With the holy month of Ramadan an integral part of the Muslim calendar, we wanted to delve a little deeper and understand the significance of Ramadan. There are five pillars of the Islamic faith and the most famous to non-Muslim is most likely the fasting period which takes place during Ramadan. The other four are prayer, giving alms, pilgrimage and the profession of the Muslim faith.
Ramadan is about more than fasting however: the holy month is a time for abstention from all vices surrounding us in our day-to-day lives and asking Muslims to spend time in reflection and prayer. It is believed that the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Mohammad during Ramadan which is why there is such an importance on scripture during this period.
The lunar cycle determines the start and end of Ramadan with the evening sunset allowing for the break of the fasting period, known as iftar. Evening times are spent catching up with family and friends, eating together as well as in prayer. As Ramadan is a time that brings families together, there is very much a sense of togetherness during mealtimes. Being apart from your loved ones at this time can be particularly difficult, especially if you are overseas, so giving someone a quick call or a What’s App message to chat with them can really go a long way.
While Islam is a global religion, there are some regional variances to how Ramadan is celebrated: in Egypt, brightly-coloured lanterns are hung during the month while in Albania, traditional songs accompany the iftar meal. A final meal, known as suhur is eaten before sunrise before the fasting period begins again.
Ramadan ends 29 or 30 days after it begins, depending on the lunar cycle. Eid A Fitr is the celebration to mark the end of the holy month when communities come together to celebrate the end of the holy period. Communities look forward to Eid because of the time it gives them to reconnect with those they care about by sharing gifts, sweets and tasty meals with one another. Those living apart from their loved ones during this time, can still connect with those they care about with the gift of mobile recharge.