Facts About Ramadan That Will Interest Your Kids
You know you have kids when you’re constantly peppered with questions of all sorts of subjects, ranging from nature to the existence of ghosts. Children want to know everything. Smart parents know that these questions are a reason for constant eye-rolling. But they present you with several teachable moments and the opportunity to pass on a lesson or some knowledge. Whether Christian or Muslim, children will naturally have questions about Ramadan that they will want answered. Or maybe it’s just you, needing to teach them about Ramadan. As with everything, there are basic facts about Ramadan that will interest your children.
Want to Know Some Facts About Ramadan?
Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam. These five pillars are mandatory for every true Muslim. It is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and the time when Muslims across the world will fast during the hours of daylight.
It is also the time when the verses of the Qur'an were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. Ramadan is a time of worship and contemplation. A time to strengthen family and community ties. Muslims believe that Jannah, the gates of Heaven are open and the gates of Hell are locked for the duration of Ramadan.
The date for the start of Ramadan is slightly different each year, depending on the position of the moon. Once Ramadan starts, Muslims should not eat or drink between sunrise and sunset. Muslims get up early before dawn (Fajr) and have a light meal. This time is known as Suhoor. At the end of each day (Maghrib), Muslims traditionally break their fast with a meal called the Iftar. Following the custom of Prophet Muhammad, the fast is often broken with dates, then followed by a prayer and dinner. These are often big meals enjoyed together by lots of Muslims. Sometimes markets open after Iftar and stay open during the night.
This usually continues for thirty days, but sometimes twenty-nine days. The Muslim year is a lunar (moon) year, so Ramadan moves forward by ten or eleven days each year. The day Ramadan begins is decided by the sighting of the new moon.
Fasting is supposed to teach Muslims about patience and spiritual things. It is a time for Muslims to think about how the poor and homeless suffer without lots of food. It helps Muslims to be more obedient, and less greedy. During Ramadan, Muslims ask to be forgiven for their sins, and they pray for help in stopping them from doing bad things.
The term Ramadan came from the Arabic word Ramida which means scorching heat. In Muslim dominated countries, work hours are shortened to give additional time for prayers. Fasting is started with a prayer (dua) of intention (niyah). Not everyone has to observe Ramadan. Children do not have to fast. They should start when they reach the age of puberty, so long as they are healthy.
Ramadan concludes with the celebration of Eid al-Fitr.