By: Mariam Warsamee Ilham Ali

Ramadan begins at the start of the ninth month, of the Islamic lunar calendar. It is determined by the sighting of the crescent moon; there are actual moon-watching committees all around the world to make sure there aren’t any confusion on when the correct date is. Once the crescent moon is seen, the announcement of Ramadan is shared with all Muslims around the world through the news and radio.

Ramadan this year will be on May 17th.

Ramadan is the month where Muslims fast from sunrise to sundown. Ramadan is a holy month to Muslims; instead of going out to eat it is recommended that you eat at home with your family. Muslims are required to fast because it is one of the five pillars of Islam. Muslims must fast if they are mature and healthy for the full day. Muslims fast as an act to worship God, and as a chance to get closer to God. They also fast and to show sympathy to those in need, and they are required to give zakat (charity) to those who need it, if they are able.

The reason why Muslims fast is to achieve Taqwa. Taqwa is an Islamic term for being conscious and cognizant of Allah, of truth, of the rational reality, “piety, fear of God.” It is often found in the Holy Quran.

During Ramadan, Muslims try to achieve the highest degree of obedience by abstaining from food, drink, and sexual relations while fasting from sunrise to sundown. This discipline is a spiritual and moral improvement. According to beliefnet.com, “ It is also by means of fasting that those who never have to hunger or thirst are (to some extent) made personally aware of the plight of the underprivileged, which thus evokes a degree of social consciousness.”

It is through fasting that people become aware of how much they have, and become conscious that not everyone in this world gets three meals a day. They learn to appreciate all that God gave them.

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