Ramadan is the holiest month of the year for our Muslim colleagues. Ramadan in 2019 began on the evening of Sunday, May 5th and ends on the evening of Tuesday, June 4th. This means that the holy month has now officially begun.

The word Ramadan comes from the Arabic root ramiḍa or ar-ramaḍ, which means scorching heat or dryness.

Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam and is obligatory for all adult Muslims but there are a number of exceptions such as those who are ill, aged or travelling. A verse in the Koran prescribes fasting for all Muslims who are mature and healthy enough to do so for the full day. So Muslims fast as an act of worship, a chance to get closer to God, and a way to become more compassionate to those in need. Fasting is also seen as a way to learn patience and break bad habits.The fast is from dawn to sunset, with a pre-dawn meal known as suhur and sunset meal called iftar.

Muslims engage in increased prayer and charity during Ramadan. Ramadan is also a month where Muslims try to practice increased self-discipline. As well as fasting – abstaining from eating and drinking during daylight hours – Muslims are encouraged to read the entire Koran throughout the month, before the holy festival of Eid al-Fitr.

Every single day of the holy month of Ramadan is of importance in Muslims’ lives but the most important and recommended to all Muslims is the 27th day of the month. Laylat Al Qadr is considered the holiest night of the year for Muslims, and is traditionally celebrated on the 27th day of Ramadan. It is known as the “Night of Power,” or Night of Destiny  and commemorates the night that the Koran was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. This annual observance is regarded also as one of the Five Pillars of Islam. The holiday of Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan and the beginning of the next lunar month.

A common greeting is “Ramadan Mubarak”, which means “Have a blessed Ramadan”. To all our Muslim colleagues we wish you Ramadan Mubarak.