• Published
  • By Mehmet Birbiri
  • 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Monday, more than one billion people of the world’s population will change their way of doing things overnight. This sis the first day of the Islamic month of fasting, called Ramazan (the Turkish version of Ramadan). Muslims will commemorate the revelation of God’s gift to humanity, the Holy Quran.

Muslims all over the world have been looking forward to this month of great spiritual and material blessings.

The religion of Islam is based on five principles:

  • Belief in one God and Prophet Mohammed as his messenger;
  • Prayer, five times daily;
  • Charity;
  • Fasting during the month of Ramazan; and
  • Pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime.

Ramazan is the ninth month on the Islamic lunar calendar which is 10-11 days shorter than the solar calendar. The months on the lunar calendar begin and end with the sighting of the new moon. Because of this, from year-to-year, Ramazan rotates throughout the four seasons and rotates throughout every month of the solar calendar.

This year Ramazan starts on Monday, March 11 and ends on Tuesday, April 9. The ending of Ramazan is celebrated with a three-day festival called Ramazan Bayrami (festival.)

Every Muslim should observe the fast of Ramazan, including military members. The fast starts daily from before sunrise to immediately after sunset. During daylight hours Muslims abstain from food, drink and intimacy between husband and wife.

After the sunset, they are permitted to break the fast of the day. However, they must not overeat, over drink or indulge in any self-gratifying activities as this can take away from the spirit of the fast.

Children, pregnant women soldiers at war, travelers and sick people are exempted from fasting.

The Ramazan fast is not just a fast of physical food, or a fast for spiritual benefits. It is a fast for the benefit of the total person physically, spiritually and mentally. While fasting, Muslims are conscious of the need to appreciate and respect both mankind and the outer world as a creation of God.

Things to avoid during the fast are the tendency to be spiritually idle or morally absent-minded, and the tendency to miss daily prayers with no acceptable excuse. The time a person normally spends watching television, listening to music or playing sports should be spent in prayer, contemplation and religious study. Muslims should read a portion of the Holy Quran each day so as to complete the reading over this 30-day fast period. The time spent in devotion will help keep a person in the spirit of the fast.


Tips for non-Muslims during Ramazan

  • Be tolerant, people fasting may get grouchy.
  • Do not eat or drink in front of a person fasting.
  • When dining in the community during daylight hours, don’t sit at tables near windows.
  • Do not consume alcohol in front of a person fasting.
  • Men and women should dress more conservatively—especially no shorts.