Islam and Ramadan – A Guide for Volunteers Islam
Islam is the second largest religion in the world with over 1 billion followers. There are around 2 million Muslims in Britain, around 2.7% of the population.
The word 'Islam' in Arabic means submission to the will of God. Followers of Islam are called Muslims. Muslims believe there is one true God Allah (the Arabic word for God).
Muslims believe that Islam was revealed over 1400 years ago in Mecca, Arabia through a man called Muhammad. Muhammad is so revered that it is usual for Muslims to say 'peace be upon him' whenever they mention his name.
Muhammad is believed by Muslims to be the last prophet sent by God (Allah) According to Muslims, God sent prophets to mankind to teach them how to live according to His law. Jesus (Isa), Moses (Musa) and Abraham (Ibrahim) are other respected prophets.
The Muslim holy book is called the Qur'an. Muslims believe this to be the word of Allah as dictated to Muhammad. They also have the Sunnah, which Muslims believe to be the practical example of Prophet Muhammad.
Muslims follow the five basic Pillars of Islam. They are an essential part of Muslim life. The Five Pillars of Islam are:
- the declaration of faith (Shahada)
- praying five times a day (Salat)
- giving money to charity (Zakah)
- fasting (Sawm)
- a pilgrimage to Makkah at least once in a lifetime (Hajj)
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and a time when Muslims across the world will fast during the hours of daylight. Ramadan is the fourth of the five pillars of Islam.
The Muslim holy book, the Qur'an was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad during this month. The actual night that the Qur'an was revealed is a night known as Lailut ul-Qadr ('The Night of Power').
How do Muslims keep Ramadan?
Almost all Muslims try to give up bad habits during Ramadan, and some will try to become better Muslims by praying more or reading the Qur'an. Many Muslims will attempt to read the whole of the Qur'an at least once during the Ramadan period. Many will also attend special services in Mosques during which the Qur'an is read. Fasting is intended to help teach Muslims self-discipline, self-restraint and generosity. It also reminds them of the suffering of the poor, who may rarely get to eat well. It is common to have one meal (known as the suhoor), just before sunrise and another (known as the iftar), directly after sunset.
When is Ramadan?
Next year, Ramadhan will start on 6th June 2016 ending approximately on 6th July 2016. Students will be observing fasting from 2.48am until 9.25 pm. They are not allowed to drink water or have food during this timeframe. The end of Ramadan is marked by a big celebration called 'Eid-ul-Fitr', the Festival of the Breaking of the Fast. The festival begins when the first sight of the new moon is seen in the sky.
Will all students be taking part in Ramadan?
Students who have medical or health issues are exempt from fasting.
Many students will wish to prayer several times during the day. Devout followers will adhere to the prayer timetable outlined by their mosque, whereas others may be less strict. Ask your student if they wish to prayer and agree appropriate times. Make sure the student has access to the Prayer room or a private room during this time.
Download the above information: Islam and Ramadan - A Guide for Volunteers