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Online Quran Academy - Islamic Mentors

What is Ramadan, and why is it Important for Muslims?


Ramadan is a holy month for Muslims, falling on the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It’s a time when Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, not eating or drinking during daylight hours. But it’s more than just skipping meals; it’s about getting closer to Allah Almighty and helping others. Muslims use this time to pray more, give to charity, and think about those who are needy.

One of the main reasons Ramadan is important is because it’s one of the five pillars of Islam. These pillars are like the significant rules that guide how Muslims live. Fasting during Ramadan helps Muslims learn essential values like patience and self-control. It’s a way to clean their hearts and minds, making them better people.

Ramadan is a special month for Muslims, as it marks the time when the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was given the holy book of the Quran by the angel Gabriel (AS). This is a significant event because the Quran is considered the primary source of guidance for Muslims in leading a righteous life. During Ramadan, Muslims devote more time to reading the Quran, intending to strengthen their relationship with Allah SWT and gain a deeper understanding of their religion.

Read More: Prophet Muhammad (SAW) First Revelation

Lastly, Ramadan is about feeling what it’s like to be hungry and poor, making Muslims more thankful and willing to help others. This holy month brings people together, making their faith and community stronger. In short, Ramadan is a time for Muslims to focus on what really matters: their faith, being good to others and becoming better people.

Read our blog on The Three Ashras of Ramadan: Mercy, Forgiveness, and Salvation.

The meaning and significance of Ramadan

The name Ramadan comes from the Arabic word “ramad”, which means “to burn”. Fasting during Ramadan is a way to burn sins and bad habits and follow the ethical teachings of Islam. The primary purpose of fasting is to become closer to Allah (SWT) by being aware of His presence and following His teachings.

For more insights on breaking free from negative patterns, read our blog on “11 Ways to Give Up Bad Habits.”

Muslims who fast during Ramadan are promised a special place in paradise called Al-Rayyaan. This is mentioned in the hadith:

“In Paradise, there is a gate called Rayyan, through which only the people who fast would enter on the Day of Resurrection. None else would enter along with them. It would be proclaimed: Where are the people who fast that they should be admitted into it? And when the last of them would enter, it would be closed, and no one would enter it.”

(Sahih Muslim 1152)

Ramadan is also known as the month of mercy, forgiveness, and salvation. As it is mentioned in a Hadith: 

“When there comes the month of Ramadan, the gates of mercy are opened, and the gates of Hell are locked, and the devils are chained.”

(Sahih Muslim 1079a)

We, as Muslims, seek Allah Almighty’s forgiveness for their past sins and ask for His protection from future ones. Muslims pause to think about their life, what they want to achieve, and what’s important to them. We are also encouraged to think about their goals and focus on their spiritual side, reflecting on their behaviour and actions to ensure they align with the teachings of the Quran and the way Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) lived.

The main practices and rituals of Ramadan

Fasting (Sawm)

During Ramadan, Muslims follow various practices and rituals. The most prominent among them is fasting (sawm). Fasting means abstaining from food, drink, smoking, sexual activity, and other worldly pleasures from dawn to sunset. 

“The Prophet (SAW) said, “Whoever does not give up forged speech and evil actions, Allah Almighty does not need his leaving his food and drink (i.e. Allah Almighty will not accept his fasting.)”

(Sahih al-Bukhari 1903) 

This saying of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) emphasizes that fasting is not just about abstaining from food and drink. It also involves avoiding false speech and harmful actions.

Read more about the Fasting: The Third pillar of Islam

Fasting is not just a physical discipline but also a moral and spiritual one. It teaches self-control, patience, gratitude, generosity, humility, and sincerity. Moreover, it is a way of showing solidarity with the millions of people who suffer from hunger, poverty, oppression, and injustice around the world. 

It is obligatory for every adult Muslim who is sane, healthy, and not traveling. There are some exemptions for those who are sick, older, pregnant, breastfeeding, menstruating, or facing other hardships.

