Dubai (AsiaNews) - Millions of Muslims
in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Yemen,
Kuwait, Jordan, Egypt,
Tunisia and Algeria are
beginning the holy month of Ramadan, that with his fasting is one of the five
pillars of Islam. In Oman, Iran, Syria
Ramadan will begin tomorrow. The period is calculated based on the sighting of
the first crescent moon in the night sky and this will vary from area to area.
With Ramadan, Muslims commemorate Allah's revelation of the first verses of the Koran to Muhammad, by his sending the angel Gabriel. Every person who has passed the age of puberty and is mentally and physically healthy is obligated to fast. Tradition has it that the daily fast begins when you can distinguish a white thread from a black thread. In villages and cities it is announced by the muezzin call to prayer of 'Al Fajr (morning prayer). Fasting ends at sunset with the Al - Magrib (sunset prayer) which announces the iftar dinner to be shared with the whole family.
Fasting is one of the crucial aspects of Ramadan and is one of the five pillars (duties) of Islam. Its establishment dates from the second year of '"hijra" (622 AD). The period corresponds to the flight of Mohammed from Mecca to the oasis of Yathrib renamed Medina (Madinat al Nabi, the city of the prophet), to escape the hostility of the tribes who saw the leader and his followers a threat to their interests. He instituted the fast among his followers to nourish their spirit and morale, thus reminding them of those who have nothing to eat. For this reason, during Ramadan, in addition to fasting and prayer, the people carry out acts of charity towards the poor and the sick.
Those exempted from fasting are: people with psychological problems, children under the age of puberty, the elderly, the sick, travelers, pregnant women, nursing mothers, or women who have just begun the menstrual cycle. Whoever does not pray and fast still must carry out a daily act of charity towards the poor. As an exercise, many parents make their children observe a mini-fast (half day).
During the holy month, many Muslims go to Mecca for Umrah. Alongside the Haji it is one of the pilgrimages prescribed by the Koran.
The last ten days of Ramadan are the most important, during which the Layalat al-Qadr, the night of power, during which Allah revealed the Koran to Muhammad, is commemorated.
The period ends with the feast of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of fasting. For three days all the families organize banquets and feasts and exchange gifts.