Muslims around the world are preparing for the begining of the holy period of Ramadan. Ramadan is the ninth month as per the Islamic dating system, the Hijri calendar.
The unified date to begin is Monday May 6, 2019 given that the new moon was not sighted across the world. Unlike the Gregorian calendar where days of a month are fixed, the Hijri calendar depends on the sighting of the moon.
Each month ends with 29 or 30 days’ maximum. With an unsighted moon on the 29th (May 4), Muslims complete the preceding month of Sha’ban to 30 days (May 5) with Ramadan kicking off the next day without fail.
Ramadan is a period during which the prophet Muhammad says the doors of hell are firmly sealed and the doors to heaven are wide open.
Islamic history has it that the Qur’an was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad during Ramadan.
The fasting day starts with a pre-dawn meal called suhoor and ends with a meal called iftaar.
Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam and is compulsory for all Muslims except those who are exempted – among others the terminally ill, travelers, elderly, pregnant, breastfeeding, or menstruating.
Many pilgrims from around the world travel to the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah for Umrah during Ramadan. Umrah is known as the lesser Hajj, a pilgrimage that can be undertaken at any time of the year.