Ramadan Research Papers Examples
In general, Ramadan is thought to be one of the five pillars of Islam and in order to understand what exactly people should do during Ramadan and why it tends to be an important event in the lives of numerous Muslims, it is important to turn to the religion itself and to the traditions which are followed according to Islam. Each year, through the media, people learn more about the Muslim fast. However, not everyone knows that Ramadan - is not just refusal from eating and drinking during daylight hours. Familiarity with the history and cultural heritage of Muslims can increase the level of knowledge about Islam and contribute to a better understanding in society of how believers of Islam cherish their traditions and religion.
Believers treat themselves with special honor towards Ramadan. In the month of Ramadan during the day you can rarely see such people who consider themselves Muslims, with a cigarette in their mouth, chewing sunflower seeds, drinking beverages or chewing something. This ostentatious display of neglect towards fasting on Ramadan is disrespect to Islam, manifestation of inexperience and lack of culture. In the blessed days of Ramadan there have been great in the sacred history events. On the 21st of the month of Ramadan at the Islamic calendar there has been an event called by historians "Fatah Mecca Day" or "Day of the opening of Mecca." On that memorable day, the ancient holy city of Mecca was opened to take the Good News from God - to send them religion - Islam. Located in the ancient temple of Mecca, established by the first man and Prophet Adam was cleared of idols, and many of the Meccans in this blessed day have become Muslims. And since then the month of Ramadan is sacred. In this month, as reported by the theologians of the Prophet Muhammad, there was revealed the Holy Quran. All these historic facts in fact allow all people to get closer to understanding why Muslims fast exactly on the ninth month and what conditions the appearance of such a significant event in Islam as Ramadan.
In fact, according to Baianonie “Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim calendar which is the most important and honorable for the Muslims” (9). Throughout this month people have to observe a strict fast that implies a rejection of water, food as well as intimate relationships in the daytime. The basic requirements of fasting is not only mandatory refusal to eat, drink and love comfort from dawn to dusk, it also means replacement of carnal desires with the spiritual ones which should be demonstrated though the dedication to the service of God, hard work and sincere worship of Allah.
For the usefulness of fasting, human behavior is of the paramount importance. All Muslims tend to think that at that time it is impermissible to waste precious time during the holy month of Ramadan because it is time when all human good deeds can be rewarded by Allah. Indeed, people believe that this month circumcision that means purification of soul from sins and through this month all Muslims get propensity of Allah. One of the undoubted advantages of the month of Ramadan is that it contributes to the development of good qualities in fasting. For example, the onset of this month is the end of all sorts of strife and discord. That is why this month is a so called period of blessing and reconciliation. Moreover, the main sense of abstinence and fasting in general is to strengthen the faith, spiritual growth, rethinking of lifestyle priorities. Fasting for Muslims is, first of all, the ability to insulate themselves conditionally from everything that is forbidden and try to determine for themselves the true values of life.
Turning closer to the way how people “celebrate” Ramadan as this event is really significant for all Muslims, there should be mentioned the following. According to Ghayyur “apart from the usual five prayers, every night there should be performed an additional Mohammedan prayer soon after the evening” (11). The rite of celebration begins with a special common prayer - prayer in the mosque which is led by Imam-primate, the most educated person and the true believer in Allah. In the end of the prayer imam asks Allah for his acceptance of the fast, the forgiveness of sins and prosperity which is accompanied with the exclamations of thanks. After that, believers always collectively read zikr that means the ritual remembrance of Allah. In fact, zikr is performed according to a special formula and special way, aloud or silently, and is accompanied by certain gestures which play a significant role for Muslims as through various gestures believers perceive themselves closer to Allah and sacred traditions.
The prayer is usually followed by a festive meal and giving alms to the poor. Alms-tax is levied on every adult member of the family on the day of the end of fasting during the month of Ramadan and for almsgiving on special days. This certain tax is levied only from the wealthy Muslim and among Muslim there is no the only decision and consensus on the size and types of taxable property. Such a tax is regarded as a voluntary donation or charity. It can be transmitted directly by the donor or distributed through reputable clerics. Many Muslim ideologues consider the tax as a means of income redistribution on the principles of Islamic social justice.
The last ten days and nights of Ramadan distinguish with intensive pious activities and limitations. In addition, eating and drinking is permitted only after sunset and before sunrise. During Ramadan such cohorts of people as patients, children and soldiers who are involved in the fighting exempt from fasting, but the outstanding position should be compensated at another time. Moreover, then the Muslims who exempt from fasting must feed the poor or help people who are in need every day during the fast (in the amount not less than the amount the person spends on food per day).
End of Ramadan and fasting is celebrated with the second most important Muslim holiday namely breaking of the fast called Eid al-Fitr and which begins at sundown on the last day of Ramadan and is celebrated the first and second day of the following Ramadan month of Shawwal. These days, the Muslim should reflect on spiritual values acquired during Ramadan. In fact, holiday for Muslims is a day of salvation from hell, reward, a handshake with the angels, reconciliation offended, visiting seniors and the disadvantaged.
In order to understand why it is so important to follow Ramadan, meaning fast in general, it is important to return to its origins. The Prophet Muhammad, according to legend, had unsympathetic attitude toward asceticism and in the hadith which are stories about the life and deeds of the Prophet that pass his words: “There is no asceticism in Islam.” Nevertheless, the Muslim fast called Ramadan was implemented exactly by Muhammad. Meaning of fasting for Muslims is a test of will for the triumph of the spirit over the desires of the flesh. It is the time when they focus on their inner world with the aim to identify and destroy the evil inclination and repentance for sins, the struggle with the pride for the sake of humility to the will of the Creator. It is interesting that over time, there were added such restrictions which the Prophet could not foresee at that time namely smoking and chewing gum. Specificity of fasting in Islam lies in the fact that exactly the time of food consumption is limited but not the composition of food.
