Ramadan 101: A Muslim Perspective

Ramadan 101: A Muslim Perspective
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About the Author

Aliya Khan

Aliya Khan

Dr. Khan is a Professor of Clinical Medicine, McMaster University and Director of the Calcium Disorders Clinic at St. Joseph’s Healthcare, McMaster University. She graduated with honors from the University of Ottawa Medical School. She trained in Internal Medicine, Geriatrics and Endocrinology at the University of Toronto and also completed a research fellowship at the University of Toronto in metabolic bone disease.

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For Muslims the wonderful season of Ramadan has once again returned – this is the 9th month in the lunar calendar which is the month when the Holy Quraan was revealed confirming God’s revelations: The Scrolls of Abraham, the Torah and the Bible.

In this month, Muslims focus on improving their relationship with God and with His Creation (especially humanity). They also focus on addressing their own personal shortcomings. During the day from sunrise to sunset Muslims fast (avoiding all nourishment). Smoking is not permissible. This is a great time to quit smoking and avoid overeating. By practicing this for 30 days, it becomes a habit with lasting effects. Less food is eaten, focusing on sharing with the poor and those less fortunate.

The fast is broken at sunset usually with a few dates and a glass of water. The physical satisfaction felt at the time of breaking fast comes with the realization that only a small amount of food is needed to be well and healthy. Staying hungry all day makes one realize what a tremendous blessing food is and increases our generosity towards others.

The hunger pangs experienced during the fast are a hard reminder of the fact that so many millions of children live in a perpetual state of starvation, having no meal to look forward to at the end of their fast.

The Prophet Muhammed (P) was most generous in the month of Ramadan. Muslims are prescribed to give yearly to charity of 2.5% of their wealth to the poor and needy. However, it is also preferable to give more during the month of Ramadan, so that the rich and poor can all celebrate together .

The spiritual aspect of fasting is of great significance. Lies, gossip, slander and harbouring ill feelings towards others are forbidden and result in loss of any reward from the day of fasting – the Prophet Muhammad (P) said ” Perhaps a person fasting will receive nothing from his fasting except hunger and thirst.”

Remembering God, speaking the truth, serving with sincerety and being of benefit to His Creation are the gems that are gained from fasting. Reinforcing these characteristics in our personality ensures that they become a habit. This is why Muslims welcome Ramadan – a month in which they strive to improve themselves and the lives of those around them.

(P) – peace be upon him -this is mentioned after the names of all of God’s Prophets: Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad.

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