Muslims will begin observing the month of Ramadhan from July 20 or 21, depending on the sighting of the moon. During this period, Muslims fast, pray and engage in charity, among other things. JAMES CHIMPWEYA asked executive director of the Islamic Relief Agency (IRA) Sheikh Abdul Razzak Fattani to explain what Ramadham is all about.
What is Ramadhan?
Ramadhan is the name of the ninth month in the Islamic Calendar that God ordered all Muslims to fast for 30 days. It is also the third pillar in the Islamic religion. The word Ramdhan means fasting. During this month, all Muslims are supposed to go for compulsory fasting. It is also regarded as the Holy Month of Allah. The Quran says all Muslims, rich or poor, should fast. In Arabic, it is Saum, which means fasting. The fasting is supposed to start from dawn to sunset. The fasting should be observed regardless of oneâ€™s gender, as long as one is a Muslim.
How about those who are sick, old or are travelling?
In some circumstances, people who are sick are exempted because they donâ€™t have the energy, but if they are healed within the fasting period they have to join their friends. This also applies to those travelling that when they reach their destinations they have to fast. The other group is the aged. This category also does not fast because their bodies are weak so that they cannot stand and submit themselves before God. We also have another category, and that is the young ones (children). These should not fast but need to be encouraged by parents in order to be familiar with the religionâ€™s dos and donâ€™ts.
How does the fasting help the Muslims?
This fasting is the collection of unity in our religion because during this period all Muslims gather together, pray together and interact. All Muslims should feel the same pain in fasting and the rich are encouraged to make donations to the poor for them to have something for breaking the fast. This is why we have a lot of donations during the month of Ramadhan. During this period, most mosques are full, showing togetherness because people are devoted to prayer. In mosques, people receive some food items for breaking the fast like rice, sugar and bread. Those who receive such items include widows, the aged, orphans and the less privileged.
When is Ramadhan being observed this year?
We are expecting to start observing Ramadhan from July 20 or 21 depending on the sighting of the moon. During this period, there should be no provocations, no anger or vengeance, but have much time to pray, read the Holy Quran, observe peace, calm and order for the betterment of the country. We wish all Muslims in the country a fruitful Ramadhan.