What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is a month of fasting that Muslims observe every year. It is to mark the month that Muslims believe the Qur’an, the holy book of Islam, was revealed by Allah (the Islamic word for God) to the Prophet Muhammad.
The dates of Ramadan change every year because it is based on the Islamic calendar, which is based on the cycles of the moon. The first night of Ramadan is when the new crescent moon first appears, then follows the moon’s full cycle until the last crescent moon disappears.
During Ramadan, Muslims don’t eat between sunrise and sunset. Because of this, they wake up before the sun comes up and have a meal called “suhur”, then have another meal after the sun goes down, called “iftar”. Fasting can be hard – imagine how hungry you are if you miss lunch! But it reminds Muslims of the suffering of those less fortunate than them, and makes them appreciate all the nice things in life that they believe Allah has given them – including food!
Muslims also have to refrain from other things, as well as food, including smoking and sinful behaviour, so Muslim children must be extra well behaved! They are also encouraged to be more charitable during Ramadan, so many people donate money to charity during the month.
The Qur’an & Prayer
Reading the Qur’an is also an important part of Ramadan, and Muslims are encouraged to read the entire book over the thirty days of the festival.
Prayer is very important to Muslims, and they pray five times a day. These prayers are called “Salah” and involve standing, kneeling, sitting and bowing. These prayers happen at set times during the day, and are done on a special prayer mat. During Ramadan there is also an extra prayer time at night. These prayers are called “Tarawih”.
At the end of Ramadan, Muslims have a big celebration called “Eid ul-Fitr”, which means “the Festival of the Breaking of the Fast”. This is to thank Allah for the strength He gave Muslims as they didn’t eat as much through Ramadan. In this celebration, Muslims dress in their best clothes, eat a feast of good food and share gifts with their friends and families.
The Five Pillars of Islam
Ramadan is one of the “Five Pillars of Islam”. The Five Pillars are the things a Muslim must do to lead a good life. They consist of:
- Shahadah – a statement you must say in front of people. The statement is “There is nothing worth worshipping but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger.”
- Salah – praying five times a day.
- Zakah – giving money to people in need.
- Sawm – fasting during Ramadan.
- Hajj – travelling to the holy city of Mecca.
To learn a bit more about the Five Pillars of Islam, check out this video from BBC Bitesize:
How do you teach your early years about Ramadan? Let us know on our socials at @thatnurserylife!