The holy month of Ramzan (RAMADAN) began in India today (Thursday) as the moon was sighted in several parts of the country last evening and it was announced by several top religious bodies on Muslims.
Interestingly perhaps for the first time Ramazan began in India along with Arab nations particularly Saudi Arabia where the holy month too started on Thursday May 17. Traditionally people in India observed Ramzan and Eid a day after celebration in Arab countries.
The Islamic world follows a lunar calendar, and the traditional moon-sighting methodology can lead to different countries declaring the start of Ramazan a day or two apart.
Roza or fasting from dawn to dusk is major attraction of the month of Ramazan. Roza iis one of the five pillars of Islam, along with: Tauheed, a Muslim’s declaration of faith in one Allah; Salah, the saying of prayers five times a day; Zakat, a religious obligation for all Muslims who meet the necessary criteria of wealth, which is considered a sort of tax or obligatory alms; and the Hajj pilgrimage.
In Ramazan, before the dawn prayer (Fajr), Muslims wake for a pre-dawn sahoor meal, their last food and drink before the start of fast, which helps them cope with the intense hunger and thirst during 15-hours with nothing to eat or drink in this searing heat. During fast Muslims abstain from all food and drink from dawn to dusk for the entire month, as a single sip of water, bite of food or a puff of a cigarette is enough to invalidate the fast.
Ramazan is known for the feasts ( Iftar party) as well as the fasting. During the night prayers, verses from the Qur’an are recited, and mosques remain full of worshipers for an extra hour or so after the regular night prayer (Ishaa), as they perform a voluntary congregational Ramadan prayer called Taraweeh.
Apart from fasting, Ramazan, the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, is considered holy for several other reasons too. In this month Qur’an was first revealed, and during this month the gates of heaven remain open while the gates of hell are closed and the devils chained up.