The fast warns human of wasting and teaches people to thanksgiving of Allah for providing benefits. A person accustomed to do what he/she wants whenever, not knowing the limitations namely fasting, will have to curb his/her desires. For example, such people who are used to saturate the stomach, to indulge their whims, while fasting are required to wait till the evening and through this self-restraint learn to be thrifty and renounce disorderly lifestyle.
As Ghayyur stated “fasting is a physician not only the spiritual part of each person that is undoubtedly benefits physical state of health” (5). It normalizes the stomach, gives rest to the digestive system, cleanses the intestines, removes toxins from the body and strengthens the body in general. From the Muslims’ point of view, following the fast has already become an inseparable part of their lifestyles and that is why they are convinced that is very useful for human health, since all the excretory system during the fasting work on the release of toxins and other accumulated in the body harmful substances, while rejuvenating the entire body. During fasting the body is forced to live at the expense of its own tissues, first and foremost, the organism “consumes” sick, degenerated cells, along with the destruction of diseased cells the body produces new, absolutely healthy. Fasting is useful in many diseases, as well as helping smokers to make a break and contributes to the withdrawal from this habit. Even leading nutritionists recognize that the most effective and useful diet is fasting.
Fasting in the holy month of Ramadan conceals a boundless generosity, mercy and wisdom, but people who do not know, do not pay attention and do not attach any significance of fasting. It is known that it is very useful for spiritual, sociological and physical sides of the person. Nevertheless, people should not have to abide by it in order to, for example, get rid of fat accumulation, because the main aim of the believers is to purify all thoughts and put all worries into the farthest niche and forget about all troubles that have been before. That is why Ramadan is a certain turning point which is necessary for the Muslims in order to change something in their mentality and spiritually enrich their lives.
Nevertheless, taking into consideration Ali’s research “fast itself exhausts the body greatly as it is such a time period during which a Muslim for one day should be without food and drink ranges from 12 to 16 hours” (4). In the physiology, this period coincides with two stages, during which digestion takes place inside the body. Thus sometimes, those people who do not believe in Allah and do not adhere to the fast think of Ramadan as self-sacrifice and it seems to be obvious that such people think so. The way how Muslims must live during the month is difficult enough though the Muslims themselves do not think of it in such a way and do not complain about their lives as this is the path which was consciously chosen and their ardent believe in blessing compensates everything.
After sunset, the time comes to meal taken after sunset. At this time, fasting is recommended to eat odd number of dates. The Messenger of Allah, Muhammad said: “If anyone wants to break the fast, you should break the fast with dates, and if you cannot find them, then with water.” At the end of the daily fast the person who is fasting has the low level of glucose in the body. Therefore, it is important to ensure the body's glucose during this period as soon as possible. Dates, are known to be one of the glucose-rich products, which have proteins, fats, vitamins and some minerals, as well as they are capable of quickly enough to fill the needs of the body's energy.
At the end of the month of Ramadan fasting and stops the upcoming holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which lasts three days. Muslims ask God to accept their fast, congratulate each other and give gifts. Thus, fasting in the month of Ramadan is a meaningful worship God and combines the benefits of both worlds. Ramadan is considered, in contrast to Lent of the Christians, not to be the tribulation and great holiday. For Ramadan, Muslims around the world are preparing long before its occurrence: women are stocking food and products, men are busy buying clothes and gifts for the holiday meeting. Muslims believe that Allah may forgive the sins of man, if he spends time in reading prayers and performs charitable deeds.
In the month of Ramadan, according to the Quran and the Hadith, performing good deeds is considered especially important. According to the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, Allah increases the importance of each of them 700 times, and Shaitan this month fetters chain, so do good for Muslims becomes much easier than in other months. In addition, a number of hadith and that devout Muslim must be on the fast pious, for example: "If (people) do not cease to lie and act a lie, Allah will not need to, he gave up his food and drink.” During Ramadan, states Fielfhouse, “Muslims also pay most of the time reading the Koran and the remembrance of Allah, try to pray more often, sometimes at night - before or after the pre-dawn meal” (7). During Ramadan, many believers are making the pilgrimage to Mecca.
All in all, Muslims believe that Ramadan is the period of time when the gates of heaven can be open and the gates of hell are locked, and the devils (demons) are attached. At the end of Ramadan for common prayers and sermons often followed by various festivities: children play different games and all people give others sweets. During Ramadan in Muslim countries business activity as well as working hours is markedly reduced and everyday life is shifted to the evening and night. In addition to external purity during the fasting month people try to comply with stricter clean the inside, getting rid of all the thoughts and actions that defile the man. This month can be truly called as holiday meaning that this time is really holy and sacred for all Muslims. Being an inseparable part of the Muslim traditions and religion, Ramadan still contains a lot of unknown rites and rules which the Muslims adhere but which are unknown for others.
Ali, Amir. “Ramadan and Fasting”. The religion of Islam. 22 July 2013
Baianonie, Mohamed. “Rules of the Fasting of Ramadan”. Imam of the Islamic Center of Raleigh, NC. 2013.
Fieldhouse, Paul. “Ramadan”. Encyclopedia of Food and Culture. 2003.
Ghayyur, Taha. “The Fasting of Ramadan: A Time for Thought, Action, and Change!” The Medium, University of Toronto. 22 June 2014.
Abdullahi, Ahmed. “Apostasy and Punishment: Interrogating the Islamic Tradition.” Religion and Ethics. 23 May 2014.