Every year Ramadan begins with a lot of questions from my friends and colleagues. I told my colleague (name not identified due to privacy reasons 😉) that the start of Ramadan is determined by sighting of the new moon. She asked if anyone who fasts needs to sight the moon, I told her that if anyone in Muslim community sights the moon, then Ramadan is announced, and she goes “oh! What if a person is hallucinating and says he saw the moon?? So, I thought will write a little bit about Ramadan to resolve the mystery.
Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “Whenever you sight the new moon (of the month of Ramadan) observe fast”.
Many places still depend on someone seeing the new moon with the naked eye. As a result, Ramadan’s start can vary from place to place because of weather conditions and other factors that affect how easily the moon is seen. Some of us rely on technological advancement in predicting the birth of new moon, but whatever the personal choice, we all agree that Ramadan begins with a new moon. An evidence of a sane, mature, honest and pious Muslim irrespective of male or female will suffice to prove the appearance, sighting of moon if the sky is over cast.
During Ramadan, observers are expected to abstain from food, drink and other pleasures from dawn to dusk. Removing these comforts from daily routine is intended to focus the mind on prayer, spirituality and charity and to purify the body and mind. Several different groups are excused from fasting during Ramadan; pregnant women, people who are mentally or physically ill, and sometimes women who are breastfeeding (they can decide for themselves if they feel fit to fast).
We break the fast when the evening call to prayer is made (or when the alarm goes off on Muslim prayer App). Every country has its own specialities and mostly the ‘mums’ show off their culinary skills to make food for ‘iftaar’ (the meal at the time of breaking fast). We break the fast with a date and some snacks (potato/chilli/chicken pakoras, chaat, samosas, damn I am fasting have to stop) followed by a dinner. Then it’s off to bed for a few hours of sleep before it’s time to wake up and start all over again (Sehri/suhoor – the meal before the morning prayer).
What if you look at somebody’s food? LoL! So, nothing happens by just looking at it, and to my friends who are not fasting, it is NOT okay if you want to eat your juicy kebab in front of me when I am fasting!
So, it’s a complete fast? Not even water? Yup! Not even water. Only sweet oxygen till we break the fast.
Do you stuff yourself with food after sunset? Totally depends! Some people indulge to the point of not being able to leave the couch (guilty as charged), while others will try to eat balanced meals full of nutrients.
At the end of Ramadan there is a big three-day celebration called Eid al-Fitr, or the Festival of the Breaking of the Fast. It’s kind of like the Muslim version of Christmas, in the sense that it’s a religious holiday where everyone comes together for big meals with family and friends, exchanges present (hint for Teffany), and generally have a lovely time.
Ramadan Kareem everyone!
P.S I’ll be breaking my fast with my family on two working days, therefore the office will be open from 12:00pm till 4pm on Friday May 25th and June 8th, 2018). Please make your inquiries before 4pm.