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Ramadan, ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, is the holy month of fasting for adult Muslims. According to the QuÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ran (Koran), the sacred scripture of Islam,
RAMADAN Ramadan, ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, is the holy month of fasting for adult Muslims. According to the Qu’ran (Koran), the sacred scripture of Islam, God requires the fast of Ramadan so that believers "may cultivate piety." The month of Ramadan is particularly sacred to Muslims because the Qur’an was first revealed to Muhammed, the prophet of Islam, during this month. II Start of Ramadan
In the pre-Islamic Arabic calendar, the month of Ramadan fell during the heat of summer. The word Ramadan means "scorcher" in Arabic. The early Arabic calendar, like the current Islamic calendar, was lunar. Because a lunar month has only 29 or 30 days, a year of 12 lunar months falls short of the 365 days in a solar calendar. In the pre-Islamic calendar, the lunar months kept their place in the seasons by the insertion of an extra month every two or three years. The Islamic calendar abolished this practice and fixed the Islamic year at 12 months totaling 354 days. As a result Ramadan occurs about 11 days earlier each year, and it rotates through the seasons in a cycle totaling about 33 years. In the year 2000 Ramadan began on November 27. The appearance of the new moon signals the beginning of Ramadan. The end of Ramadan is signaled by the sighting of the new moon of the next month, Shawwal. The new moon must be reported by at least two trustworthy witnesses. Because of this requirement, neither the beginning nor the end of Ramadan can be determined in advance. Depending on the visibility of the new moon, Ramadan can begin on a different date in different parts of the world. III Fasting
Fasting during Ramadan is the fourth of the five pillars of Islam, the essential religious duties of all adult Muslims. These pillars are described in the Qur’an. Fasting begins at Fajr, the first morning prayer about an hour and a half before the sun rises. It continues until sunset. Fasting consists of abstinence not only from food and drink but also from smoking and sexual relations. A Who Is Required to Fast
All Muslims who have reached puberty and who are mentally and physically able to sustain fasting are obliged to fast during Ramadan. People who are sick or traveling, and pregnant or nursing women, are exempt from fasting, but they must later make up any missed days upon recovery or return, or after weaning. Women who are menstruating or bleeding after childbirth are not allowed to fast, but they too must make up missed days. The elderly and incurably sick need not fast, but they are expected to feed one poor person for every day of fasting they miss.