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Valley News – A practical guide for the fasting month of Ramadan

Dubai, United Arab Emirates – Hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world began fasting on Wednesday or Thursday from sunrise to sunset of the month of Ramadan, a time of contemplation, strength and intense worship .

Here are some questions and answers about the most sacred month of Islam and how it is observed:

Why Muslims fast?

Fasting is intended to draw the faithful closer to God through sacrifice, remembrance and elevated spirituality. It is also a month of gratitude in which the faithful are reminded of the suffering of the less fortunate.

Similar to a detoxification, fasting is usually more challenging at first, especially when habits such as caffeine and cigarettes are abandoned during the day.

Islam asks the faithful to also try to turn away from worldly pleasures and focus on one's actions, thoughts and actions.

Fasting is seen as a form of physical and spiritual purification. Muslims usually donate to charities during the month and feed the hungry. Many spend more time in mosques during Ramadan and use their free time to recite the Qur'an.

How do the Muslims rush?

Muslims should refrain from eating, drinking or smoking every day from sunrise to sunset throughout the lunar month. around 30 days. A single sip of water or a puff of a cigarette is enough to invalidate the fast.

Sexual intercourse is also prohibited during the all-day fast, and Muslims are encouraged to avoid gossip and arguments.

Preparing for fasting Muslims wake up at night for a pre-dawn meal called suhoor . Often, small food will include vegetables and fruits, tea, yogurt, dates and strong foods such as beans and lentils.

In many cities of the Muslim world, volunteers awaken the faithful suhoor marching through the streets before dawn singing and beating drums.

How do Muslims break their fast?

Muslims traditionally break their fast like the Prophet Muhammad did about 1,400 years ago, with a sip of water and some dates at sunset. After the evening prayers, a large party known as iftar is shared with family and friends. Iftar is a social event as much as a gastronomic adventure. Across the Arab world, apricot juice is a staple food iftar . In South Asia and Turkey, yogurt-based drinks are popular.

Every night of Ramadan, mosques and aid organizations set up tents and tables for the public to serve free meals iftar

Can Muslims? Will they be exempt from fasting?

Children, the elderly and the sick are exempt, as are women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or menstruating. Travelers, including athletes who participate in tournaments outside the home, are also exempt from fasting.

Muslims living in the northern hemisphere accelerate especially during the long days of this year, with sunset until 9 p.m. in cities like London. For those who live further north, Muslim scholars recommend that the fasters adhere to the time zones of the nearest Muslim city or country.

How Muslim-majority countries observe Ramadan

Many Muslim-majority countries slow down the sale of alcohol during the month of Ramadan, limiting when it can be sold and to whom. In some countries, people who eat in public during the day can be fined or even imprisoned, although adherence to the Ramadan etiquette by non-Muslims is often a personal option and not applied by the police.

In the United Arab Emirates, for example, which has large populations of Western expatriates in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, restaurants use curtains to hide customers who eat during the day. In Saudi Arabia, restaurants simply close during the day.

What are some traditions of Ramadan?

Once the beginning of the holy month is declared, Muslims share greetings such as "Ramadan Kareem" and "Ramadan Mubarak" through text messages, calls and emails to family and friends.

Another hallmark of Ramadan is the night prayer in the mosque among the Sunni Muslims called taraweeh .

The Egyptians have the tradition of the fanoos a Ramadan lantern that is often the centerpiece on a table iftar or is hung in the shop windows and from the balconies . In the Arabian Gulf countries, wealthy families have majlises where they open their doors for people to go at all hours of the night for food, tea, coffee and conversation.

Ramadan shops are becoming more common in five-star hotels that offer splendid and expensive meals from dusk to dawn. While Ramadan is a boon to retailers in the Middle East and South Asia, critics say that the holy month is increasingly commercialized.

Scholars have also been disturbed by the proliferation of nightly television programs during Ramadan. In Pakistan, live game shows give away gifts to promote their sponsors. In the Arab world, one-month soap operas raise millions of dollars in advertising.

How do Muslims mark the end of Ramadan?

The end of Ramadan is marked by intense worship as Muslims seek to have their prayers answered during "Laylat al-Qadr" or "Night of Destiny". It is on this night, which falls during the last 10 nights of Ramadan, that Muslims believe that God sent the Angel Gabriel to the Prophet Muhammad and revealed the first verses of the Koran.

After these intense nights of prayer, the end of Ramadan is met with a three-day party called Eid al-Fitr. Children often receive new clothes, gifts and cash.

Muslims attend Eid prayers early in the morning the day after Ramadan. Families often spend the day in the parks, eating in the sun for the first time in a month.

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