Ramadan is a special month for Muslims all over the world. It is the month the Holy Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammed in Mecca, an ancient city in current day Saudi Arabia.
Ramadan falls on the ninth month in the Islamic Calendar, which follows a lunar cycle. It is a period for inner-reflection, restrain, cultivating awareness and compassion to help the needy, charity giving, family time and fasting. Fast takes place from sunrise to sunset during the month. There is no compulsion in Islam; people who are traveling, have medical conditions, are pregnant, and elderly are exempt from fasting. The last ten days of Ramadan are given great reverence, as it is believed that on one of those nights Angel Gabriel first appeared to Prophet Muhammad and revealed the first verse of the Quran. The night is called Laylat-al-Qadr, “Night of Power.”
This year, Ramadan began on April 2 and will end at sundown on May 2, depending on the first moon sighting. With the end of Ramadan, Eid-ul-Fitr is celebrated throughout the Muslim world. The usual greeting at the start of Ramadan is “Happy Ramadan,” or “have a blessed Ramadan.” A day before or on the day of Eid-ul-Fitr, people will wish “Eid Mubarik,” or “Happy Eid.”