|When It Happens
||Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim calendar, which is based on the moon. The western dates of the holiday move up about 10 days every year. In 2007, Ramadan is predicted to begin on September 13th and end on October 12th.
||The Qur'an was first revealed to Prophet Muhammad during the month of Ramadan. The month is a special time of worship, Qur'an reading, charitable acts, and individual reflection and purification.
|Main Qur'anic Source
||"Ramadan is the month during which the Qur'an was revealed,
providing guidance for the people, clear teachings, and
the statute book. Those of you who witness this month
shall fast therein" (2:185).
||Eating and drinking from dawn to sunset
Sexual activity during those hoursSmoking during those hoursUsing profane languageBackbiting (speaking ill of others) is also discouraged
|Why the Fast
||Among many reasons, Muslims fast to heighten spirituality and practice self-restraint, as the Qur'an states, "O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may [learn] self-restraint" (2:183).
|Who Should Fast
||All Muslims who have reached puberty are required to fast. Exceptions include men and women who are too old to fast, those who are too ill, women in the advanced stages of pregnancy, and women who are menstruating.
||Five daily prayers must be offered for that day's fast to have meaning
Reading the entire Qur'an during the month is strongly recommended
The recitation of the Taraweeh prayer, or Night prayer following the 'Isha prayer, the obligatory fifth daily prayer, is strongly recommended
||Suhur, the meal before daybreak
Iftar, the meal after sunset, eaten as soon as possible after the sun sets
|End of the Fast
||Each day's fast is broken with water and dates before the prayers and Iftar, the evening meal.
|The Night of Power
||Laylat Al Qadr, or the Night of Power, occurs on the night of one of the odd days during the last ten days of Ramadan. It is widely believed to fall on the 27th day of Ramadan. This night is commemorated as the night Prophet Muhammad received the first revelation of the Qur'an. The Qur'an calls this night "better than a thousand months." Muslims spend the night in prayer and devotion.
|End of the Month
||Muslims celebrate the end of the fast with the joyous festival of Eid Al-Fitr, the Festival of Breaking the Fast. They attend special congregational prayers in the morning and greet each other with "Eid Mubarak," or "Holiday Blessings."