What is Ramadan?

8th grader Marwa Askerzada posing in her new Eid clothing. She is wearing traditional Afghan clothing

8th grader Marwa Askerzada posing in her new Eid clothing. She is wearing traditional Afghan clothing

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This picture read “Ramadan Mubarak” in Arabic which means “Ramadan Blessings’ Arabic is the language Muslim believe the Holy Quran was revealed in.

The warmer weather and longer days mean a lot of things for different people. For some, it signals the start of a long SOL season. Others can’t help but start thinking about the warm summer days and for the 8.1 million Muslims in the United States, it signals the beginning of a blessed holy mouth called Ramadan. Ramadan follows the lunar calendar which means it starts a few days earlier each year. Muslims believe that Ramadan is a mouth of mercy. They use this time to ask forgiveness for past sins. They pray extra prayers called “Taraweeh” and recite more Quran (the holy book for Muslims). They also fast during this month. They wake up in the morning around 4 fast until around 8. 

The practice of fasting during Ramadan means that Muslims may not eat or drink anything including water while the sun is shining. The most important thing about Ramadan is niyyah. It means intention that Muslims may not simply or accidentally eat or drink anything, and intend in their heart that this fast is meant to worship God. During Ramadan, Muslims pray five times a day and recite the Quran (a holy book for Muslims).

When the sun goes down, everyone eats a special meal that is called Iftar. To break a fast, a person eats a date. After eating a date, most people like to snack on samosa, which is a deep-fried pastry filled with potato or meat. Pakora, a deep fried vegetable patty and chaat, a savory chickpea snack, are also popular iftar snacks. Most people like to eat watermelon when Ramadan is in the summer

“I love samosas. They are at most parties but they taste even better during Ramadan,” said eighth-grader Zoya Rahman, “Some of my friends think that fasting during school is hard, but I think it helps with the day.”

The month of Ramadan features a special night called Laylatul Qadr which means “Night of power”. This one night is better than 1000 months worth of worship. The day after the last day of Ramadan is Eid. The meaning of Eid is “Festival”.  Muslims celebrate two Eids throughout one lunar year. The eid after Ramadan is called Eid Ul Fitr (festival of breaking the fast). During Eid Muslims wear their best clothes, go to parties, and exchange gifts. Eid Ul Fitr lasts for 3 days. The SOLs dates fall in Ramadan. This can take a toll on students who are fasting.

“I don’t get tired during the SOLs, but I do get headaches from fasting and staring at a screen. Thankfully, the SOLs are in mid- Ramadan this year, so I’m used to fasting by then,” said eighth-grader Hanaan Kazia

(the pictures aren’t uploading, but I should get them in by tonight) ~Sumayya (May 22)