Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and a time when Muslims across the world fast during the hours of daylight.
The Qur’an was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad during this month. The actual night that the Qur’an was revealed is a night known as Lailut ul-Qadr (‘The Night of Power’).
Almost all Muslims try to give up bad habits during Ramadan, and some will try to become better Muslims by praying more or reading the Qur’an.
Many Muslims will attempt to read the whole of the Qur’an at least once during Ramadan. Many will also attend special services in the evening at Mosques during which the Qur’an is read.
Fasting is intended to help teach Muslims self-discipline, self-restraint and generosity. It also reminds them of the suffering of the poor, who may rarely eat well.
It is common to have one meal (known as the suhoor), just before sunrise and another (known as the iftar), directly after sunset.
The end of Ramadan is marked by a big celebration called ‘Eid-ul-Fitr’, the Festival of the Breaking of the Fast.
Muslims are not only celebrating the end of fasting, but thanking Allah for the help and strength that he gave them throughout the previous month to help them practise self-control. It is also a time of forgiveness, and making amends.
During Eid-ul-Fitr Muslims dress in their finest clothes, give gifts to children and spend time with their friends and family.
At Eid it is obligatory to give a set amount of money to charity to be used to help poor people buy new clothes and food so they too can celebrate.