Ramadan 2020: Ramadan History, Facts, and Rules

Ramadan 2020: Ramadan is the Islamic calendar's ninth and holiest month. Traditionally the holy book of the Quran was revealed during Ramadan to the prophet Muhammad. Muslims use Ramadan's month to concentrate on their relationship with God, reflect on their lives, and spend quality time with friends and family. Ramadan fasts are also one of the five foundations of Islam. This article provides all the information related to Ramadan 2020, Ramadan history, Ramadan facts, Ramadan foods, and much more information related to Ramadan 2020 are provided here. Also, know the Ramadan Calendar, the start and end date of Ramadan and Ramadan Rules here.

by Niranjani Jesentha Kumari Prabagararaj

Updated: Apr 24, 2020 21:40 IST

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What is Ramadan?

Muslims do not eat or drink between dawn and sunset during the month of Ramadan. It's called fasting. Fasting during Ramadan is necessary because it helps Muslims to devote themselves to their religion and to come closer to Allah, or God. Fasting is one of Islam's Five Pillars and is the basis of how Muslims live their lives. The other foundations are faith, prayer, charity, and the pilgrimage to Mecca, the holy city. Also, Ramadan is a time for spiritual reflection, fasting, doing good deeds, and spending time with friends and family.

History of Ramadan

Though Ramadan's core rituals and importance have remained unchanged since 622, the spread of Islam around the globe gave the global Ramadan experience texture and diversity. In Ottoman days, drummers in Turkey woke people up for the pre-dawn meal, and likewise in Morocco, a nafar (town crier) dressed in traditional Moroccan dress and leather slippers roamed the streets to sound like a whistle, trumpet, or daff. Also to be found in Syria, and future Tunisia and Algeria were those special Ramadan callers.

In Egypt, a lantern or fanoos from Ramadan, probably originating during the 10th-12th century Fatimid dynasty, became a symbol of the sacred month – perhaps to symbolize the spiritual light and blessings that Ramadan brings. Intricate lanterns are seen today illuminating houses, shops, and street lining. It was also said that Egypt had instigated the 'iftar cannon,' or 'midfa al-iftar,' where a cannon was fired to declare the time to break the fast dramatically. This practice is said to have started about 200 years ago, although some historians trace it back to the Mamluk era of the 15th century, when a new cannon was being tested by the sultan in Cairo at the time of sunset prayer. Locals thought the sultan was signalling the time to break their fast, and the sultan made it a regular Ramadan ritual, seeing how much happiness it gave his men.

Even Ramadan entered the poetry realm and captured the Sufi poets' imagination, serving as their muse while penning poems of love to the holy month. 

It was incumbent to distribute the zakat-ul-fitr before the fast-breaking holiday, known as Eid ul-Fitr, which marks Ramadan's end. It was proclaimed by Prophet Muhammad as a day of worship and celebration, starting with a special communal prayer. It was customary to start the day by eating something sweet that gave rise to the 'Sweet Festival' fond nickname, or 'Sweet Eid.' In the time of the Prophet, Eid morning began with a basic breakfast of dates, but the spread of Islam across different lands departed from the modest beginnings and produced a variety of sweet dishes. Like sheer-kurma, the Somali Eid bread filled with sugar and yoghurt, a milky dessert of vermicelli, nuts, and dates popular in the Indian subcontinent, or cambaabur.

Initially observed by about one hundred early Muslims in the seventh century, this is now emulated by 1,8 billion people around the world, who continue to observe the prophetic tradition while marking Ramadan in their own special cultural ways.

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Ramadan Calendar

The Ramadan day starts from 24 April 2020 and ends on 23rd May 2020. The Sehr and Iftaar timings will vary for different cities. 

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Ramadan Rules

  • In the month of Ramadan, Muslims let go with their family and friends of worldly pleasures and fast

  • From dawn till night, five daily prayers are observed

  • For adult Muslims, fasting is mandatory, except for those who are seriously ill, pregnant, breastfeeding, menstruating, or diabetic

  • During Ramadan, Muslims refrain from consuming food, drink, smoking, and intimacy with their spouses

  • Also, they don't engage in any kind of false speech, threatening, cursing, lying, and fighting that can undermine the fasting rewards

Ramadan Food

Traditionally iftar begins with the consumption of dates, which contain edible fiber, sugar, and slow carbohydrate sources. Dates are also considered to be the food with which the Islamic prophet Muhammed broke his fast during Ramadan, along with the milk and water of camels. Iftar typically includes food from all food groups; fruits and vegetables, grains, nuts, beans/meat, and milk products. Often widely eaten are the hydrating foods and fluids.

Traditional Meal includes:

  • Mahshi in Egypt

  • Biryani in India 

Suhoor is a simpler food than iftar but still needs to be safe to have ample energy to last through the long hours of fasting. Protein-rich foods, including eggs, meats, and dairy are favored here. Often common are foods like oats that are slow to digest but high in fibre.

The end of Ramadan is marked by a large celebration called the Fast Breaking Festival, called Eid al-Fitr. For the occasion, special food is cooked, including a specific focus on sweets.

Ramadan Facts

In the Islamic Calendar, Ramadan falls on the ninth lunar month. The lunar calendar means that the start of each month is dependent on various factors, such as the moon sighting. Like all Islamic months, therefore, every year, the month of Ramadan rotates.

It is believed that the month of Ramadan is the month in which the Holy Qur'an was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as guidance to all humanity.

Ramadan is the Fasting month. Fasting (sawm), is one of Islam's Five Pillars.

Eating dates is a common way to make a fast break. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is said to have used dates to break from his fast. The health benefits of the dates are substantial. They contain natural sugars; they are high in protein, they are excellent for digestion, they are rich in countless vitamins and nutrients and much more.

Ramadan finishes off with Eid ul-Fitr, a festival that follows the fasting time. It is widely recognized as a day of joy and gratitude to Allah for help in making the spiritual month come true. It is a day of thanksgiving, prayer, peace, and joy.

However, in effect, Ramadan isn't the same for everyone. There are people out there who observe Ramadan to begin their fast without the suhoor, nor to break it by the iftar.

What does Ramadan Mubarak mean?

The most famous of the greetings during the holy month is "Ramadan Mubarak," which translates as "blessed" from the Arabic term-the word, therefore, means "Blessed Ramadan," frequently used in the same manner as wishing anyone a "Happy Ramadan."

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