Understanding the Essence of Ramadan

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It is the month during which all Muslims around the world observe fasting from pre-dawn (Fajr Prayer) to the evening twilight (Maghreb prayers).

The term Ramadan is driven from the al-Ramd meaning burning heat of the sun. The most correct way to refer to the fasting period as the month of Ramadan instead of Ramadan only.

Significance of the Month of Ramadan

The month of Ramadan is the month in which the Holy Qur’an was revealed. It is narrated from Imam ar-Ridha: Verily, the month of Ramadan is a month in which the holy Qur’an was revealed. It was in this month that the Prophet Mohammad (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Salam) was conferred with Prophethood. The Night of al-Qadr which is better than one thousand months and therein every matter of ordainment is decreed is also found in the month of Ramadan.

Benefits of Ramadan

Ramadan is a period of fasting, reflection, devotion, generosity and sacrifice observed by Muslims around the world. The month of Ramadan is a time for inner reflection, self-discipline and self-improvement. Most non-Muslims wonder what Muslims benefit from fasting. The benefits of fasting are manifold. Fasting has personal, social, hygienic and at best spiritual benefits.

Fasting is obligatory in Islam. Every Muslim, both poor and the rich are expected to fast and show their gratitude towards Allah the Almighty. Although it has some social benefits, an important benefit of fasting is to gain self-restraint as stated in the Holy Qur’an.

Allah made fasting obligatory to bring equality between the poor and the rich, surely the rich will not feel the pain of hunger compared to the poor. He willed to create equal experiences between His servants by giving the rich a taste of the pain of hunger so they will become more lenient to the poor.

The punishment of not fasting

Imam As-Sadiq narrated that whoever Muslim does not fast during the Ramadan without any valid reason, has lost his spirit of faith. If one breaks his fast without any valid reason, then they must fast for sixty days or feed sixty poor people as a form of compensation.

It is also forbidden to break the fast with that which is Haram (Prohibited). Anyone who breaks their fasts by eating pork, drinking alcohol or by masturbating will have to fast for sixty days or feed sixty poor people to compensate for the day they wasted.

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