This year Ramadan begins on Friday, April 24 in most Muslim-majority nations. Ramadan Kareem means something like “Ramadan is generous.” This traditional expression reflects a sentiment of thanksgiving for the generous blessings that one has received, while also serving as a reminder that one should be generous in return.
Ramadan is the holiest month for Muslims. It is the ninth month in the Muslim lunar calendar and healthy adult Muslims fast in Ramadan from dawn until dusk. This includes abstaining from drinking, eating, immoral acts, and anger. Other acts of worship such as prayer, reading the Quran, and charity are also encouraged during the holy month. Fasting during Ramadan is a time for Muslims to commit themselves more to God and render “great services to the community in terms of helping the poor, assisting the needy and sharing whatever one has with others.”
Muslims are generally more kind, tolerant, and active during Ramadan because they tend to celebrate each Ramadan as if it were their last to ensure that God will pardon them for any sins they have committed. This is not considered optional but regarded as a compulsory religious duty (it is one of the so-called “Five Pillars of Islam,” each of which is incumbent upon all Muslims to abide by).
However, this year Ramadan will most certainly be a less festive time, amid the coronavirus pandemic as all nations, including Muslim ones, take precautions to curb the spread of the virus by banning or limiting social gatherings and closing mosques.
The month of Ramadan is also when it is believed the Holy Quran “was sent down from heaven, a guidance unto men, a declaration of direction, and a means of Salvation”. The observance of Ramadan is very personal and individual. It is a time for “sacrifice and renunciation as well as a period of reflection and spiritual growth,” and also a powerful symbol of unity, with Muslims around the world fasting simultaneously while bringing family and friends together.
Muslims believe that Ramadan teaches them to practice self-discipline, self-control, sacrifice, and empathy for those who are less fortunate, thus encouraging actions of generosity and compulsory charity.
IAEC University wishes all our Muslim brothers and sisters a happy RAMADAN KAREEM
AUTHOR: IFEGWU FAVOUR