It is that time of the year again, when Muslims around the world will fast from dawn to dusk and will involve in acts of worship and charity in order to come closer to God. Muslims are eagerly waiting to welcome Ramadan – the month in which the Quran is believed to have been revealed. This year the month begins on 27 or 28 May depending on the moon sighting in different countries.
To commemorate the holy month, IBTimes UK has compiled a list of top ten facts about Ramadan.
1: The ninth month of the Muslim Lunar calendar is called as Ramadan. It is believed that first verses of Islam's holy book, the Quran, were revealed to Prophet Muhammad on Laylat al-Qadr, or Night of Power, in 610 C.E., which is said to be more than 1,400 years ago.
2. The month lasts for 29 to 30 days during which devotees will fast from dawn to dusk. During the holy month, Muslims would wake up early to eat a pre-dawn meal called suhoor, and they break their fast with a meal referred to as iftar. They are not allowed to even sip a drop of water in between Sihoor and iftar.
3. While fasting is a mandatory for the healthy elders, children under the age of puberty, the old, the sick, pregnant and breastfeeding and menstruating women are exempted from fasting. Mentally unstable people are also barred from fasting during the holy month. Eating, drinking, smoking and having sexual relations are also prohibited during daylight hours.
4. Ramadan fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam. The four others are: faith, daily prayer, charity and the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.
5. As the Islamic lunar calendar (Hijri-Qamari calendar) year is 10 to 11 days shorter than the solar year, every year the first day of the holy month moves back 11 days. Hence the month starts 10/11 days earlier according to the Georgian calendar while it returns on the same day on the lunar one.
6. As fasting is tough due to scorching heat, the clocks are pushed back in Egypt to increase the dusk to dawn duration.
7. The first prayer of the day that starts in the morning during Ramadan is known as Fajr.
8. Charity is an important part of holy month. There are two types of charity known as Sadaqa (voluntary giving), or Zakat (mandatory giving).
9. Fasting durations differs in different countries around the world due to geographical barriers. The arctic region has the longest fasting duration, up to 22 hours.
10. During the month, Muslims greet each other with 'Ramadan Mubarak', which means have a blessed month of Ramadan.