Fasting has been practiced around the world for centuries among different cultures and religions. It is not solely limited to Islam; however, this sacred practice varies from one religion to another. It can be for hours, days, or months. We see it in Lent in Catholicism, Yum Kippur in Judaism, Purnima in Hinduism, and Ramadan in Islam.
Other people do it for healthy purposes. For instance, the town of Geneva, Switzerland, has a day of fasting called “Fast of Geneva”, which is a public holiday in Geneva occurring each year in September. However, I want to focus on my blog on the rituals and traditions of Ramadan in Islam and Muslim countries.
Because Muslims follow the lunar calendar, Ramadan doesn’t come each year in the same month as it comes 10 days earlier every year. Ramadan is divided into three parts; each part consists of 10 days. The first 10 days are called the mercy of Allah Almighty, the second 10 days are the days of Forgiveness, and the last 10 days of Ramadan are to seek Refuge in Allah from the Hellfire.
Rituals of Ramadan:
- Taraweeh: We know it is Ramadan when we observe the crescent moon in the sky. That is when we start to pray “Taraweeh” the night before Ramadan. We keep doing extra prayers eavry night during the whole month of Ramadan.
2. Reading Quraan: Muslims good deeds double if they read Quraan; that is why they intensify their readings and compete in who finished Quraan first. Quraan is divided into 30 chapters, so we read at least one chapter every day.
3. Tasbeeh: Like any other religion we do have a rosary, but in a different shape. It consists of 33 beads. You can find longer rosary of 99 beads as well. Our main 4 Tasabeeh are:
- Subhan Allah: Glory be to God
- Alhamdollelah: Thanks Goodness
- La elaha ella Allah: No god but Allah
- Allahu Akbar: Allah is great
4. Break the fasting or “Iftar”: Before breaking our fast: we pray “Dua’a” a lot as all your prayers and wishes will be answered, especially once you break your fast. We usually break our fast by eating one to three dates (should be odd number) and water.
5. Qatayef: Our special desert in Ramadan. It is like minipancake but we stuff it with cheese or nuts and fry it. Some people do super mini Qatayef called “A’ssafiri” and eat them with Nutella, cheese, and nuts.
At the end of the first day of Ramadan, we pray Taraweeh again. What do you think about the rituals of Ramadan in Islam? Do you feel you want to share them with other Muslims? Do you have similar practice or rituals in your culture or religions? I am happy to learn about yours.