Ramadan is a time of great importance for Muslim families and communities around the world. Muslims observe the holy month of Ramadan by fasting, praying, reading the Quran or listening to the Audio Quran and giving out charity to the less privileged.
Even though Ramadan is an Islamic month, it garners curiosity from people of all faiths. There are also plenty of people who may not know much about Ramadan but want to learn and understand the true significance of it.
Did you know, Muslims account for just over 1% of the US population and thousands of them will be observing Ramadan in states across the country?
In this blog, we’ll give a brief overview of what Ramadan is, when it happens, how you can celebrate it with your loved ones, and what it means for the Muslim community.
We also want to explore what it’s like celebrating Ramadan in the US.
We’ll do this by answering a few of the common questions about Ramadan.
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is 30 days of fasting from pre-dawn, Suhoor time, till sunset, Iftar time.
Not all Muslims approach Ramadan in the same way but generally, it involves abstaining from things that are impure for the mind and body between sunrise and sunset. This includes food, drink and impure thoughts.
If you live in the US and know Muslims that are going to observe Ramadan this year you can say Ramadan Mubarak (Happy Ramadan) to them as a sign of support.
You may also hear other phrases and have questions, like what does Ramadan Kareem mean? It means having a generous Ramadan, and it is something you can say to Muslims observing Ramadan.
When is Ramadan?
Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar also known as the Hijri Calendar. Because the Islamic calendar is based around the lunar cycle the exact dates of Ramadan change by the same number of days every year.
Ramadan in 2024 (Ramadan 1445 according to the Hijri Calendar) will begin at sundown on Sunday, March 10 and end at sundown on Friday, April 09 in the US.
What is the history of Ramadan and why do Muslims observe it?
Ramadan is one of the most sacred months in the Islamic culture. It is a time for spiritual reflection and marks when a part of the Holy Qur’an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
When did Ramadan start in history?
Well, Ramadan was made obligatory (wajib) during the month of Sha'ban (8th Month), in the second year after the Muslims migrated from Makkah to Medina (624 AD). (BBC)
Why do Muslims fast during Ramadan?
Ramadan is about devotion to one’s faith and Allah. Fasting or Sawm is one of the Five Pillars of Islam so is giving out a portion of your charity known as Zakat.
Fasting is considered one of the highest forms of worship because a fasting Muslim abstains from earthly pleasures as an act of submission to Allah. Fasting is a way to atone for the sins and mistakes you’ve committed during the year.
During Ramadan, to accommodate fasting, many offices and schools in Muslim-majority countries shut early. Even in the US, if you’re not a practising Muslim, you may also notice Muslim friends and colleagues observe different habits and adopt different behaviours during Ramadan.
What else happens during Ramadan?
The first meal is typically eaten around 4.30 am known as Suhoor and fasting begins when the sun rises. This is also when Fajr, the first prayer of the day, is offered.
The second and third prayers are offered during early and late afternoon. At this stage of the day, one may begin to feel the pangs of hunger. And it is at this stage that Muslims should remember the reasons for fasting.
Sunset is when the fast can be broken, often with a meal of dates as recommended by the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH). The breaking of fast is known as Iftar after which the Maghrib prayer is offered. Muslims usually go to the mosque after dinner to offer the final prayer of the day: Isha.
The final act of the day for some Muslims is the special voluntary prayer called the Taraweeh, which is offered by the Imam of the mosque who recites the Qur’an. These rituals happen every day for the duration of Ramadan.
What happens at the end of Ramadan?
The end of Ramadan is a particularly significant time for Muslims. During the final ten days of Ramadan, Muslims observe Laylat Al Qadr, which is the holiest night of the year. It commemorates the night that the Quran was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad.
At this time Zakat donations, a form of obligatory charity, are made. Zakat means to cleanse and by making donations Muslims believe they and their wealth are purified and blessed.
The end of Ramadan is also when Eid al-Fitr - a time of feasting and gifts - is celebrated. On Eid-al-Fitr (also spelt as Eid ul Fitr), the appropriate greeting is Eid Mubarak.
What gifts can I give people to celebrate Eid al-Fitr?
While you might not be able to meet in person you can still celebrate Eid al-Fitr with your family and friends by sending gifts. Here are some ideas to:
- Buy a bespoke Eid present from My Islamic Decor or Noorah’s Gifts
- Send them a luxury Halal hamper
- Treat them to beautiful Eid floral gifts
- Or, if you’re not sure what to buy you can send money. It’s an easy and convenient option that enables your Muslim family and friends to buy things they want or need for themselves.
Support your Muslim family and friends
At Small World, we celebrate Ramadan with you!
We know how important the blessed month of Ramadan is for our Muslim friends and the best we can do is to be there for them when they need us the most.
Whether it’s sending money back home or transferring early Eidi - Small World helps you transfer smiles! You might not be able to travel to celebrate with your family back home, but your money can make the trip!
Whether you have family or friends in Bangladesh, Senegal or Pakistan, support your loved ones with a Ramadan gift by sending money to them.