More than one-and- a half billion celebrate Ramadan

  • Published
  • By Mr. Mehment Birbiri
  • 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

On Saturday, April 2, more than one-and-a-half billion of the world’s population will change their way of doing things overnight. It will be the work of God. The Islamic month of fasting, called Ramadan-Ramazan in Turkish, begins.

This is the month in which Muslims commemorate the revelation of God’s gift, the Holy Quran. This is a month of great spiritual and material blessings that Muslims all over the world look forward to.

The religion of Islam is based on five pillars:

  • Belief in one God and prophet Mohammad as his messenger
  • Prayer (five times daily)
  • Giving alms to poor and needy ones
  • Pilgrimage to Mecca, at least once in a lifetime, and
  • Fasting during the month of Ramadan.

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

This year, the month of Ramadan will begin with the sighting of the new moon on April 2. Every Muslim man, woman and child (who has reached puberty) should observe the fast of Ramadan.

The fast starts daily before sun rise and ends immediately after sunset. During daylight hours, while fasting, one is to abstain from food, drinks and intimacy between husband and wife. After sunset, Muslims are permitted to break the fast for the day. However, one is not to overeat, overdrink or overindulge any self-gratifying activities as this can take away from the spirit of the fast.

The Ramadan 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. Muslims fast for God’s pleasure. While fasting, the Muslims are conscious of the need to appreciate and respect both man and the outer world as creations of the Almighty God.

Fasting is among the disciplinary practices in Islam. The entire month, day and night hours, is given to forceful self-discipline. Among the things to avoid during the fast are the tendency to be spiritually idle or morally absentminded and the lazy tendency to miss daily prayers with no acceptable excuse. The time one usually spends watching television, listening to music, playing sports, etc., is spent in prayer, contemplation and religious study during this month.

Muslims should read 1/30 of the Holy Quran each day so as to complete the reading of the Quran over this 30-day fast period. The time spent in devotion to God helps keep one in tune with the spirit of the fast.

As guests, please see and practice the following tips for non-Muslims during Ramadan:

  • Be tolerant, people who are 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 the windows.
  • Do not consume alcohol in front of a person who is fasting.
  • Men and women should dress more conservatively - avoid wearing shorts.
  • While driving, drive defensively and be more careful. Sugar level of the fasting drivers drop and they can become more aggressive.