Festivals & Events

Ramadan 2018: Moon Sighting, Roza, Zakat And Everything You Need to Know About Holiest Month of Islam

Ramadan, also known as Ramzan, Islam’s holiest month is around the corner. According to the moon sightings, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar will begin from May 15 or May 16. The date changes each year. The festival is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad according to Islamic belief. This annual observance is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam. If the crescent moon is viewed on the eve of Tuesday, May 15, Muslims will observe the holy month-long festival with fasts, namaaz, zakat, hajj and other traditional celebrations from May 16, Wednesday.

Everything you need to know about Ramadan

As per the Islamic mythology, Ramadan is considered as the holy period. It was during the time when the first verses of the holy Quran were bestowed upon to the Prophet Mohammed, the last prophet. The month ends with Eid ul-Fitr after a fasting period of 30 days, depending on the sightings of the moon. During this month, as the myth says, the men have the God’s ear, as all the negative powers and demons are condemned to hell for a month’s time. All the good deeds, including the five-time daily namaz, during this period are taken into special consideration by the divine.

How is Ramzan Celebrated? What is Roza?

The Muslims are ordained to observe fast for 29 or 30 days (depending on the sighting of the moon) starting with the sighting of the new moon and end it after seeing the new moon, the next month. This Fasting is called ‘Roza’. Observing fast during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of the Islamic faith. To mark the holy deed, devotees across the world observe fast from dawn (Fajr) to dusk (Maghrib). They do not drink or eat anything between the dawn break and sunset. Muslims, before the beginning of the fast, start their day with sehri or suhoor, which literally translates to early-morning meal. The roza is broken at the end of the day eating food or snacks. This meal or snacks is called iftaar and everybody share the meal with family members, relatives and dear ones.

Moon-sighting

The Islamic calendar is lunar-based, with each month coinciding with the phases of the moon and lasting either 29 or 30 days. Traditionally, one marks the beginning of an Islamic month by looking at the night sky and visibly sighting the slight crescent moon (hilal) that marks the beginning of the next month. Depending on the moon sighting, fasting for Ramadan in India will either begin from May 17 (Thursday) or May 18 (Friday).

What is Zakat?

Zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam, and in various Islamic polities of the past was expected to be paid by all practicing Muslims (charity) who have the financial means (nisab). The holy book of Islam has mentioned the need and importance of donating things, grains and other needful items to the needy. Ramadan is a month of generosity and charity. Muslims are encouraged to read Quran completely during the month and attend Taraveeh, which are special evening prayers during which long portions of the Quran are recited.