If you are curious about the Islamic practice of fasting during Ramadan, you may want to read our blog post that answers some of the common questions people have about this topic. You can find it here: Fasting in Ramadan: Answers to Your Common Questions.

The verse of the Quran states that it is obligatory to fast the whole month, but if one is ill or on a journey, he should make up for the same number by fasting on other days (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:185).

Prayer (Salah)

Ramadan is an important time for Muslims to practice prayer, or salah, which is performed five times a day at fixed times. During Ramadan, Muslims also participate in an extra night prayer called taraweeh, which involves reciting long portions of the Quran. This prayer takes place at night after the evening (Eshaa) prayer and is unique to this month. People perform physical movements similar to those in their regular daily obligatory prayers.

Hazrat Abu Hurairah (RA) reported:

The Messenger of Allah (SAW) used to urge (the people) to perform (optional Tarawih) prayer at night during the month of Ramadan. He did not order them or make it obligatory on them. He (SAW) said, “Whosoever performs (optional Taraweeh) prayers at night during the month of Ramadan, with Faith and in the hope of receiving Allah’s reward, will have his past sins forgiven.”

(Riyad as-Salihin 1188) 

Along with Taraweeh, Muslims also perform Dhikr and do Qiyam at night, which collectively refers to Qiyam-ul-Layl. You can read more about the ten most amazing benefits of Qiyam-ul-Layl in our lives.

Prayer is a direct communication with Allah (SWT), where we praise Him, thank Him, ask for His help, and seek His forgiveness. Prayer also reminds us of our purpose in life and our accountability on the Day of Judgment.

If you are looking for a comprehensive guide on how to perform the Taraweeh prayer in Ramadan. Read on to learn more about this rewarding act of worship and how you can make the most of it. Taraweeh Prayer in Ramadan: Your Ultimate Guide

Charity and Zakat

Charity, or zakat, is an essential practice during Ramadan. It involves giving 2.5% of one’s wealth annually to people with low income and the needy, purifying one’s wealth, promoting social justice and helping alleviate poverty. During Ramadan, giving to charity is considered especially significant because it is believed that the rewards of good deeds are multiplied during this month. 

Hazrat Anas (RA) narrated that:

The Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (SAW) was asked which fast was most virtuous after Ramadan. He SAW said, “Shaban in honour of Ramadan,” And He PBUH was again asked, “Which charity is best?” He (SAW) said: “Charity in Ramadan.”

(Jami at-Tirmidhi 663)

Charity also includes voluntary acts of kindness, generosity, and compassion towards others. Muslims are encouraged to give more than usual in Ramadan, especially in the last ten days, when Laylat al-Qadr (the Night of Power) occurs, as it is better than a thousand months of worship. 

In our other, we discuss about the Islamic Charity: Sadaqah, Zakat, and More.

Giving to charity during Ramadan is a way to clean your heart, seek forgiveness, and make Allah (SWT) happy. It allows Muslims to follow the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and implement the five pillars of Islam in their lives.

Recitation (Tilawah) of the Holy Quran

A fourth key practice of Ramadan is recitation (Tilawah) of the Quran. The Quran is the word of Allah (SWT) revealed to Prophet Muhammad (SAW) over a period of 23 years, and it contains 114 chapters (surahs) of varying lengths and topics. 

Reciting the Quran is a form of worship for us Muslims that brings many rewards and blessings. It also enhances our faith, knowledge, understanding, and guidance. During Ramadan, Muslims aim to complete at least one full recitation of the Quran.

Read about the Benefits of Reciting Quran: A Spiritual Journey

Reading the Quran in Ramadan creates a sense of responsibility towards Allah (SWT) that may not be felt at other times. As we go deeper into the words of Allah (SWT), we understand that the Quran repeatedly emphasizes the importance of following Allah’s Almighty rules, avoiding sins, refraining from gossip, and being truthful. This is particularly important during Ramadan when we strive to protect our fasts. Spending time with the Quran helps us remember these teachings while we are pure and free from wrongdoing. 

