Ramadan is an important Muslim holiday. The Muslim calendar is based on the cycles of the moon, which means that months are slightly different than in the Western calendar you are probably more familiar with. On the Muslim calendar, Ramadan is the ninth month. During Ramadan, Muslims fast (don't eat or drink) during daylight and eat only when it is dark.
Muslims believe that the Quran -- the holy book of the Islamic religion -- appeared from Allah (the Muslim god) during Ramadan. During Ramadan, Muslims think about their faith and less about simple things of daily life. The fast is considered "bad" if someone:
- Says mean or false things
- Talks about someone behind their back
- Says a false oath (promises to do something but doesn't do it)
- Is greedy
During Ramadan, Muslims pray the usual five times each day and also say a special night prayer. They often go to pray at the mosque for a few hours.
At night on the 27th of Ramadan, Muslims celebrate the Laylat-al-Qadr (Night of Power) is celebrated. Muslims believe that it was on this night that Allah first gave the words of the Quran to Muhammad, a very important figure in Islamic tradition.
At the end of Ramadan, of the first day of the next month, Shawwal, Muslims celebrate a three-day feast and holiday called Id-al-Fitr.
Because the Muslim calendar is a lunar one, Ramadan occurs at different times each year.
Author: Katie Ransohoff, high school student writer