On April 3, 2022, the holy month of Ramadan begins in Bangladesh and many other countries in the world, while it started in Saudi Arabia and Middle Eastern nations on April 2.
Every year, more than a billion Muslims around the world anticipate the sighting of the new crescent moon that signifies the official first day of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and the most sacred month in Islamic culture. The Muslim calendar year is shorter than the Gregorian calendar year, so Ramadan begins 10–12 days earlier each year. The exact dates are dependent on the appearance of the crescent moon and might vary from country to country.
The naming of Ramadan stems from the Arabic root “Ar-ramad”, which means scorching heat. Muslims believe that in A.D. 610, the angel Gabriel appeared to Prophet Muhammad and revealed to him the Qur’an, the Islamic holy book. That revelation, “Laylat Al Qadar” – or the “Night of Power” – is believed to have occurred during Ramadan. It is also believed to have fallen on one of the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan but is most widely observed on the 27th night of Ramadan. It is also believed that this was the night when the Qu’ran was first revealed.
Hence, Muslims commemorate the revelation of the Qur’an during Ramadan. It is a month of intense spiritual rejuvenation with a heightened focus on devotion. Muslims spend extra time reading the Qur’an and perform special prayers. On a normal day during Ramadan, mosques are open all night as Muslims hold vigils in prayer, Qur’anic recitation and contemplation. Families usually get together for a special dinner and celebration.
Ramadan, however, is less a period of atonement than it is a time for Muslims to practice self-restraint, in keeping with Sawm (Arabic: “to refrain”), which is one of the pillars of Islam. Although Sawm is most commonly understood as the obligation to refrain from food and drink between dawn and dusk, the Muslim community also involves more broadly the obligation to refrain from sexual activity, and all forms of immoral behavior. Thus, bad deeds or impure and unkind thoughts are as destructive as breaking the fast by eating or drinking. Devout Muslims fast from food and drink during the sunlit hours as a means of drawing closer to God, cultivating self-control, gratitude and compassion for those less fortunate.
The spirit of Ramadan
Ramadan is the month of festival as during this month, human souls get regenerated with spiritually, while many find themselves nearer to the God. Ramadan purifies human souls and makes them divine, pure and fragrant. For these reasons, Ramadan is not a month of mere fasting. It indeed is a month of abundant blessings and spirituality. Our God is ready to shower His blessings to all of us during the days and nights of this divine month.
Muslims observe Ramadan with extra prayers and by fasting from sunrise to sunset each day, from Suhour [Shehri], the meal before dawn, to Iftar, the meal after sunset. Those who believe in Sufism spend major segment of the Ramadan evenings and nights towards Zikr that makes themselves feel strongly connected to the God and his grandness. Ramadan is also the month of hope and appeals, when devoted Muslims can submit their prayers and appeals to the Almighty God and in most cases, those prayers and appeals are granted.
Ramadan is about love, sacrifice, devotion, forgiveness and caring. It is patience, charity, effort, and one month in a year to try to be a complete human.
Let us please, relieve ourselves from mockery, dirt of human odds, wrong-hood, falsehood and evil influence of Satan. Let us purify ourselves and make best efforts in transforming us into a better human being. My profound greetings to everyone in the world, who are blessed with this divine month. May God shower his blessings unto all of us. Amen!
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