Ramadan Information Guide.
::The Meaning of Ramadan::
Ramadan is a special month of the year for over one billion Muslims throughout the world. It is a time for inner reflection, devotion to God, and self-control. Muslims think of it as a kind of tune-up for their spiritual lives. There are as many meanings of Ramadan as there are Muslims. The third "pillar" or religious obligation of Islam (submission in English), fasting has many special benefits. Among these, the most important is that it is a means of learning self-control. Due to the lack of preoccupation with the satisfaction of bodily appetites during the daylight hours of fasting, a measure of ascendancy is given to one's spiritual nature, which becomes a means of coming closer to God. Ramadan is also a time of intensive worship, reading of the Quran, giving charity, purifying one's behavior, and doing good deeds. For Muslims (Submitters), Ramadan is an opportunity to gain by giving up, to prosper by going without and to grow stronger by enduring weakness. As a secondary goal, fasting is a way of experiencing hunger and developing sympathy for the less fortunate, and learning to thankfulness and appreciation for all of God's bounties. Fasting is also beneficial to the health and provides a break in the cycle of rigid habits or overindulgence.
::Who Fasts in Ramadan?::
Fasting in Ramadan is obligatory on those who can do it. . Sick people and some travelers in certain conditions are exempted from the fast but must make it up as they are able.
::From Dawn to Sunset::
The daily period of fasting starts at the breaking of dawn and ends at the setting of the sun. In between -- that is, during the dawn and daylight hours -- Muslims (Submitters) totally abstain from food, drink, smoking, and sex. The usual practice is to have a pre-fast meal (suhoor) before dawn and a post-fast meal (iftar) after sunset. The Islamic lunar calendar, being 11 to 12 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar, migrates throughout the seasons. Thus, if Ramadan begins on August 20 in one year, next year it will begin on August 9. In this way, the length of the day, and thus the fasting period, varies in length from place to place over the years. Every Muslim, no matter where he or she lives, will see an average Ramadan day of the approximately 13.5 hours.
::Quran Verses about Ramadan & Fasting::
[2:185] "Ramadan is the month during which the Quran was revealed, providing guidance for the people, clear teachings, and the statute book. Those of you who witness this month shall fast therein. Those who are ill or traveling may substitute the same number of other days. GOD wishes for you convenience, not hardship, that you may fulfill your obligations, and to glorify GOD for guiding you, and to express your appreciation."
[2:183] O you who believe, fasting is decreed for you, as it was decreed for those before you, that you may attain salvation.
2:183-187. Like all duties in Submission, fasting was decreed through Abraham(22:78). Prior to revelation of the Quran, sexual intercourse was prohibited throughout the fasting period. This rule is modified in 2:187 to allow intercourse during the nights of Ramadan.
[2:184] Specific days (are designated for fasting); if one is ill or traveling, an equal number of other days may be substituted. Those who can fast, but with great difficulty, may substitute feeding one poor person for each day of breaking the fast. If one volunteers (more righteous works), it is better. But fasting is the best for you, if you only knew. [2:185] Ramadan is the month during which the Quran was revealed, providing guidance for the people, clear teachings, and the statute book. Those of you who witness this month shall fast therein. Those who are ill or traveling may substitute the same number of other days. GOD wishes for you convenience, not hardship, that you may fulfill your obligations, and to glorify GOD for guiding you, and to express your appreciation.
[2:186] When My servants ask you about Me, I am always near. I answer their prayers when they pray to Me. The people shall respond to Me and believe in Me, in order to be guided.
[2:187] Permitted for you is sexual intercourse with your wives during the nights of fasting. They are the keepers of your secrets, and you are the keepers of their secrets. GOD knew that you used to betray your souls, and He has redeemed you, and has pardoned you. Henceforth, you may have intercourse with them, seeking what GOD has permitted for you. You may eat and drink until the white thread of light becomes distinguishable from the dark thread of night at dawn. Then, you shall fast until sunset. Sexual intercourse is prohibited if you decide to retreat to the Masjid (during the last ten days of Ramadan). These are GOD's laws; you shall not transgress them. GOD thus clarifies His revelations for the people, that they may attain salvation.