Ramzan (or Ramadan) is a big-deal for Muslims. It’s that time of the year when every-one is at their pious best and strives to become a better person. And if you live in a country like India, everyone irrespective of their religion experiences this month in some form or the other.
Being a Muslim, I have observed that there are a few things about Ramzan some of my non-muslim friends have no clue about. If words like Zakat, Taraweeh, Sehri elude you and leave you confused, then congratulations! You’ve come to the right place to clear the fog and get some gyaan.
Here’s a list of some of the most frequently asked questions about Ramadan
Why do Muslims fast?
In Islam, fasting is one of the five main pillars of worship. In ramzan it is compulsory(farz) for all Muslims to fast.
So, does that mean every single Muslim has to fast?
According to the Quran, fasting during Ramadan is mandatory for every ‘able’ man, woman and child. ‘Able’ hear means that you are healthy enough to fast and strong enough to go through your daily routine while fasting.
How old do children have to be before they fast?
That depends on the capacity of the child. Usually, children start from the age of 12-14. But some start fasting as early as 9 years old.
How many hours per day do Muslims have to fast?
Technically, the period of fasting is from the break of dawn to sunset. So, the duration varies according to the season. It ranges from 10 hours in the winter months to 15 hours in the summertime(like this year!)
And why are my Muslim neighbors waking up at 4 in the morning?
Before sunrise, Muslims have some food to keep them going through the rest of the day. This meal is called as the ‘Sehri’ or ‘Suhoor’. It is not permissible to eat or drink anything after the break of dawn.
Not even water during the day?
Yes. Drinking even a single drop of water can invalidate one’s fast.
And what is Iftaar?
Iftaar is the breaking of one’s fast at the time of sunset. Muslims usually Eat dates (khajoor) or drink water to break their fast.
What else do they eat at Iftaar?
The menu varies from fruits and fried items to Haleem, juices and virtually any food item the mind can conjure and your wallet can buy. Although it is highly recommended to eat just fruits and dates and keep the iftaar light. It is quite common to find yourself attending iftar parties and eating to the teeth.
And what is taraweeh?
Taraweeh is a special namaz offered during ramzan. These are extra long when compared to the regular namaz prayers as a substantial portion of the Quran is recited in them. They can range from 1 hour long to even 3-4 hours in a few masjids.
Every Muslim with an income source (well, there are a few more technicalities that I’m skipping but yeah more or less) should donate 2.5% of their annual income to the poor. Zakat is also calculated on property, gold and other assets one might own. It is farz (compulsory) for every Muslim to calculate their share of zakaat and donate it to the poor.
I hope reading those 10 questions gave you some clarity about Ramzaan and what Muslims do in this month. If there are any more questions you’d like to ask feel free to drop them in the comments below, we’d be glad to be of service. Lastly, if you found this article helpful then share it among your friends and family and spread the gyaan!
Ramzan Mubarak to all and Assalam Walaikum!