Research Essay: Ramadan
In this descriptive research essay, I will outline the history, characteristics and purposes, and
festivals immediately following Ramadan (Eid-al Fitar, and Shawwal), the Islamic month of fasting.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar- lasts 29 or 30 days- and all Muslims who can
participate are expected to fully stop such activities as eating, drinking, smoking and having sexual
relations from dawn until sunset. I will examine the historical aspects of Ramadan including how and
when Ramadan first appeared in Islam. In addition, I will discuss the practices that are associated with
the holy month of Ramandan and the significances of such ...view middle of the document...
The month of Ramadan, is also considered the fourth pillar of Islam of a possible five, the other
four being: 1) “to declare, or bear witness, that there is no god except God, and that Muhammad is the
Messenger of God”, 2) pray five times a day at the observed times, 3) to pay alms, and finally 4) to
perform the hajj pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca. The pillars are important to the Islamic faith
since they reinforce important Islamic tenets like faith, social responsibility, worship, and piety. In
addition, Ramadan is considered an especially important month since it is believed that the gates to
Heaven are open and consequently the gates to Hell are closed. Therefore, good deeds done during
Ramadan are believed to make it easier for an individual to enter Heaven.
Ramadan begins usually after a sighting of the new moon since the new moon typically means
the start of a new month. Although fasting is not the only activity that must be observed it is the the
main one. All individuals upon reaching puberty must fast, although exemptions are made for the
mentally or physically ill, and elderly. Although the latter two must give alms to the poor as restituition
for their missed fasting. Also, muslims are expected to pray, read the Qu'ran, and be charitable in
addition to fasting in order to acheive spiritual purity and become closer to God. Furthermore, muslims
are encouraged to pray even more than regular since Qu'ran stresses the necessity of prayer for mental
and spiritual purity and well-being. Muslims are expected to abstain from sexual intercourse during the
fast since during it is during this period of time that one is expected to shun all things decadent and
straying from God. Consequently, it is encouraged that one give up bad habits during Ramadan.
Since during Ramadan one can not eat or drink during the daytime, muslims often eat before
daybreak during a meal called suhur. Muslims excitingly anticipate for the time it is to break their fast
by listening for media or mosque annoucements. The meal at sunset which breaks the fast is known as
Iftar, and is usually a large meal shared by family. The meal typically begins with the eating of dates
since Prophet Muhammed is believed to have done this. The last 10 days of Ramadan are considered
especially important since it is believed that it is within this period that the very first verse of the Qu'ran
was revealed to Prophet Muhammed. The exact night, known as Laylat al- Qadr or the “Night of
Decree”, that this verse was revealed is kept secret by God and Muhammed in order for muslims to
pray for the entire the 10 days. Furthermore, many muslims choose to pray by reading verses from the
Qu'ran and some go as far as going under voluntary seculsion in mosques to recite the entire Qu'ran
during these last 10 days. This period of seclusion is known as itikaf.
After Ramandan ends, Muslims celebrate with a holiday called Eid-al-Fitar...