Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim، Islamic calendar، a religious annual observance and month of fasting that is considered to be one of the Five Pillars of Islam. During the month of Ramadan، adult Muslims fast from dusk until dawn، unless they are ill، pregnant، or diabetic، breastfeeding، or traveling.
This time spent fasting is meant to be used for prayer، charity، spirituality، and for purifying the mind and body. The actual beginning of Ramadan is determined by the sighting of the new moon، or astronomical calculations. Because of this، the actual date when Ramadan begins each year differs from year to year.
Interesting Ramadan Facts: It is believed that Muhammad received the first revelation during Ramadan. The beginning of Ramadan can move as many as 11 or 12 days each year. In Egypt، the clocks are pushed back to shorten the days and increase the night، when fasting is not required. During Ramadan، Muslim-majority countries often shorten work days to allow for additional prayer time each day. In Muslim countries the economy is impacted because of the fasting. It usually results in a month of inflation; prices go up. If a non-Muslim meets a Muslim during the month of Ramadan، the appropriate greeting for good wishes is "Ramadan Mubarak" which means "Have a blessed Ramadan." During Ramadan Muslims are obligated to give to charity through Sadaqa (voluntary giving)، or Zakat (mandatory giving). Children are not obligated to fast during Ramadan، not until they have reached puberty، but some practice in order to prepare for adult participation.
The Five Pillars of Islam include Sawm: Fasting during Ramadan، Hajj: a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their life، Zakat: giving to the poor، Salat: five-time daily prayer، facing Mecca، including absolution prior to prayer، Shalada: declaration of belief in one true God. The meal before the beginning of the fast is called suhoor، and the meal after sunset is called iftar. The first prayer of the day is called Fajr. Despite the exemptions to fasting during Ramadan such as illness، breastfeeding، or medical conditions، many Muslims will persist with fasting because of their spiritual needs. If one is not able to fast، but is able to in the future once their condition changes، they must still complete the fast. Muslims often break the daily fast with three dates and then a prayer called the Maghrib prayer. A meal follows which is often a buffet-style large meal.
During Ramadan Muslims are encouraged to read the Quran. In some countries it is a crime to ignore Ramadan and break the fast.
Although Ramadan has shown to have some health benefits to Muslims، it can also cause problems for patients with advanced kidney disease due to water restrictions.
Fasting can last longer each day for Muslims in in polar regions where daylight can last for up to 22 hours. At the end of Ramadan there is a large festival called Eid ul Fitr to celebrate the end of the fast. Eid ul Fitr is celebrated by wearing one's best clothes، giving gifts، having a large meal، and spending time with one's family. Muslims also use this time to ask for forgiveness for sins and to praise Allah (God).