From Academic Kids
Template:Islam Ramadan or Ramadhan (Arabic: رمضان ) is the ninth month of the Islamic year. Siyam or Saum ("fasting" in English) is the third of the Five Pillars of Islam and involves fasting during Ramadan.
The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, and months begin when the first crescent of a new moon is sighted. Because the Islamic calendar has no correction for the fact that the lunar year is 11 to 12 days shorter than the solar year, Ramadan migrates throughout the seasons.
- 2004 – First day: October 15, 2004; last day: November 13, 2004
- 2005 – First day: October 4, 2005; last day: November 2 (or November 3, if possible), 2005
- 2006 – First day: September 17, 2006; last day October 16 (or October 17, if possible), 2006
(While some Muslims insist on the physical sighting of the moon, there is no such requirement in the Qur'an, and some Muslims allow that the start of the month can be determined by astronomical calculations.)
What is prohibited?
Eating, smoking, drinking and sexual relationships are prohibited. During Ramadan, Muslims are also expected to refrain from indulging in violence, anger, envy, greed, lust and backbiting, and are meant to get along with each other better than normal.
The prohibitions only extend during daylight hours. Traditionally this begins at dawn from the moment a white line can be seen at the horizon and ends at sunset, when the sun's disk sinks below the local horizon. These times are known as Fajr and Maghrib, respectively.
The Siyam are intended to teach the believers patience and self-control, and to remind them of the less fortunate in the world. The fast is also seen as a debt owed by the believer to God. Faithful observance of the Siyam is believed to atone for personal faults and misdeeds, at least in part, and to help earn a place in paradise. It is also believed to be beneficial for personal conduct, that is, to help control passions and temper. The fast is also meant to provide time for meditation and to strengthen one's faith.
At the termination of the great fast of Ramadan, Eid ul-Fitr is celebrated. Muslims come out and rejoice with a sense of accomplishment for coming closer to Allah. It is a time for Muslim families and friends to worship and celebrate together.
Integrated into the Ramadan season is also a sense of community. Many mosques will sponsor iftar (literally: break fast) meals after sundown for the community to come and end their day's fasting as a whole. It is also common for such meals to take place at Muslim soup kitchens. Extra optional prayers, called tarawih are prayed each night in the mosque during Ramadan as well..
Fasting in other religions
The Christian Lent and the Jewish Yom Kippur are also times of fasting. These relate to that mentioned in Quran 2:183, ".. Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you..", fasting is prescribed to Muslims as it was prescribed to those before you, e.g. Christian and Jewish, although the fasting's practice of each religion might be different from one another.