The Festival of Ramzan or Ramadan is one of the most auspicious festivals in the Islamic Calendar and spans over the length of one month. The recent events taking into consideration the worldwide COVID 19 Pandemic has been expected to severely affect the celebration of Ramzan. Here is everything you need to know about the Muslim festival of lights.
Why is Ramadan Celebrated?
Legend says that it was in the month of Ramadan that the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed by Allah. Millions of Muslims across the world, fast for a period of 30 days. They abstain from consuming food, water or any sort of product until the sun sets. They strictly follow this fast to show their respect and faith in Allah. The holy month comes to show the unity and brotherhood of the followers of Islam all around the world.
The month also signifies the opening of Jannat or Heaven and closing of the gates of Hell. Incidentally while the gates of heaven may be open, the gates of the homes of the 1.8 billion Muslims across the world, will be closed. Muslims try to read the Quran as many times as possible to portray their devotion to God.
When is Ramadan Mubarak Celebrated?
Ramzan begins on the 9th month of the Islamic Calendar. Ramadan Mubarak 2020 will begin on 23rd April and go on till 23rd May.
The Islamic Calendar operates quite differently to the traditional Gregorian Calendar. The new year is marked by festival of Muharram and the first crescent of a new moon signifies the beginning of a new month.
Why is it Important to Fast During Ramadan?
The festival of Ramzan is commemorated by following 5 pillars of the Islamic Religion. The 5 pillars being sawm (fasting), salat (prayer), zakat (charity), undergoing the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca and shahadah(devotion). Liquor, Tobacco, sexual pleasures, are few of the many worldly pleasures that a Muslim is expected to sacrifice over the course of month of Ramadan.
The festival of Ramadan helps people re-unite with their purer and more devout self. Fasting is believed to be the best way to achieve this purity spiritually and physically. Muslims give up on the most common desire of man, food. According to Islam faith, this practice allows them to be closer to Allah and seek his blessing. Fasting also helps Muslims discover the pain and suffering of those who are less privileged.
This festival involves people practicing Ramadan ki Dua, praying for the wellbeing friends and family. Another key aspect of the festival the prayer for the benefit of the downtrodden, otherwise known as Ramadan ki Barkat. This symbolizes the salat and zakat practices of Ramzan as a person is involved in prayer and charity.
Adult and healthy Muslims are expected to follow the fast from dusk to dawn, by children and the elderly are usually exempted. People wake up before the sun rises and have a quick meal and some water to sustain them for the rest of the day. At night, when the sun sets, individuals practicing the fast have the iftar meal, signifying the break of the fast.
The Celebration of Eid-al-Fitr
The month of Ramzan ends with one of the largest festivals in the Islamic calendar, the Eid-al-Fitr or breaking of the fast. The fast is broken on this day with a massive celebration, exchanging of gifts and a gigantic feast.
The legend behind Eid-al-Fitr is very similar to a story in the old testament. Ibrahim a devout Muslim was asked by Allah to sacrifice his son Ishamel. Being a true believer, Ibrahim followed all the commands of the God and prepared his son for the sacrifice. Just before Ibrahim committed the sacrifice, Allah appeared before him and pleased with his devotion asked him to sacrifice a goat instead. On the day of Eid-al-Fitr, thousands of Muslims sacrifice goats as an offering to the Almighty.
Eid-al-Fitr is often celebrated by large congregations and gatherings in mosques and other holy places. Currently however, all placed of worship have been shut down. Nevertheless, one can always hope that by the end of Ramadan, things would light up a bit.
Celebrating Ramadan 2020 in Quarantine
In lights of the recent events, pertaining to the outbreak of the Corona Virus Pandemic, Muslims across the world, will be forced to celebrate Ramzan from the confinement of their homes. With all the mosques closed, people will have to read the Quran from withing their houses.
While the virus has put a major dent in the celebration of Ramadan, it has actually given Muslims practicing the fast, a unique opportunity. Maintaining the fast would be easier without movement and work. People can focus their energy solely on the purity of their spirit. Furthermore, there is perhaps no better time for not only Muslims but people all around the country to show their charity towards the poor, who have been affected the most.
The quarantine can allow the people to forego all worldly pleasures for a while and focus on their connection with Allah. If fate permits, then by the end of Ramadan, people would be free to have a massive Eid-al-Fitr Celebration.
The festival of Ramadan is truly a beautiful platform for people to give up all desires and live life in a much simpler and devout way. With the situation at hand, worsening every day, a festival that promotes charity and prayer is something all Indians need right now.
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