Q: What is Ramadan?
People use a Lunar (Moon/Hijri) calendar, and a Solar (Georgian) calendar (the common). The lunar calendar considers a full round of the moon phases (shown below) as one month, which becomes either 29 or 30 days.
The lunar year is 12 months. The 9th month is Ramadan, according to Hijri calendar.( Disclaimer: I’m just linking to Wikipedia, didn’t fact-check it).
Some nations are also using the lunar calendar, like China, Japan, Korea, Nepal & Vietnam; where it is used mainly to determine traditional holidays. The country which uses it as the official calendar is Saudi Arabia (yay!… I guess).
In Ramadan, adult Muslims do not eat or drink during daylight (i.e. from dawn until sunset). The action of not eating & drinking is called ‘fasting’ (단식). Again, we fast during the daylight ONLY, people eat normally after sunset.
Q: Why Ramadan?
Well, since you are reading this page, then you have an electronic device and internet connection. There is a good chance you never actually starved. Whenever you feel hungry, you always respond. Do you know how does the poor feel, feeling the hunger but finding nothing? You can imagine, you can try skipping meals, but how about trying to fast for one day, during summer, winter, fall and spring? Each season usually brings a bit longer or a bit shorter hours of daylight. This way, you will really feel it.
I know how does it feel. I experienced Ramadan in all seasons.
Hence, many Muslims respond to this solidarity by donating to the poor with money and food. Most neighborhoods in Muslim countries will have group meals every day during Ramadan for everyone. For this reason, people greet each other when Ramadan starts by saying “Ramadan Kareem”; literally “Ramadan is generous”.
Also, it has health benefits. You may search: health benefits of fasting.
Q: Sounds difficult to do, isn’t it?
At the end of the first and maybe second day, you might feel dizzy or have a headache, especially @the end of the first day (I do!). This is your body adjusting to the new diet, especially due to stopping your regular consumables during the day, like coffee. Yet the rest of the month will go smoothly.
Of course if the person will be affected negatively by fasting, like patients and the elderly, then they should not fast; if they do, then it is considered a sin! Islam tells people to take care of their bodies and conscience, hence avoiding alcohol and other narcotics.
Q: Really? then you’re saying Muslims are healthy?
I did not say that, Craig. Can we assume that your family members have the same personality as you? I bet you’re different from your siblings, parents, cousins..etc. Generalizing is wrong. At the end of the day, we’re humans who are weak sometimes, who misunderstand sometimes, and who are stupid sometimes… or many times =P
Q: So how does it feel fasting every day for a month?
During Ramadan, your body reflects your eating habits. If you eat healthily during the night, you will feel energetic during the day. If you have many unhealthy food, you will have little energy and feel exhausted. Since you can’t have coffee or things that cover up your messy consumption, your body will honestly tell you the effect of your food on it on a daily basis.
I tried it and it is quite accurate. Therefore, Ramadan for me is like a one-month strict healthy diet, to keep my energy up during the day.
Q: I have more questions.
Youtube: What is islam, literally. Detailed, by Yusuf Estes, an American scholar; he starts by explaining the word “islam” linguistically. Another scholar to search on youtube: Abdel Rahman Murphy