Interesting Facts About Ramadan: The New Moon Determines Its Start

Religious beliefs, practices, and rites have become a daily part of our lives. One of the most important religious sects in the world is Islam and the Ramadan fast is one of its most important practice.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim, Islamic calendar, a religious annual observance and month of fasting that is considered to be one of the Five Pillars of Islam. During the month of Ramadan, adult Muslims fast from dusk until dawn, unless they are ill, pregnant, or diabetic, breastfeeding, or traveling.
Throughout Ramadan, people fasting are expected to abstain from food, drinks and other pleasures from dawn to dusk. Participants are supposed to focus their mind on prayer, purity, spirituality, and charity. Fasting reminds you of the importance of self-control and the suffering of the poor. Ramadan fasting rules help to cleanse your body and mind.
This time spent fasting is meant to be used for prayer, charity, spirituality, and for purifying the mind and body. The actual beginning of Ramadan is determined by the sighting of the new moon or astronomical calculations. Because of this, the actual date when Ramadan begins each year differs from year to year.
In this article, we will share some interesting facts about Ramadan:
1. The date changes every year. Islam functions on a lunar calendar that doesn’t quite line up with the solar Gregorian calendar that the secular world uses. So while Muslim holidays are always the same day on the Muslim calendar, they happen on different days on the Gregorian calendar – typically moving 11 or 12 days earlier each year. In 2012, Ramadan began on July 19.
2. At the end of Ramadan, there is a large festival called Eid ul Fitr to celebrate the end of the fast. Eid ul Fitr is celebrated by wearing one’s best clothes, giving gifts, having a large meal, and spending time with one’s family. Muslims also use this time to ask for forgiveness for sins and to praise Allah (God).
3. In countries where Muslims are the majority, Ramadan has a drastic impact on daily life. Egypt pushes the clocks back an hour during the holy month so that the fast feels like it is ending earlier and the evenings are lengthened.
Work days are made shorter during the month to accommodate the additional time spent in prayer and in enjoying festive meals to end the daily fast.
4. The Five Pillars of Islam include Sawm: Fasting during Ramadan, Hajj: a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their life, Zakat: giving to the poor, Salat: five-time daily prayer, facing Mecca, including absolution prior to prayer, Shalada: declaration of belief in one true God.
5. Several different groups are excused from fasting during Ramadan: pregnant women, people who are mentally or physically ill, and sometimes women who are breastfeeding.
Children are not obligated to fast. It is not compulsory for children to fast until they reach puberty but some choose to observe it in preparation for their adulthood.
6. People fasting only eat before the sun rises and after the sunsets. The meal taken before sunrise is Suhoor and the meal taken after sunset is Iftar.
7. Despite the exemptions to fasting during Ramadan such as illness, breastfeeding, or medical conditions, many Muslims will persist with fasting because of their spiritual needs. If one is not able to fast but is able to in the future once their condition changes, they must still complete the fast.
8. The new moon determines the start of Ramadan. The start of Ramadan can vary in different places, as people still rely on someone seeing the new moon with the naked eye. The starting date also differs annually, as Islam functions that depend on a lunar calendar don’t match up with the solar calendar of the secular world.

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