The month of Ramadan is considered the most important time of the year for Muslims. If we see this holy month historically, the Holy Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammed in the month of Ramadan. The Holy Quran is a holy book for Muslims as a source of guidance for all of humanity. Ramadan is the month of fasting, reflection, offerings, devotion and sacrifice.
Night of Predestination (Laylat al-Qadr)
The word “al-Qadr” is often translated as “power.” Although the “greatness” option can be considered more successful, since Allah says in the Quran that this night, which He called “the night of al-Qadr,” is more majestic than a thousand nights. Just think about it! Thousand nights – more than eighty three years! It’s a lifetime! On this night, the Holy Quran was first sent down to the Prophet Muhammad, (SAW). Lord says:
“Verily, We sent down (the Quran) on the night of predestination (greatness). How could you know what a night of predestination (greatness) is? The night of predestination (greatness) is better than a thousand months. On this night, the angels and the Spirit (Jibril) descend with the permission of their Lord according to all His commands. Peace until the rising of the dawn. “(Quran 97: 1-5)
The Night of Predestination is the great gift of the Lord to mankind. However, Muslims do not know the exact date of this night. Someone from the Companions of the Prophet (SAW), conveyed that this is the twenty-seventh night of Ramadan, but the rest of the Companions (which are more) call completely different dates during the last third of the Holy Month. In his Hadith, the Messenger of Allah advises to point to any of the odd date the 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th and 29th nights of Ramadan in eager worship, hoping that this is the Night of Predestination. Some Muslims devote whole night to worship. However, it is better not to neglect to sleep, and to rest at least a third of the night, because the prophet (SAW), and his Companions did so.
In some Islamic countries, the 27th of Ramadan is a day off when people can rest after a night of worship. Schools are closed from the 27th of Ramadan to the 2nd Sha’wal (5-6 days) to unite Laylat al-Qadr and ʻEd al-Fitr (Holiday of breaking the fast in honor of the end of the fast).
Itekaf or Solitude
The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) spent the last ten days and nights in a mosque. Following the example of the Messenger of Allah — solitude in the nearest mosque — is considered worship. While remaining in the mosque, Muslims dedicate themselves to the remembrance of the Allah: performing additional prayers, reading the Holy Quran, studying the Hadiths (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and calling each other to be pious through the worship of the Allah and His Messenger. Muslims who intend to retire are not allowed to leave the mosque, unless necessary. They sleep and enjoy the amenities available in the mosque.
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Food for the retreated prepare either relatives or someone from the Muslims. The term of solitude ends with the end of the month of Ramadan. Busy people may spend a shorter time in solitude – a day or a few days.
Any material assistance rendered to the poor, the needy and those who ask for it is called a Sadaqat. Sadaqat al-Fitr, which is also known as Zakat al-Fitr, is a compulsory alms given to the poor before the beginning of the celebration of the end of Ramadan, so that they can prepare for the feast. The head of the family is obliged to pay zakat al-fitr for each member of his family. The size of zakat is 2-2.5 kg of common food (for example, rice).
The end of Ramadan is celebrated on the first day of the tenth lunar month of Shawal. On the 29th night, people take to the streets to make sure at the beginning of the tenth month, looking at the new moon on the western horizon. If the moon sickle does not appear, Ramadan is extended for another day.
On the morning of the holiday, Muslims take a full bath, have breakfast, put on the best clothes, use incense (men only) and go to where they gather for a holiday prayer. On the way, a Muslim repeats takbir: “Allah is great, there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah, and all praise is to Him.” Muslims say takbir at home, on the street and in the place of the collective prayer in anticipation of the leader of the prayer – the imam. According to the tradition of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, the festive prayer was performed under the open sky. And today, Muslims are trying to maintain this custom: in Islamic countries with a warm climate, special areas for festive prayers are organized.
At the appointed time, the imam performs a prayer, followed by a festive sermon. After that, people greet, embrace each other and congratulate on the successful completion of Ramadan, and also ask the Almighty to accept their fast and efforts to obey Him.
On a holiday, Muslims visit each other, give gifts; in some countries, on this day, it is customary to go outdoors. In essence, ʻEid is the day of thanksgiving to Allah, gathering family and loved ones.
Umrah or small hajj in the month of Ramadan
In the message from the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, comes that, Umrah performing in the month of Ramadan, is equated with the basic or complete Hajj. Hajj is a pilgrimage to Mecca, a reminder of the trials and tribulations of the Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) (peace and blessings be upon him), his wife Hajjar (Hagar) and elder son Ishmael. Unlike Hajj, which lasts five days, Umrah takes only a few hours. This is only a small part of the hajj. At the end of the umrah you can stab the sacrificial animal. A small pilgrimage is made at any time of the year, however, according to the prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, the best time for this is the holy month of Ramadan.