Ramadan began from sunset Sunday for some and Sunset Monday for others . This is dependent on the moon sightings and the particular Mosque people attend. Ramadan is a period of prayer, fasting, charity-giving and self-accountability for Muslims. Children look forward to Ramadan and Eid so if you are caring for a Muslim child here is some information to help you.
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, which consists of 12 months and lasts for about 354 days. The word “Ramadan” is derived from an Arabic word for intense heat, scorched ground and shortness of food and drink. It is considered to be the most holy and blessed month.
Ramadan honours the time when Allah, (God) via the angel Gabriel, revealed the first verses of the Qur’an, the holy book of Islam, to a caravan trader named Muhammad (pbuh). This occurred on Laylat Al-Qadr, one of the last 10 nights of the month. Ramadan is a period of prayer, fasting, charity-giving and self-accountability for Muslims in the United Kingdom. Muslims believe that fasting cleanses the body, heart and soul and the practice reminds them of the suffering of the poor.
When does it begin?
Ramadan begins with moon sighting and ends when the first crescent of the new moon is sighted again, marking the new lunar month’s start. Eid-al-Fitr is the Islamic holiday that marks the end of Ramadan. Eid al-Fitr (Id-ul-Fitr) celebrations including wearing new clothes, exchanging gifts, eating festive food and attending special services at a Mosque or place of worship. During Eid Muslims usually give a special gift of money (Zakah) to charity, it is collected and given to Muslims who are poor or in need.
Ramadan in 2016 will start on Monday 6th of June or Tuesday 7th of June dependent on the moon sightings and the particular Mosque people attend and will continue until the new crescent moon is sighted (29-30 days).
What is expected of you?
The holy month of Ramadan is about cleansing the body, heart and soul and the practice reminds Muslims of the suffering of the poor. By abstaining from food, water, smoking and sexual intimacy during daylight hours Muslims participate in the religious ritual of fasting. However there are specific guidelines and rules that apply to determine who should and shouldn’t fast depending on their situation and rules pertaining to what invalidates the fast.
Who has to fast?
Beginning at puberty (around age 12) Muslims take part in the month long dawn-to-sunset fast that is the hallmark of Ramadan. Young children, pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and ill people are not expected to fast, sometimes the ill, sick and elderly who are exempt from fasting will donate money to the poor instead. Therefore any foster children in your care do not have to fast unless they are over the age of puberty and even then if they are able to do so physically. It is frowned upon to encourage young children to fast as they are not equipped with the physical stamina and psychological willpower to manage without food and water for such long periods of time.
The Department of Health has produced a guide to healthy fasting during Ramadan, which aims to help people avoid health complications when they fast.
There appears to be a common misconception by non-Muslims that fasting is mandatory upon all Muslims regardless of their personal circumstances.
What else happens during Ramadan?
Ramadan is also a time for many Muslims to donate to charity by participating in food drives for the poor, organizing a collection or charity event, and other voluntary activities.
People of Islamic faith are encouraged to read the entire Qur’an during Ramadan. Some Muslims recite the entire Qur’an by the end of Ramadan through special prayers known as Tarawih, which are held in the mosques every night of the month, during which a section of the Qur’an is recited.
Children look forward to Ramadan and Eid because families cook and eat nice foods after opening their fast and gather more, pray more and give gifts of food, clothes and toys on Eid. For young children it can be an exciting time.
More information on Ramadan can be found here:
Here are some healthy meal ideas to give a varied and balanced diet during Ramadan. They include ingredients from the five major food groups. http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Healthyramadan/Pages/fastingdietplan.aspx
Interesting facts about what nullifies the fast…
- Using suppositories= Does not nullify fasting
- Applying eye-liner= Does not nullify fasting
- Showering= Does not nullify fasting
- Using nutrient injections= Nullifies fasting
- Having wet dreams= Does not nullify fasting
- Using asthma inhalers= Does not nullify fasting unless it goes down to throat
- Using eye drops= Does not nullify fasting unless it goes down to throat
- Using ear drops= Does not nullify fasting unless it goes down to throat
- Using oxygen = Does not nullify fasting, unless mixed with water or medicine and that goes down to throat
- Using intramuscular, intravenous or intradermal medical injections = Does not nullify fasting
- Wearing make-up = Does not nullify fasting
- Intentional vomiting= Nullifies fasting
- Applying nicotine patches= Does not nullify fasting
- Using antiseptic gargle = Nullifies fasting
- Giving blood for analysis = Does not nullify fasting
- Tasting food without swallowing= Does not nullify fasting, but only done when necessary
- Unintentional vomiting = Does not nullify fasting, unless swallowed even if partially
- Nasal bleeding and bloody tooth extraction = Does not nullify fasting
- Swimming and diving = Does not nullify fasting, but better to be practiced later
- Using toothpaste = Does not nullify fasting, unless swallowed even if partially
- Using penicillin injections = Does not nullify fasting
- Using insulin injections = Does not nullify fasting
- Swallowing saliva and sputum = Does not nullify fasting
- Using and smelling perfumes = Does not nullify fasting
- Using nose drops = Nullifies fasting if it goes down to throat
- Using lip balm = Does not nullify fasting, providing none of it is swallowed
- Using miswak = Does not nullify fasting, but inadvisable if wet
- Intentionally inhaling aloeswood incense= Nullifies fasting, unless just smelt
- Taking anti-stroke sublingual tablets = Nullifies fasting
- The information on what nullifies fasts was taken from Information provided by UAE official Fatwa Centre General Authority of Islamic Affairs & Endowments.