Ramadan is celebrated for an entire month. It is observed on the ninth month of the Islam calendar. Muslims during the month of Ramadan would fast from sunset to sunrise to worship and reflect. Ramadan is an important time for Muslims all over the world. They believed the month is also a time when the holy Quran was given to guide men towards salvation.
The month of Ramadan is a time for fasting for Muslims. This month is called the fast of Ramadan. The Muslims fast to worship and ponder on their lives. Their everyday lives are also restricted. They are not allowed to drink or east from sunrise to sunset. Sex and smoking are also banned.
In the evening, they can have a meal and this is called iftar. The prayer is broken with iftar and they can visit family and friends. They will resume the fast the next day after the suhoor, the meal before sunset. By the way, they can eat and drink several times during the night but never during daylight hours.
According to the teachings of the holy Quran there are five things that could destroy the good acquired through fasting and these are:
- Gossiping or judging someone behind their back
- Covetousness or greed
- False oath
Doing any of the five things is not good since they are most offensive in the month of Ramadan.
In the holy month of Ramadan many Muslims also go to the mosque to pray and study the holy Quran for several hours. The prayer is an addition to the daily five prayers that muslims recite during Ramadan. Taraweeh prayer or night prayer is a special prayer recited during the fast of Ramadan and much longer than the daily prayers.
Furthermore, Muslims celebrate on the 27th day of the month of Ramadan. They celebrate the night of power or Laylat-al-Qadr. The muslims believed that on this night the prophet Muhammad received the first revelation of the Quran.
Ramadan end on the first day of shawwal. They celebrate the end of Ramadan for three days, and the holiday is called the Feast of Fast Breaking or Eid-al-Fitar. There are exchanging of gifts between family and friends. They also gather in congregation to pray and eat together.
The rules of Ramadan are simple, do not eat during daylight hours and pray. Muslims can only eat during the iftar and suhoor. For iftar, they eat healthy foods to break the fast. The most popular iftar food is dates, soup and pasta. The body needs energy and since the iftar food eaten from sunset to breakfast, the food must be a good source of glucose. And juices and dates are high in sugars. They can immediately bring to normal the low count of glucose in the body. Soup also helps maintain the mineral and water balance in the body.
When it comes to the pre-dawn meal or sahur, there is no need to consume a lot. Most of the time, Muslims eat a light meal one hour before dawn. Their diet is balanced to sustain a person fasting. Examples of health foods for sahur are whole wheat bread or whole wheat cereal, 2 two cups of milk and 2-3 teaspoon of olive oil.
For dinner, the best foods to consume during the month of Ramadan are beef, chicken, lamb, fish and goat about 1-2 serving size. Chickpea, green pea, black gram, green gram, lima bean and lentil are also healthy and provide a balanced meal. Beans and meats provide the necessary minerals, protein and other essential vitamins. Cottage cheese or yogurt, buttermilk or milk about one cup could sustain the calcium and protein needs of the body to function properly. Fruits are also popular during Ramadan to maintain proper digestion. Eat 1 to 2 servings of fruits for they are a good source of fiber. Fruits are best eaten as snacks and before sleeping.
If there are good foods for fasting, there are also foods and drinks, you need to avoid. Spicy foods, coffee, carbonated drinks and foods high in sugar should also be avoided. In fact, three days before fasting caffeine must be avoided. The sudden decrease in coffee intake sometime causes mood swings, irritability and headache. The symptom is called caffeine withdrawal. In summary, it is crucial to have a balanced diet before and during Ramadan to stay healthy and active.
Ramadan food to try are sambousa, these are delicious deep fried pastries stuffed with cheese or spiced meat.
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The end of Ramadan calls for a celebration and this is called eid-ul-fitar. The people celebrate the end of Ramadan with excitement and dedication. Muslims all over the world would celebrate the holiday by buying new clothes and visiting mosques to hear the eid prayers. They also exchanged greetings so sending a loved one’s a special greeting online or snail mail is necessary.
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Eid-ul-fitar is celebrated for three days. The women will dress in new clothes, get a henna tattoo on their hands and prepare tradition dishes. There are many popular dishes that you can serve for Ramadan and eid-ul-fitar celebration.