The Living Yearbook of East Brunswick High School

Ramadan: The Basics

Not even water?

April 30, 2021

In simple words, Ramadan is the holiest month in the Islamic calendar. Muslims believe that in 610 AD, the angel Jibril (Gabriel) appeared to the Prophet Muhammad and revealed the Holy Book, or the Quran, to him. This revelation, called the Night of Power or Laylatul Qadr, is said to have occurred during the month of Ramadan. Laylatul Qadr is considered the holiest night of the entire Islamic year- many believe that prayers completed on this night are the most beneficial and will bring you the most blessings. Ramadan is a time for Muslims to build a closer relationship with God (Allah) and ask for forgiveness. According to Islamic belief, Ramadan is a time in which Allah opens the door to Paradise and chains up Shaytaan (the devil).

Islam follows the lunar calendar, in which each month lasts for a lunar cycle. Because of this, Ramadan starts about 11 days earlier each year. In fact, in 2030, there will be two Ramadans in one year!  For different sects of Islam, the lunar calendar may differ by 1 or 2 days. For example, I am a Shia Muslim and started fasting a day earlier than Sunni Muslims.

In general, as a way to commemorate the revelation of the Quran, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset for the full month of Ramadan. Fasting is one of the fundamental principles of Islam. For Muslims, fasting includes not only refraining from eating, but also refraining from drinking anything or taking medicine orally. No– not even water is allowed. Other things that allow you to break your fast include (but are not limited to): intentional vomiting, menstruation, and losing large amounts of blood.
Muslims who are pregnant, menstruating, or have other health issues are not required to fast, but missed fasts should be made up before the next Ramadan.

If you want to wish your Muslim friends a happy Ramadan, say Ramadan Mubarak or Ramadan Kareem!

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