Ramadan 2024: What is Ramadan and Everything You Need to Know
Are you new to Islam or just curious to know about the month of Ramadan and how long it lasts?
This article will provide you with vital information that will answer all your questions.
Let’s start with how the Islamic calendar works.
The lunar nature of the Islamic calendar links its timekeeping to the moon’s phases.
A full lunation, or the period from one New Moon to the next, is the length of a month. As the Islamic calendar continues to revolve, Muslims around the world are already preparing to embark on another spiritually enriching journey – Ramadan 2024.
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is an annual observation that requires Muslims to fast for a full month.
This event is a central pillar of the Islamic faith and is marked by praying, giving alms to the needy, and fasting. Muslims around the globe are committed to participating in this activity as it is believed to come with an outnumbered amount of blessing.
Ramadan is observed every ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. It is a month when Muslims heighten their devotion, and physical/spiritual self-discipline towards refraining from eating and drinking from dawn (Fajr) to sunset (Maghrib).
The daily fast, known as sawm, begins with a pre-dawn meal called suhoor and ends at sunset with a meal known as iftar – an evening meal to break the fast.
While this month holds a primary focus on fasting, it also encouraged Muslims to engage in other additional activities such as recitation of the Holy Quran, zakat – giving charity to the needy, performing solat – five daily prayers, and staying away from any unclean practices.
Understanding Ramadan: Why Muslims Fast
Ramadan is more than a gift from Allah to Muslims, it is an act of worshiping and obeying Allah (God) as defined in the Holy Quran. Fasting during the month of Ramadan purifies the mind and soul, fosters empathy for the less fortunate, and strengthens self-control.
During Ramadan, Muslims tend to engage in meditation and self-reflection. It’s a chance to draw closer to the Islamic faith, seek forgiveness, and develop a deeper connection with Allah. The act of fasting, along with increased prayer and study of the Quran helps in strengthening this connection.
In addition, Ramadan fosters a strong sense of society. Muslims often gather together to perform special prayers at the mosque such as Taraweeh prayers, and Laylat’ul Qadr prayer as well. Community iftar meals are also common, where Muslims gather to eat and drink, reinforcing bonds and the spirit of giving.
Duration of Ramadan 2024
As mentioned in the beginning, the Islamic lunar calendar dictates the start and end of Ramadan, which is shorter than the Gregorian calendar that most of the world follows. The duration of Ramadan can vary from year to year due to this lunar calendar. It is expected to last for 30 days but may turn out to be observed for 29 days, depending on the sighting of the moon.
In 2023, Ramadan started on March 22, 2023, and ended on April 21, however, in 2024, Ramadan is expected to commence around the 25th of March and conclude around April 23.
Usually, Muslims around the world need to verify the dates with their local mosque or relevant authorities to ensure accurate observance of Ramadan. The variability of the lunar calendar often leads to a beautiful element of surprise, adding to the spiritual significance of the month.
Ramadan and Science: Health Benefits of Fasting
While fasting during Ramadan strengthens the faith of every Muslim, cleanse the mind and soul, and draws Muslims close to God, it also offers other exceptional health benefit that will surprise you.
1: Detoxification: Refraining from foods during some time of the day is one of the greatest ways of cleansing the body according to scientific research. It helps in detoxification, improving the functions of the organs whilst improving the function of the digestive system. Additionally, fasting helps in the improvement of blood circulation, burns unnecessary fats, kills unhealthy cells, and helps in the generation of new cells.
2: Appetite Suppressant: Our digestive system may sometimes leave us worrying about why we are never full after eating. People often eat due to boredom and it is uncontrollable because they have nothing to do and their stomach never stops demanding more food. Fasting can help solve this problem.
A collective experience from most Muslims who love to munch from time to time, reveals that after several days of fasting, they find themselves not hungry all the time. The science behind this is that the body gradually adapts to new changes but this is not an easy task that can be easily accomplished as it requires discipline. By indulging in Ramadan, your body gradually accustoms to this drill.
3: Metabolism: One of the more obvious results of fasting is alleviating obesity; fasting prompts the liver’s enzymes to break down cholesterol and fats to convert them into bile acid, which, in turn, converts to heat – ultimately stimulating faster metabolism. Naturally, fasting also decreases the appetite which reduces the hunger hormone levels in the body. You may just find your portion sizes being significantly smaller following a period of fasting.
4: Weight Loss: The term fasting during Ramadan means to refrain from food and drink. When the human body is undergoing the starvation process, it gradually burns fat and helps the body maintain good shape. This as a result also helps boost stored energy and increases daily activity
5: Immune System: Partaking in fasting promotes healing in the human body as it applies core focus to its immune system and metabolism as opposed to focusing on digestion, further enhancing muscle growth in the process.
The immune system is largely comprised of white blood cells and fasting encourages your body to recycle any old white blood cells which results in a healthier, more robust immune system. Your body regenerates stem cells that consist of red and white blood cells along with your platelets once your body consumes food again.
6: Improved Cardiovascular Function: Fasting can lead to a healthier heart, lowering cholesterol and promoting improved muscle performance along with enhanced blood vessel growth.
7: Radiant Complexion /Anti-ageing: According to a science report, fasting could potentially slow down the process at which one age, keeping one younger and fitter than current age for as long as possible and it could also potentially increase lifespan.
This is because, during fasting, some unhealthy cells in the body die due to starvation, leading to the reproduction of new cells, as well as the restoration of tissues and cells within the human body, degrading unnecessary cells in the process. This enables you to produce collagen, leading to healthier and more radiant skin.
Ramadan is a holy month in the Islamic faith marked by fasting, prayer, reflection, and community. In 2024, Muslims around the world will dedicate themselves to this sacred observance, which is expected to last from approximately 29 to 30 days. As Muslims embark on this journey, they will seek spiritual growth, self-discipline, and a deepened connection with the Islamic faith and fellow believers.
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