What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is the ninth month in the Muslim lunar calendar. Healthy Muslim adults fast in Ramadan from dawn until dusk. During this month, Muslims ought to abstain from drinking, eating, immoral acts and anger. Other acts of worship such as prayer, reading the Quran and charity are also encouraged during Ramadan.
The Prophet Mohammed said, "When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained."
Muslims believe that during this month God revealed the first verses of the Quran, Islam's sacred text, to Mohammed, on a night known as "The Night of Power" (or Laylat al-Qadr in Arabic).
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.
It is common for mosques to host large iftars, especially for the poor and needy. Nightly prayers called Tarawih are also held in mosques after iftar.
Different cultures have different traditions during Ramadan, such as cooking a special dish, or eating iftar with the extended family. Islamic tenets, such as generosity, inspire most of these traditions, such as sharing food and inviting guests over for iftar.
Why do Muslims fast in Ramadan?
When is Ramadan?
Since Ramadan is a part of a lunar year, it annually changes on the Gregorian calendar. Muslims tend to wait for the new month's moon to appear before they announce the first day of Ramadan. However, they can still estimate the day beforehand. This year, Ramadan begun on May 27th
Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars, or duties, of Islam. There is also a verse in the Quran that prescribes fasting for all Muslims who are mature and healthy enough to fast for the full day, though there are special dispensations for those who are ill, pregnant or nursing, menstruating, or traveling, and for young children and the elderly. So, Muslims fast as an act of worship and a chance to get closer to God. Fasting is also considered as the way not only to become more compassionate to those in need, but also to learn patience and break bad habits.
Eid al-fitr or “Lebaran” in Indonesian, marks the end of Ramadan？
Each lunar month last 29 or 30 days, depending on when the new moon is sighted. If the moon is not seen on the night of the 29th, then Ramadan lasts for the full 30 days. The Eid al-fitr celebration or "the Festival of the Breaking of the Fast” or called as “Lebaran” marks the end of the month. At this time, Muslims celebrate a successful month of fasting and worship.
On the day of Eid, Muslims gather at mosques in the morning to perform the Eid prayer, before family gatherings and friend visit. Muslims share feasts and sweets to mark the end of the fasting period, and greet each other by saying "Eid Mubarak" - which roughly translates as "happy Eid" or "blessed Eid". It's kind of like the Muslim version of Christmas, in the sense that it's a religious holiday where everyone comes together for big meals with family and friends, exchanges presents, and generally enjoy a lovely time.
As Muslims mark the end of the month, they are reminded that Ramadan is a time to reflect spiritually, build communally, and aid those in need, While Eid al-fitr marks the end of Ramadan, it marks a new beginning for each individual, a reason to celebrate and express gratitude on this holiday.