You may know or have heard that Ramadan has begun once again this year. Let me take you on a little journey, flicking the myths out the earth.
Fasting during the month of Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. The month is spent by Muslims fasting during the daylight hours from dawn to sunset. According to Islam, the Quran was sent down to the lowest heaven during this month, thus being prepared for gradual revelation by Jibreel (Gabriel) to the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Therefore, Muhammad told his followers that the gates of Heaven would be open for the entire month and the gates of Hell (Jahannam) would be closed. The first day of the next month, Shawwal, is spent in celebration and is observed as the "Festival of Breaking Fast" or Eid al-Fitr
Myth #1: It is exactly 30 days.
Ramadan is the 9th month in the Islamic calendar. Unlike, say, January, Ramadan and Shaban do not have a fixed number of days. Each month can have 29 or 30 days, depending on when the first sliver of the crescent moon is sighted by the naked eye. If, on the 29th day of Shaban, the crescent moon is sighted, Ramadan has begun, and Muslims begin fasting that morning.
Myth #2: Just do not eat or drink from sunrise to sunset.
Ramadan has a prayer called Taraweeh. The Taraweeh Prayer is an emphasised Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (swt) during the month of Ramadan. Charity is also one of the Five Pillars in Islam, during Ramadan the act of charity is multiplied.
You must also be kind with your language and thoughts when you are fasting (all the time of course, but especially when fasting).
Islam places a great emphasis on good behaviour. The Prophet (swt) said: “I have been sent for the purpose of perfecting good morals.”
Myth #3: You can’t even brush your teeth.
Please brush your teeth. *Sings Lady Leshurr...*
Many people avoid brushing their teeth during the day in Ramadan. This is a mistake, since there is no contradiction between observing the fast and brushing one's teeth. Moreover, Prophet Muhammed (saw) said: “Were it not for the hardship that I would be placing upon my people, I would have ordered them to engage in siwâk for every prayer.” - Sahîh al-Bukhârî
Myth #4: You have to fast.
You don’t have to fast if you’re elderly, sick, on long-term medication, traveling, intense hunger and thirst as well as for a woman when she is menstruating.
“And as for those who can fast with difficulty, they have (a choice either to fast or) to feed a Miskeen (poor person) (for every day)”
Myth #5: There is a set date and time it happens every year.
When it comes to Ramadan, Muslims like to be able to plan ahead though. Waiting until the evening before, to find out if the next day is the start of Ramadan (or Eid Al-Fitr), requires one to wait up until the last minute. In certain weather or locations, it may even be impossible to visibly sight the crescent moon, forcing people to rely upon other methods.
“Whoever recommends and helps a good cause becomes a partner therein, and whoever recommends and helps an evil cause shared in its burden.” – Chapter 4, Verse 85
*(swt= Glory to Him the Exalted & saw= peace be upon him)
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