countries. Muslim countries are mainly very hot places which will also add to the difficulty as the Muslims there will perspire more due to the heat and not be able to quench their thirst. Overall I believe that Ramadhan has more advantages than disadvantages because it teaches you self-discipline and how to control your passions and appetite.