Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar that holds great significance for Muslims worldwide. Being the holiest month for Muslims, Ramadan commemorates the time when the holy book, the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. Ramadan is a spiritual time for Muslims to reflect on and strengthen their relationship with Allah. The Exact time of Ramadan is determined through the sighting of the New Moon. Ramadan lasts for about 29 or 30 days and concludes with the celebration of Eid-al-Fitr.
During Ramadan, it is customary for Muslims to fast from sunrise to sunset by abstaining from food, drink, and other pleasurable desires. Fasting, also known as Sawm, is one of the five pillars of Islam and is intended to promote self-discipline, spiritual growth, and empathy by controlling human needs and desires.
During Ramadan, fasting is a way to purify the soul and strengthen the connection with Allah by improving ibadah (worship) and increasing dhikr (remembrance of God). Muslims also believe that during Ramadan, the dates to heaven are open while the gates to hellfire are closed. As said by Prophet Muhammad,
“Fasting is a shield. So the fasting person should avoid obscene speech and should not behave foolishly and ignorantly, and if somebody fights with him or insults him, he should tell him twice, ‘I am fasting.”
In this blog, we will highlight the significance of Ramadan in Islam:
Ashra (Parts) of Ramadan:
Ramadan lasts for 29 to 30 days depending on the moon sighting. The month is divided into three parts called Ashra.
- The First Ashra i.e. 1st to 10th day of Ramadan, reflects the Mercy of Allah (Rahmah). The first ten days of Ramadan month to seek mercy from Allah as humans believe that Allah’s mercy is boundless, and it is up to us to ask for His blessings and mercy to be showered upon us during this time. Therefore, humans should devote themselves to seeking Allah’s mercy and forgiveness during these days.
- The Second Ashra i.e. 11th to 20th day of Ramadan, reflects the forgiveness of Allah (Maghfirah). During these ten days of the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims seek forgiveness for all their sins by engaging in Astaghfaar. Astaghfaar involves feeling remorse for their actions, refraining from committing the same sins again, and making a conscious effort to avoid repeating them.
- The Third Ashra i.e. 21st to 29th or 30th day of Ramadan, reflects safety from the hellfire (Nijat). During this period, Muslims believe that they are safe from the fires of hell. This phase is particularly significant because it includes the Night of Power, also known as “Laylat al-Qadr.” Muslims try to make the most of this time by increasing their prayers and devotion.
Significance of Ramadan: Spiritual
Revelation of the Quran:Ramadan is the month during which the first verses of the Quran were revealed by the archangel Gabriel to the Prophet Muhammad. This event is termed “Laylat al-Qadr” or the “Night of Power” that occurred during the last ten nights of Ramadan.
Spiritual Reflection and Discipline:Fasting is one of the pillars of Islam i.e. Sawm. So, Muslims keep fast from sunrise to sunset by abstaining from food, drink, and other pleasurable desires during the holy month of Ramadan. Ramadan Fasting is intended to promote self-discipline, spiritual growth, and empathy by controlling human needs and desires. Hence, Ramadan highlights the importance of self-control and conscious living.
Community and Unity:Ramadan is a time for strengthening bonds and communal support. The shared experience of fasting, attending prayers, and breaking the fast during Iftar promotes a feeling of unity among individuals and families. Hence, Ramadan highlights the sense of community and unity among Muslims.
Increased Worship and DevotionDuring Ramadan, Muslims get engaged in additional prayers, recitation of the Quran, and acts of worship. This spiritual atmosphere is raised and thus, believers seek closeness to Allah with increased devotion and dedication.
Cleansing of the SoulFasting is a means of spiritual purification, ensuring Muslims reflect on their actions and seek forgiveness for their sins. Thus, Ramadan is highlighted as the time for purification and cleansing of the soul.
Eid al-fitr CelebrationThe month of Ramadan concludes with the celebration of Eid-al-Fitr i.e. “Festival of Breaking the fast”. Eid-al-Fitr is a time of joy, and gratitude and is celebrated with communal prayers, feasting, giving gifts, and acts of charity (Zakat).
Significance of Ramadan: Human Health
Detoxification of the Human Body:Ramadan Fasting offers a short break to the human digestive system from continuous eating and digestion. So, this period of fasting ensures the body detoxifies and cleanses itself. During this period, the accumulated toxins and metabolic waste products get eliminated from the body.
Weight Management:Ramadan fasting also contributes to weight management or potential weight loss because of the limited eating window, and abstaining from certain indulgences ensures humans regulate their caloric intake.
Blood Sugar Regulation:Ramadan Fasting implies positive effects on blood sugar levels in the human body. Thus, by abstaining from sugar intake and refined carbohydrates during fasting, humans experience more stable blood sugar levels.
Enhances Insulin Sensitivity:Ramadan Fasting improves insulin sensitivity as the body adapts to the fasting state which leads to better control of blood sugar levels, leading to decreased insulin resistance.
Hydration and Kidney Health:Ramadan fasting during daylight hours and abstaining from food and water, enhances the hydration needs of the human body and leads to better water consumption habits. Thus, adequate hydration is mandatory for kidney health
Ramadan lasts for about 29 or 30 days and concludes with the celebration of Eid-al-Fitr i.e. “Festival of Breaking the fast”. Eid-al-Fitr is a time of joy, renewal, charity, and gratitude.
Ramadan Fasting, also known as Sawm, is one of the five pillars of Islam and is intended to promote self-discipline, spiritual growth, and empathy by controlling human needs and desires. Ramadan fasting is a way to purify the soul and strengthen the connection with Allah by improving ibadah (worship) and increasing dhikr (remembrance of God).
Ramadan fasting is a way to purify the soul and strengthen the connection with Allah by improving ibadah (worship) and increasing dhikr (remembrance of God). Muslims also believe that during Ramadan, the dates to heaven are open while the gates to hellfire are closed.
The studies have highlighted that fasting during Ramadan can imply several health benefits to the human body. Some of the health benefits are improved eating habits, gastrointestinal health, regulation of blood sugar levels, improved lipid profile, enhanced insulin sensitivity, body detoxification, and weight management.