Ramadan is the 9th month in Islamic calendar / Hijri Calendar. The length of the Month varies between 29 and 30 days depending on the sighting of the Shawwal Moon which leads to the much awaited Islamic festival of Eid ul Fitr on the 1st of Shawwal. Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars of Islam and during this holy month, Al-Quran was first revealed to the Prophet Mohammed (S.A.W.). The word ‘Ramadan’ comes from the Arabic world ‘Ramad / Ramida’ which means scorching heat or drought. So the word Ramadan means abstinence from eating and/or drinking anything from dawn till dusk.
Millions of Muslims across the world observe fast from dawn till dusk during the whole month of Ramadan as this is the most sacred month for the whole Muslim Ummah.
The word Fasting has different words in different languages around the world. It is known as ‘ayuno‘ in Spanish, ‘Jeûne’ in French, ‘Perhiz’ in Turkish, ’ صوم/ صيام ‘ in Arabic and ‘Puasa’ in Indonesian and Malay. The word ‘Sawm / Siyam’ (صوم/ صيام) means to abstain or refrain from something. It means to refrain from food, drink, sexual intercourse and all that which breaks the fast with the sole intention of obeying the commandments of Allah. Whoever denies this obligation of fasting during Ramadan does not remain a Muslim.
The food eaten before Fajr time is known as ‘Suhoor’ and the food eaten after sunset (Maghrib Salah) is known as ‘Iftar’.
Fasting was made obligatory during the month of Ramadan on all adult Muslims in the Second Year of Hijri (Migration from Makkah to Madinah of Muslims). As Almighty Allah says in Quran:
“Oh you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may learn piety and righteousness.”