Ramadan 2020: The story behind Muslims' holy month of fasting

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Ramadan 2020: The story behind Muslims' holy month of fasting
Ramadan 2020: The story behind Muslims' holy month of fasting

New Delhi : Amid lockdown and strict guidelines, Muslims are all prepared for Ramadan; the fasting will begin from Friday as Kerala spotted the crescent moon.

The main purpose behind the fasting month is to abstain oneself from all the temptations, extreme emotions, addictions and other worldly desires to give one a sense of self-control and strong will-power.

The fast continues for 29 to 30 days. During the days, people also refrain themselves from getting into false speech, insulting, cursing, lying and fighting.

While all this looks like a long affair, some still scratch their heads on how all it started and when did the Muslim community came to a conclusion of having such ritual.

Here is the answer:  Religious story behind Ramadan

At the age of forty, Prophet Muhammad began spending some time in solitude in a cave within a mountain called al-Ḥirā in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. There, the Prophet would ponder on the questions that bothered him. One day while spending time in the cave at al-Hira, archangel Gabriel or Jibraeel visited the prophet. This was around 610 CE. The archangel took hold of Muhammad and commanded him to “read.” Terrified, Muhammad refused twice before actually asking what it was that he was supposed to read.

Gabriel replied, “Proclaim! in the name of thy Lord and Cherisher, Who Created man, out of a clot of congealed blood: Proclaim! And thy Lord is Most Bountiful,–Who taught by the pen –Taught man that which he knew not.” Gabriel then introduced itself and told Muhammad that he was the messenger of Allah. Thinking that he had been accosted by an evil spirit, Muhammad fled the cave and ran down the mountainside. As he did so, Gabriel appeared in its true form filling the entire sky above him. The sky had become green, which is incidentally where Islam gains its official colour.

A terrified Muhammad returned home, told his family of what had happened, sought the wisdom of a particularly devout Christian relative who then told him that he had been chosen as a prophet of God as prescribed in the books before him. What followed throughout that month was that Gabriel started visiting the prophet with further revelations. This went on for a month until the whole Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad. This month came to be known as Ramadan. Muslims were first commanded to fast in the second year of Hijra 624 CE.

The Prophet Mohammed had reportedly said, “When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of heaven are opened and the gates of hell are closed and the devils are chained.”

As per the belief, it is the time when Allah gave the first chapters of the Holy Quran to the Prophet Muhammad in 610 CE. According to Muslim beliefs, it was during Ramadan, precisely on the night of Laylat al-Qadr that the Quran was first revealed to mankind. The Night of Power or Laylat al-Qadr as it is called, was the night when the word of Allah is said to have been revealed to Prophet Muhammad. The whole month is spent by Muslims in spiritual reflection and increased devotion and worship as the tablets of Ibrahim, the Torah, the Psalms, the Gospel and the Quran are believed to have been sent down on the 1st, 6th, 12th, 13th and 24th days of Ramadan. The last ten days of Ramadan are meant to commemorate the time that the Quran was revealed to Prophet Mohammed on the night of ‘Laylat Al Qadr’.

Fasting in Ramadan, also known as ‘Roza’, is the fourth of the five pillars of Islam and is intended to help teach Muslims self-discipline, self-restraint and generosity. Except for children and those adults who are unwell, fasting during Ramadan is mandatory in Islam. Pregnant and breastfeeding women are also exempt from the exercise, and other women during menstruation. The general rules of Ramadan bar you from smoking during the period as well as sexual intercourse. Muslims begin fasting at dawn after consuming a decent quantity of food and usually fast until sunset, after which they are allowed to eat. Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic Lunar Calendra.