Most Indians know Ramzan to be the holy month full of fasting and feasting. They have often rejoiced in the iftar foods made by their friends, but there’s a lot more going on here than just avoiding food and water from sunrise to sunset.
Every Muslim will experience Ramzan in each weather throughout their life
The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar and so, each month shifts by 11 or 12 days each year. Therefore, from the time a Muslim starts fasting, around puberty, to old age, they will experience a lot of variety. Some of the Ramzan would occur in the winter for them, some in the summer and some during monsoons. Summertime Ramzan is tougher due to the likelihood of dehydration.
This was the month when the Quran was revealed
Why is this month holy? According to Islamic records and the Quran, this was the month in which the Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad. Angel Gabriel came to him while he was meditating in Mount Hira and told him the first word of the Quran, which were “Iqra” (meaning “read”). The Quran was passed down as an oral tradition during the Prophet’s life, as messages from Allah whenever the need arose. It was penned down later on and organized into chapters.
Iceland has a 22 hour long fast this year!
Because of the fast lasting from sunrise to sunset, some places have really long fasts. This year, Iceland has a 22 hour fast because it has a 22 hour day. The clerics however believe that people living in these reasons need not fast for so long and can follow the fasting time of Makkah, the holy city. Therefore, they would be fasting for 15 – 16 hours. Interestingly though, countries like Australia which have only a 10 hour period between sunrise and sunset, can continue to observe the smaller hours.
Donation and empathy are big parts of Ramzan
The reason why food and water is abstained from is to understand the value of both these things. It is an exercise in empathy to understand the lives of the poor, the hungry and the needy. Therefore, donation or zakat is a big part of Ramzan. Those who have enough for their needs and have some surplus, are expected to give zakat amounting to a minimum of 2.5% of their wealth. While you need to calculate Zakat on your gold, it is not calculated on the house you are living in. However, if you have two houses, one you live in and the other is an investment, then you have to pay Zakat on the investment house.
Why do they eat dates?
Regardless of where in the world Muslims fast, dates are an important part of Ramzan. The question is, why? The health benefits of dates are vast. They contain natural sugars, are high in fibre, are excellent for digestion, high in countless vitamins and nutrients, and so much more! Therefore, along with fruits and water, it helps to make up for the lack of nutrition during the day.
Economic impact of Ramzan
In Muslim countries the economy is impacted because of the fasting. It usually results in a month of inflation; prices go up. The increased consumption of fruits, meat and juices tends to drive up the prices of these specific foods. Muslim-majority countries often shorten work days to allow for additional prayer time each day. This may affect the productive output of that country.
Ramzan ends with the festival of Eid-ul-Fitr.
Are there any Ramzan facts we missed out? Do let us know in the comments below.
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