Ramadan is the name of the ninth month in our lunar Hijri calendar. If falls after the month of Sha’ban and is followed by the month of Shawwal. Ramadan in Arabic originates from the root ( ر م ض ) which means “excessive heat”.[1] “When people documented names of months from old language, they named them based on surrounding events of the time. The month Ramadan coincided with days of excessive heat and that is why it was called as such”.[2]

The honor of the month of Ramadan is that Allah ﷻ chose to reveal the holy Quran to His prophet ﷺ in the Night of Power and Decree (Lailatul Al-Qadr). Allah ﷻ said: {Indeed, [it is] We [who] have sent this [Quran] down [from the high] on the Night of [Empowering} Decree} 97:1. In another verse, Allah ﷻ spoke about the revelation of the Quran in the month of Ramadan. Allah ﷻ said: {It was the month of Ramadan in which the Quran was [first] sent down as guidance for all people, having [in it] clear proofs of [divine] guidance and the criterion [for right and wrong]} 2:185.

Fasting the month of Ramadan was ordained for us in the second year after Hijrah. The month, since it is a lunar month, can either be 29 or 30 days depending on the cycle. The month of Ramadan, and every month for that matter, begins by visually observing the new crescent or using calculation. Both methods are understood from the verses of the Quran and the Sunnah of the prophet ﷺ. The main difference is that some scholars interpret the visual observation of the moon literally, meaning an actual sighting of the crescent with your eyes, while others consider it as a method, thus with more accurate methods available like the science of astronomy, that can be used to determine the beginning of the month.

During this month, fasting is an obligation upon every Muslim who is an adult, healthy and not traveling. The fasting starts at dawn of every day of Ramadan, where no food, liquids, or intimate relationships are allowed, and it ends by sunset of that same day. People who need to break their fast must make up the days after Ramadan. Exceptions are given to elderly people, people with long term or terminal illnesses, or pregnant and nursing mothers to give a compensation (Fidya) instead of feeding a needy person for each day missed.

Fasting Ramadan is considered one of the main five pillars of Islam. The rewards start by the concept of responding to the order of God and includes forgiveness of sins. The prophet ﷺ said: “”He who observes fasting during the month of Ramadan with Faith while seeking its reward from Allah, will have his past sins forgiven”.[3]

At Day of Judgment, the prophet ﷺ spoke about many rewards as well. A special door is assigned for people who fast Ramadan to enter into Heaven called Al-Rayyan. The prophet ﷺ said: “Paradise has eight gates, and one of them is called Al-Rayyan through which none will enter but those who observe fasting”.[4]

Fasting the month of Ramadan comes as an intercessor on behalf of each one fasting. The prophet ﷺ said: “Fasting and the Qur’an intercede for a man. Fasting says, ‘O my Lord, I have kept him away from his food and his passions by day, so accept my intercession for him.’ The Qur’an says, ‘I have kept him away from sleep by night, so accept my intercession for him.’ Then their intercession is accepted”.[5]

Special prayers and Zakat are only in Ramadan. The nightly prayers after Isha called Taraweeh, which usually can be under Qiyam Al-Layl is practiced by Muslims around the world. Also, prior to the end of Ramadan people are asked to give a special charity (Sadaqat Al-Fitr) to cleanse themselves from any shortcomings during fasting and to help bring joy to needy people. The prophet ﷺ prescribed the Sadaqat Al-Fitr (alms) relating to the breaking of the fast as a purification of the fasting from empty and obscene talk and as food for the poor. If anyone pays it before the Eid prayer, it will be accepted as zakat. If anyone pays it after the prayer, that will be a Sadaqah like other Sadaqah (alms).[6] This year we calculated the amount of Sadaqat Al-Fitr to be $15 per family member regardless of age and including in utero.

Ramadan is the month of generosity and remembering the needy. People tend to give their Zakat Al-Mal during the month of Ramadan to combine the honor of practicing the obligation of Zakat with being in a blessed month.

Ramadan is also about patience and righteousness, (Sabr and Taqwa). People practice patience to abstain from things that can break their fast and hope to be closer and more fearful of Allah ﷻ.

Ramadan begins Saturday, April 2, 2022. And Eid will be Monday, May 2, 2022.

Ramadan Mubarak to all!

By Imam Kifah Mustapha

[1] Lisan Al-Arab by Ibn Manthoor

[2] Ibn Duraid

[3] Bukhari

[4] Bukhari

[5] Baihaqi

[6] Abu Daoud