Bismillah ir-rahman ir-raheem (In The Name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Ever-Merciful)
Ramadan (Arabic: رمضان, Ramaḍān) is a Muslim religious observance that takes place during the ninth month of the Islaamic calendar, believed to be the month in which the Holy Qur'an began to be revealed to the Prophet Mohammed, sallaalahu alayhi wa salaam (may peace be upon him). It is the Islaamic month of fasting, in which Muslims refrain from eating or drinking anything from dawn until sunset. Fasting is meant to encourage greater patience and humility in humans. Ramadan is a time to fast for the sake of God, to offer even more prayers than normal and ask forgiveness for the sins of the past and for guidance in the future; a time to refrain from everyday worldly obsessions and try to purify oneself through self-restraint and good deeds.
The name "Ramadan" is the name of the ninth month of the Islaamic calendar; the word itself derived from an Arabic word for intense heat, scorched ground, and shortness of rations. It is considered the most venerated and blessed month of the year. Prayers, sawm (fasting), charity, and self-accountability are especially stressed at this time; religious observances associated with Ramadan are kept throughout the month.
In Islaam there is a clear and unambiguous methodology for determining the beginning of the lunar month. All months start upon the initial physical sighting of the waxing crescent moon on the western horizon of the evening sky. The method for beginning the month of Ramadan is no exception as ar-Rasool (the Prophet), salaalahu alayhi wa salaam, has said: “Begin your fast upon sighting [the crescent moon] and end your fast upon sighting [the subsequent crescent].”
For Muslims living in America, the waxing crescent will not be physically visible until Monday when the sun sets and the moon rises above the horizon, therefore the first day of fasting is Tuesday, Sept. 2nd. The month ash-Shawwal follows and pious Muslims often continue their fasting six days into the month of ash-Shawwal.
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