What is Ramadan? Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim calendar, and the month when it is believed that the Holy Qur’an was sent by God to man. During that month, from dawn to dusk, observant Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, sex, smoking and anything that would distract from the observance of the faith.
When does Ramadan take place? The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, which means it has 354 days a year instead of 365. Since each month begins with a crescent moon, pinpointing the exact start of Ramadan is debated even among Muslims. This year it runs from August 1 through August 29. In 2012, it is estimated the holy month will last from July 20 through August 18.
Why fast during Ramadan? Muslims believe that fasting teaches patience, modesty, spirituality, and reminds followers of religious obligations. The absence of food and drink and other pleasures provides an opportunity to focus on prayer and reading the Qur’an.
What is Eid-ul Fitr? This is the celebration that comes at the end of Ramadan (the Festival of Fast-Breaking). It begins when the new moon is seen, around the 29th or 30th day of the fast. There is feasting and celebrations with family, as well as donations of food to the poor.
What Other Ways do Muslims Observe Ramadan? During Ramadan, many Muslims donate more to charities and help those in need within their communities. Beyond that, it is meant to be a time when people focus on becoming better people by refraining and resisting temptations of the physical body for the sake of the spiritual.