May 2019


The Month Of Ramadan
May 2019




Muslims devote more time to worship during the period of Ramadan.

The holy month of Ramadan is the most important religious event for Muslims around the world. Ramadan marks the revelation of the holy Quran to Prophet Muhammad.

Words: Tatiyana Welikala and Swetha Rathnajothi.

Photography: BT Images.

Muslims follow the Islamic calendar known as ‘Hijiri' where the origin of the calendar dates back to one of the most significant events: the travel of Prophet Muhammad from Makkah to Madinah in Saudi Arabia. Thus, two years from the emergence of the Islamic calendar, it is believed that the traditions of Ramadan were initiated.

Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam. At this time, Muslims abstain from eating or drinking from dawn to sunset with the exception of those who are ill, elderly, or pregnant. It is a period to practise purity through self-control, and to engage in religious deeds and refrain from undesirable attitudes and behaviours.

Fast is broken at sunset each day, by consuming dates and drinking water, as stipulated by Prophet Muhammad. Families and friends gather together for Ifthar - break fast ritual - to share a fellowship meal of special nutritious porridge known as Kanji which is served with side dishes of samosa, pakora, rolls and fruits.

Ramadan is also a time of prayer. In addition to the five daily prayers, Muslims devote more time to worship, especially early in the morning and at late night in order to express the principal meaning of Ramadan.

While men worship at the mosque, women remain at home meditating upon the holy words of the Quran. Some mosques have designated prayer rooms for women. Children are taught the virtues of patience, charity, generosity and empathy: values appreciated by Allah.

While Muslim students enjoy a brief school vacation, they still attend religious classes (Madrasa), which play an important role in building character.

Devotees begin and end fasting with the sighting of the new moon, and this year, Ramadan begins on May 5th. The festival is celebrated when the sighting of the new moon is confirmed by Maulavis (Muslim religious leaders) and reliable witnesses. This year, Eid-ul-Fitr is expected to be on June 5th.

Observers of Ramadan help the less fortunate with acts of charity known as Zakatul-Fitr. On behalf of their family, the heads of the household donate approximately two and half kilograms of dry rations. This specific weight dates back to the earliest practices of Zakatul-Fitr. The festival begins with the recitation of Takbir, an Arabic phrase translated as ‘God is the Greatest' that is heard in houses and mosques.

Muslims in Sri Lanka gather for the traditional festive meal; Biryani. After a month of fasting, this exuberant meal provides a burst of flavour and spices...

On the festival day, families don new clothes and attend prayers held at mosques, prayer halls and public spaces such as Galle Face Green. Once they have recited prayers, they exchange greetings and wishes with relatives and friends. Muslims in Sri Lanka gather for the traditional festive meal; Biryani. After a month of fasting, this exuberant meal provides a burst of flavour and spices, and thus Biryani has been an integral part of Muslim customs for generations. It is prepared by cooking rice in a spicy meat broth. Fried chicken, chutneys and salads accompany the meal. Biryani is served on a Sawan so that family members can relish the meal together. Sweets and desserts such as watalappan and muscat, along with traditional Sri Lankan sweets including moong kavum, aluwa and kavum are enjoyed on the festival day. Mouthwatering faludas are also laid out on the festive table. Families visit relatives and exchange greetings and gifts to celebrate the joy of the festival. The holy month is observed with unity, devoutness and the spirit of giving. As is the practice for centuries, the fellowship of Muslims continues with Ramadan, reinvigorating faith and happiness.

Information provided by: Ash-Sheikh A H M Minhaj Mufthi (Kashfiy) and Ash-Sheikh A M Muhammed Mafahim (Ahsani), All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama.

 

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    Hijiri, the Islamic calendar.

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    Devotees gather at public spaces, mosques, and prayer halls on the day of Eid-ul-Fitr for the festive prayer.

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    Ifthar meal includes: kanji, samosa, rolls and dates.

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    Traditional festive meal – Biryani served in a Sawan.

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    Ramadan is a period to practise purity through self-control, and to engage in religious acts.

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