1. THE MEANING OF RAMADAN:
There are as many meanings of Ramadan as there are Muslims.
The third pillar or religious obligation of Islam , fasting, has many special benefits. Among these, the most important is that it is a means of learning self-control.
Due to the lack of preoccupation with the satisfaction of bodily appetites during the daylight hours of fasting, a measure of ascendancy is given to one's spiritual nature, which becomes a means of coming closer to God.
Ramadan is also a time of intensive worship, reading of the Quran, giving charity, purifying one's behavior, and doing good deeds.
For Muslims (Submitters), Ramadan is an opportunity to gain by giving up, to prosper by going without and to grow stronger by enduring weakness.
As a secondary goal, fasting is a way of experiencing hunger and developing sympathy for the less fortunate, and learning thankfulness and appreciation for all of God's bounties.
Fasting is also beneficial to the health and provides a break in the cycle of rigid habits or overindulgence.
2.WHO FASTS IN RAMADAN?
Fasting in Ramadan is obligatory on those who can do it. Sick people and some travelers in certain conditions are exempted from the fast but must make it up as they are able.
3. TIME FOR FASTING: (From Dawn to Sunset)
The daily period of fasting starts at the breaking of dawn and ends at the setting of the sun. In between -- that is, during the dawn and daylight hours -- Muslims (Submitters) totally abstain from food, drink, smoking, and sex.
The usual practice is to have a pre-fast meal (suhoor) before dawn and a post-fast meal (iftar) after sunset.
The Islamic lunar calendar, being 11 to 12 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar, migrates throughout the seasons. Thus, if Ramadan begins on January 20 one year, next year it will begin on January 9.
In this way, the length of the day, and thus the fasting period, varies in length from place to place over the years.
Every Muslim, no matter where he or she lives, will see an average Ramadan day of the approximately 13.5 hours.
4. QURAN VERSES ABOUT FASTING
[2:183] O you who believe, fasting is decreed for you, as it was decreed for those before you, that you may attain salvation.
2:183-187 Like all duties in Submission, fasting was decreed through Abraham
(22:78) Prior to revelation of the Quran, sexual intercourse was prohibited throughout the fasting period. This rule is modified in 2:187 to allow intercourse during the nights of Ramadan.
[2:184] Specific days (are designated for fasting); if one is ill or traveling, an equal number of other days may be substituted.
Those who can fast, but with great difficulty, may substitute feeding one poor person for each day of breaking the fast.
If one volunteers (more righteous works), it is better. But fasting is the best for you, if you only knew.
[2:185] Ramadan is the month during which the Qur'an was revealed, providing guidance for the people, clear teachings, and the statute book.
Those of you who witness this month shall fast therein. Those who are ill or traveling may substitute the same number of other days.
GOD wishes for you convenience, not hardship, that you may fulfill your obligations, and to glorify GOD for guiding you, and to express your appreciation.
[2:186] When My servants ask you about Me, I am always near. I answer their prayers when they pray to Me. The people shall respond to Me and believe in Me, in order to be guided.
[2:187] Permitted for you is sexual intercourse with your wives during the nights of fasting. They are the keepers of your secrets, and you are the keepers of their secrets.
GOD knew that you used to betray your souls, and He has redeemed you, and has pardoned you.
Henceforth, you may have intercourse with them, seeking what GOD has permitted for you. You may eat and drink until the white thread of light becomes distinguishable from the dark thread of night at dawn.
Then, you shall fast until sunset. Sexual intercourse is prohibited if you decide to retreat to the Masjid (during the last ten days of Ramadan).
These are GOD's laws; you shall not transgress them. GOD thus clarifies His revelations for the people, that they may attain salvation.
5. DEVOTION TO GOD
The last ten days of Ramadan are a time of special spiritual power as everyone tries to come closer to God through devotions and good deeds.
The night on which the Quran was revealed to the Prophet, known as the Night of Power (Lailat ul-Qadr), is generally taken to be the 27th night of the month.
The Quran states that this night is better than a thousand months. Therefore many Muslims (Submitters) spend the entire night in prayer. During the month, Muslims (Submitters) try to read as much of the Quran as they can. Some spend part of their day listening to the recitation of the Quran in a mosque. meet for Quranic studies or for congregation prayers.
Some spend the last ten days of Ramadan in a mosque devoting the whole ten days for worshipping God.
6. BETTER THAN A 1000 MONTHS
[97:1] We revealed it (Quran) in the Night of Destiny.
[97:2] How awesome is the Night of Destiny!
[97:3] The Night of Destiny is better than a thousand months.
[97:4] The angels and the Spirit descend therein, by their Lord's leave, to carry out every command.
[97:5] Peaceful it is until the advent of the dawn.
7.FOODS IN RAMADAN
Since Ramadan is a special time, Muslims (Submitters) in many parts of the world prepare certain favorite foods during this month. Since Ramadan emphasizes community aspects and since everyone eats dinner at the same time, Muslims often invite one another to share in the Ramadan evening meal.
Some Muslims (Submitters) find that they eat less for dinner during Ramadan than at other times due to stomach contraction.
However, as a rule, most Muslims experience little fatigue during the day since the body becomes used to the altered routine during the first week of Ramadan.