Photo Credit: Angelin Thipahar, Illustrations Editor
An overview of why and how Muslims will celebrate in April
Hamna Ashfaq, The Mike Contributor
Ramadan is fast approaching at the start of April this year. It’s a pretty well-known event around the world and a highly celebrated and practiced month for all Muslims. April has a very pivotal role in Muslim beliefs and Ramadan is hence practiced to a high degree. In the GTA, you may have seen Ramadan Sales in stores like Walmart, and/or other grocery stores and shops. You may have also heard some things from your Muslim peers and colleagues, but what is Ramadan? Here is a small overview of this extremely rich and popular event that lasts 30 days!
As per the religion of Islam, the month of Ramadan is the ninth month in the lunar calendar, or the Hijri calendar. During this month, Muslims observe fasting, praying, and giving back to the community. The reason for this importance is because of the historical context and events that took place in this month, and because fasting is one of the five main pillars of Islam.
The Quran (Islamic Scripture) – believed to be sent from God (Allah) to Prophet Muhammad – was revealed this month. It was in this month that the highest esteemed book for Muslims – the Divine words – were given to humans.
It is believed that the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven to meet God and the past Prophets, as he travelled through the skies to heaven. This was when the prayers and some other foundational prospects of the religion were founded.
The reason why Muslims fast the whole duration of this month – 30 days – is to give back. It is in the act of charity that they perform fasting – to feel the pain of the less privileged and to feel the hunger that the past survivors felt in times of trial – all that led to the prosperity of today. Muslims fast from dawn to dusk and refrain from any sort of substance through the whole day (even water!).
Some of the ideologies behind the practice of this month are to meditate on one’s life, to end the year with only the best habits, and refrain from all negativity and bad habits. To understand one’s inner self and practice self-control, get spiritual awakening, and be humble.
The end of the month comes with a huge party (quite literally)! After fasting and enduring self-control for a month-long period, Muslims get to celebrate their hard work through a three day-long celebration called Eid ul-Fitr (The Feast of Fast Breaking). A final and much-loved installment to this month is this three day party time in which Muslims celebrate by coming together and being grateful for their blessing. The day consists of gift-giving, sweets, and spending time with loved ones.
Many around the world await the arrival of this auspicious month! Now you hopefully understand more about how and why Muslims celebrate this month.