Insight – On the Eve of Ramadan… 8 Questions you might be embarrassed to ask!

March 4, 2024

Ramadan, the sacred month for Muslims, is observed by a significant portion of the world’s 1.9 billion Muslim population. Whether a friend, colleague, neighbour, or your child’s teacher are partaking in the celebrations, fasting, or engaging in unique activities during this holy period, it’s helpful to understand the basics.

We hope these points will answer some fundamental questions that people are embarrassed to ask about Ramadan:

  1. What is Ramadan about? Muslims believe that Ramadan is the month in which the first verses of the Quran were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad over 1,400 years ago. It is a time of fasting from dawn to sunset, focusing on spiritual discipline, prayer, charity, and Quranic study. Despite its seriousness, Ramadan is a joyous celebration, culminating in the three-day festival of Eid al-Fitr.
  2. How does fasting work? Fasting during Ramadan is a pillar of Islam. Muslims abstain from food, drink and other niceties, from dawn to sunset. This practice fosters humility, empathy for the less fortunate, and a clearer focus on one’s relationship with God.
  3. What is a typical day during Ramadan? During Ramadan, Muslims wake up well before dawn to eat the first meal of the day, which has to last until sunset. This means eating lots of high-protein foods and drinking as much water as possible right up until dawn, after which you won’t eat or drink anything.
  4. Do you lose weight during Ramadan? Despite the long fasting hours, Ramadan is notorious for potential weight gain due to eating large meals early and late with limited activity. While weight loss is possible, sustained results require consistent lifestyle changes.
  5. Why do the dates of Ramadan change every year? Ramadan follows the Islamic lunar calendar, causing it to move backward approximately 11 days each year compared to the Gregorian calendar. The variation in seasons affects fasting conditions globally.
  6. Why is there confusion about Ramadan’s start date? There’s a reason “Ramadan start date” is one of the most-searched phrases every single year. Muslims around the world do not know when exactly Ramadan is actually supposed to start as it is determined by a sighting of the crescent moon. If you Google it, you’ll see there’s a little disclaimer under Google’s answer that says “Dates may vary”.
  7. Differences between Sunni and Shia Muslims during Ramadan? Both Sunni and Shia Muslims observe Ramadan, with minor differences. Sunni break their fast at sunset, while Shia wait until total darkness. Shia commemorate Ali ibn Abi Talib’s martyrdom during three specific days in Ramadan.
  8. How to be respectful during Ramadan? While not mandatory, consider avoiding eating strongly scented food near fasting individuals. Be mindful of offering food, and schedule events with Muslim friends after sunset. Learn and use greetings like “Ramadan/Eid kareem” or “Ramadan/Eid mubarak” to show appreciation for their traditions.

Understanding and respecting the significance of Ramadan fosters a supportive and inclusive environment during this sacred time.

#RamadanInsights #TribeSearch #CulturalUnderstanding

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