Remembrance (Dhikr) of Allah

A fifth essential practice of Ramadan is remembrance (dhikr) of Allah (SWT), which means mentioning His name, attributes, praises, and supplications (Dua). Dhikr can be done at any time and place, with or without words or beads (tasbih). There are several ways to perform the Dhikr Allah, for instance, reciting Quranic verses, saying specific supplications (Duas), and uttering phrases like “SubhanAllah” (Glory be to Allah), “Alhamdulillah” (Praise be to Allah), and “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is the Greatest). 

Read our other blog on Make Dua More Often for Inner Peace

Remembering Allah (SWT) helps keep our hearts alive, peaceful, and mindful of Him. It also protects us from evil thoughts, temptations, doubts, and distractions. We perform more dhikr in Ramadan to enhance our spirituality and closeness to Allah (SWT). It serves as a way for us Muslims to maintain a continuous awareness of Allah’s (SWT) presence and to express gratitude and devotion during the blessed month of Ramadan.

The benefits of Ramadan for spiritual, physical, and mental health

Spiritual benefits

Ramadan has many benefits for our spiritual health. It increases our faith (iman), repentance (Tawbah), chances of forgiveness (Maghfirah), and seeking Paradise (Jannah). Fasting in Ramadan helps us become more aware of Allah (SWT). This awareness, called Taqwa, is like paying extra attention to please Allah (SWT) in everything we do. It’s a way of ensuring we’re careful and thoughtful in our actions to be closer to Allah (SWT).

Ramadan also helps us to control our Nafs and develop good habits such as honesty, truthfulness, kindness, forgiveness, and generosity. It is a time to focus on becoming a better person in our everyday actions. It also helps us to avoid bad habits such as lying, cheating, backbiting, envy, and anger. It’s a time to let go of negative behaviours and focus on being a better person.

Read more about how to control Nafs in Islam.

Fasting during Ramadan is a unique way for Muslims to strengthen their faith and enable a stronger connection with Allah (SWT). Abstaining from food and drink during the day helps them realize the struggles of some people in life. This realization enables Muslims to empathize and care for others, making them more forgiving and generous.

Physical benefits

Ramadan has many benefits for our physical health. It detoxifies the body from harmful substances and improves the digestive system. It also boosts the immune system and reduces the risk of chronic diseases such as hypertension and obesity. Benefits of fasting also include significant weight loss, reduced inflammation, and diminished body fat without compromising muscle mass. It enhances insulin sensitivity, lowering the risk of diabetes while also decreasing cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

Ramadan also helps us to regulate eating habits and adopt a balanced diet. It also allows us to control our weight and maintain a healthy body mass index (BMI). The holy month encourages individuals to be mindful of their food choices and portion sizes during the pre-dawn and evening meals, known as suhoor and iftar, respectively.

The fasting period fosters a heightened awareness of nutritional intake, promoting a conscious effort to include a variety of essential nutrients in the diet. As individuals refrain from consuming food and drink from dawn to sunset, there is an opportunity to break away from unhealthy eating patterns and embrace a more structured and wholesome approach to nourishment.

Mental benefits

Ramadan has numerous benefits for our mental health. It improves our cognitive abilities like memory, concentration, and creativity. Additionally, it positively impacts our emotional well-being, reducing stress, anxiety, and depression.

Ramadan also helps us develop positive attitudes like optimism, gratitude, and contentment while also allowing us to overcome negative emotions such as fear, sadness, and anger. Being grateful is a powerful feeling that can contribute to improving mental health by making us happier, less sad, and more content with our lives.

Fasting during Ramadan can have several positive effects on your mental health. It can help you control yourself, empathize with others, stay focused on the present, sleep better, connect with people, and be thankful. These benefits can help you develop a more positive outlook on life and improve your overall well-being, not only for the month of Ramadan but for the entire year.

Conclusion: Carrying the Spirit of Ramadan Forward

As our topic of Ramadan comes to an end, let’s remember it’s more than just fasting. It’s a chance for Muslims to get closer to Allah(SWT), to think about others, and to become better people. Ramadan teaches us to be patient, to share what we have, and to remember the important things in life.






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