Muslims in Northampton are joining others across the world in Ramadan, the month of fasting, from today.
The month of Ramadan traditionally begins with a new moon sighting which occurred today in Saudi Arabia.
Many Muslims, except children, the sick and the elderly, abstain from food, drink, and certain other activities during daylight hours in Ramadan. This is considered as the holiest season in the Islamic year and commemorates the time when the Qur’an is said to have been revealed to the Prophet Muhammad.
Many Muslims will fast during the daylight hours in the month of Ramadan. Fasting during Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars (fundamental religious duties) of Islam. It is a time of self-examination and increased religious devotion. It is common to have one meal known as the suhoor just before sunrise and an evening meal (Iftar) after sunset during Ramadan.
Ramadan is also a time for many Muslims to donate to charity by participating in food drives for the poor, organizing a collection or charity event, and other voluntary activities.
Chairman of the Al Jamaat-ul-Muslimin of Bangladesh - Northampton Grand Mosque, Mr Afiz Ali, greeted the arrival of Ramadan.
He said: “I would like to begin by wishing the 2.7 million Muslims in the UK, Ramadan Mubarak. This week marks the beginning of Ramadan, and it looks set to be one of the toughest fasts in decades, with 18 hours of daylights and in the height of summer, during which we cannot let food or drink pass their lips. I hope that everyone will be able to observe the fast and enjoy the festivities Ramadan brings.”
Those observing must wake at 2.30am to eat before the sun rises, and can only eat again at 9pm that evening, celebrating the ‘Iftar’, the meal which breaks the fast, usually by eating dates.
There will be special Ramadan prayers, known as Tarawi, performed after the evening prayers, every night during Ramadan and special arrangements have been made at the Northampton Grand Mosque as well as all of the other mosques in the county to facilitate this and other activities.