Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic Calendar (the Hijri calendar). The dates of events and religious festivals throughout the year are dependent on the sighting of the moon.
Ramadan is observed to uphold Sawm, the fourth pillar of Islam. Sawm means ‘to fast’ and is important in teaching Muslims how to practice self-control and dedication, as well as humility. Fasting during this month from sunrise to sunset makes us humble and shows us the daily struggles of many impoverished and needy people around the world.
Ramadan is a very virtuous month, as seen in the hadith: “Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) said: ‘When Ramadan comes, the gates of Paradise are opened, the gates of Hell are closed, and the devils are chained.’ (Sahih Al-Bukhari and Muslim)”
When Is Ramadan 2023?
In 2023, Ramadan will begin on 22 March, pending the sighting of the moon.
Who Fasts During Ramadan?
Anyone who is ‘Baligh’, someone who has reached puberty, must fast during Ramadan. For girls, this is usually between the ages of nine and 15, while boys reach puberty aged around 12 to 15. To be eligible for fasting, a person must be healthy, as ill people are excused from fasting.
If you are on medication or travelling, you do not have to fast. In addition, young children and the elderly do not have to fast, and neither do menstruating women, pregnant women, or breastfeeding mothers.
For those who cannot fast, they must make up the fasts at a later time when they are able to or pay Fidya if they cannot make up these missed fasts. If anyone purposely breaks a fast, they must fast for 60 consecutive days or pay Kaffarah. Kaffarah is a higher amount than Fidya.
The Islamic Calendar
There are 12 months in the Islamic calendar; Muharram, Safar, Rabi-Al Awwal, Rabi-Al Thani, Jumada-Al Awwal, Jumada-Al Thani, Rajab, Shaaban, Ramadan, Shawwal, Dhul Qadah and Dhul Hijjah. Each month has importance behind it due to the events that have taken place in such.
It is currently the year 1444 AH (after Hijrah), and on the 1st of Muharram (19 July 2023), the new Islamic year , 1445, will begin.
Laylatul Qadr translates to the Night of Power, and the night of Laylatul Qadr is expected to fall on any of the last 10 days of Ramadan, although some Muslims think it falls on the 27th night. It falls on an odd night, but due to differences in when Muslims around the world start Ramadan, most Muslims use the last 10 days and nights to increase prayer, worship, and ask Allah (SWT) for forgiveness, as it is not certain when this night will be.
Laylatul Qadr marks the date that Allah (SWT) revealed the Qur’an to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) through Angel Jibreel.
The End of Ramadan
The holy month of Ramadan concludes with the sighting of the new moon, which signals the beginning of the month of Shawwal. On the 1st of Shawwal, Eid Al-Fitr is celebrated.
What To Do in Ramadan
During Ramadan, Muslims should observe the compulsory fasts throughout the month, as well as give charity, seek Allah’s (SWT) forgiveness, spend time with loved ones and help their communities.
This Ramadan, you can donate to Orphans in Need to reap the rewards of this month. With your donations, Orphans in Need can support the needy around the world, including widows and orphans. Sponsor an orphan with Orphans in Need to follow the Sunnah of the Pophet (PBUH).
‘The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “the one who cares for an orphan and myself will be together in paradise like this” and he held his two fingers together to illustrate’ (Bukhari).