Ramadhan is the ninth month of the Islamic calender, which is based on the orbiting of the moon (lunar calender) than on the orbiting of the earth (solar calender). Ramadhan is the month in which every single day is a day of fasting.
Fasting is an act of pure submission to God’s command. Fasting has many benefits, but its true significant is to develop a sense of complete obedience to the One who created us and gave us our physical and spiritual needs and the means to fulfill these needs. While many benefits come to us through fasting. The primary benefits is that we learn self-restraint, discipline of our appetites, and flexibility of our habits. Over indulgence in eating, drinking, smoking or marital relations makes one the slave of his desires and habits. Through fasting those who are well-off learn to appreciate the afflictions of the poor-hunger and thirst and become more sympathetic toward them.
Some benefits to a person’s health also result from fasting, such as the elimination of fatty substances from the blood, a decrease in the harmful activity of intestinal microbes and of uric acid, and so on.
Ramadhan is very special for moslems for there is a Night of Power (lailat-ul-qadr). It is the night in which Prophet Muhammad first received the Divine message through the agency of the Angel Gabriel. It is not known exactly which night of Ramadhan is the Night of Power, but according to Hadith, it is one of the odd-numbered nights of the last ten days of Ramadhan. Qur’an said about this night in surah 97 verses 1 – 5.
The period of keeping fast is from before dawn until sunset. During this period, one may not eat, drink, or smoke and married people in addition may not have marital relation. However, there are people who are exempt from fasting :
1. Sick peole whose health is likely to be severely affected by the observance of fasting. They may postpone the fast as long as they are sick and make up for it later, a day for a day.
2. People who are travelling. They are to make up later, the days which were missed.
3. Pregnant women and nursing mothers, They must make up for it later, a day for a day or pay “fidyah”.
4. Women during the period of menstruation or confinement after childbirth. They must make up for it later, a day for a day.
5. Men and women who are too old and feeble to undertake the obligation and to bear its hardship, if they can afford it, they must pay “fidyah”.
6. Children under the age of puberty, however, it is good to encourage them to fast for example a half day.
7. Insane people
Since Ramadhan is a month of spiritual discipline, it is recommended to fill the days by reading Qur’an, giving charity and restraining the temper. It is a customary to take meal during the night, before dawn begins to break. This meal is called “suhoor”. It is also customary to break one’s fast as soon as the sun has set with a light snack. This breaking of the fast is called “iftar”. It is suggested not to overeat in order to compensate for the period of fasting.
After Ramadhan has ended, Eid-ul-fitr – the festival of fast breaking – takes place on the first day of shawwal. Eid is a day of thanks-giving and rejoicing for the fullfillment of the obligation of fasting according to God’s command. In the morning, at some time after sunrise and before midday, a special congregational prayer is offered.
Source : Bu Maryam PQEC when in around 2010 year