13 June | 2024

Lahore, Pakistan

What to know about Ramadan – the Islamic holy month of fasting

Fasting during Ramadan aims to promote spirituality, patience, and charity | Ramadan can be a chance to set out some resolutions such as getting rid of unhealthy habits

Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, marks the time when Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. As a month of fasting and spirituality, Ramadan is observed by more than 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide. It is believed to be a month when the Holy Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam and aims to promote spirituality, patience, and charity. The actual purpose of fasting is to teach us self-restraint in face of the evil and to make us more devoted towards Almighty Allah (Glorious and Exalted Is He).

For Muslims, Ramadan is a spiritual time of the year. As a month which symbolizes dedication, reflection and discipline, Ramadan allows us to keep ourselves from sins through fasting and forbearance. In addition to fasting, extra attention is also given to more acts of worship. These acts can come in the form of prayers, ritual prayers, reciting and memorizing the Holy Quran, giving charity, and asking for forgiveness. Through performing such actions, we become closer to Almighty Allah (Glorious and Exalted Is He), and are given more rewards during this blessed month. In Islam, the act of charity is highly regarded, especially during the fasting month. It brightens up essence of sharing to help deserve the poor ones.

‘In Islam, act of charity is highly regarded, especially during fasting month’

On the other hand, people arrange family and friend level gatherings at home or common places to have meal together during pre-dawn and evening time, besides prayers and ritual prayers on the same spots. From helping our parents in preparing food during meal times to reciting the Holy Quran with our siblings, we can perform many activities to connect with our family. During this month, food holds a very important place, as people love to cook extravagant meals for pre-dawn and evening time. For pre-dawn meal, people mostly like to have simple or oily bread with yogurt which then is followed by milk or water to keep themselves hydrated.

For evening meal, dates, pakoras, samosas, fruit salad, milk, juices, lemon water and simple water are mandatory. These are just a few examples of many dishes that are enjoyed during Ramadan. Experts recommend healthy but balanced meals for pre-dawn and evening meals. Ramadan is also an occasion to reconnect with family and friends, many people tend to focus on food which can be harmful. Always remember that Ramadan can be a chance to decrease eating junk food and enjoy healthy but balanced options with your family. Exercising or any form of physical activity can help those fasting to ensure a healthy lifestyle.

After having evening meal, the experts recommended exercising two hours, while some experts suggested brisk walking or running to incorporate exercise into the routine. To prevent feeling tired and to get used to fasting the first few days, the experts recommend keeping workouts light during daylight hours, like going on a brisk walk, and save any higher intensity workouts until after evening meal. For some, Ramadan can be a chance to set out some resolutions such as getting rid of unhealthy habits. The best approach is to keep the goals realistic and not setting high expectations that won’t be fulfilled during this period. –Ramadan Mubarak!