Oman Observer

The Muslim holy month of Ramadhan

Ramadhan is the ninth month of the lunar Islamic calendar. During Ramadhan, observant Muslims abstain from eating, drinking and smoking from dawn to dusk.
Fasting is an exercise in self-restraint, aimed at making the rich experience the suffering of the less unfortunate.
Children, the elderly, ill people and women who are pregnant or menstruating are exempted from fasting on health grounds.
Fasting is one of Islam’s five pillars, alongside: declaration of faith; prayer five times a day; alms-giving; and the pilgrimage to holy sites in Saudi Arabia.
During Ramadhan, Muslims are exhorted to intensely worship and read Islam’s holy book, the Quran, in order to experience spiritual renewal.
The month is also marked by a special nightly prayer called “taraweeh.”
Ramadhan is particularly significant to Muslims because it was the month when the first verses of the Quran were revealed to the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) in the 7th century AD.
Charity street banquets, hosted by benefactors for the poor, are a traditional feature of Ramadhan in several Muslim countries.
In recent years, Ramadhan has become the peak month for television entertainment in the Arab world.
Lavish and star-studded television shows are usually broadcast in Ramadhan.
Ramadhan is followed by the three-day Eid al Fitr festival, which marks the end of fasting. — dpa