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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist


Muslims prepare for Ramadan in SA

Islam follows the lunar calendar and the sighting of the moon signals the start of the Islamic month of Ramadan.


Muslims across South Africa are preparing for the Islamic month of Ramadan which is expected to dawn in the middle of next week.

Depending on the sighting of the moon, the holy of month of Ramadan is expected to start after sunset on Wednesday, and the first fast beginning on Thursday.

Moon sighting

Islam follows the lunar calendar and the sighting of the moon signals the start of the Islamic month – In Islam, the new day also begins just after sunset.

If the moon is not sighted on Wednesday, Ramadan will begin on Thursday and the first fast on Friday.

The annoucement of the sighting or non-sighting of the moon is made by the United Council of Ulama of South Africa (UUCSA).

Fasting

During the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn to dusk usually having a predawn meal before the fast begins.

Once the fast starts, they are not allowed to eat a morsel of food or even take a sip of water until sunset.

Fasting is also a spiritual discipline to abstain from bad actions including sexual relations, which nullify or break the fast.

During the month of Ramadan, Muslims usually break their fast with a date and a glass of water.

The holy month of Ramadan is more than just a month of fasting; it is a month that has many benefits and rewards for Muslims.

Meaning of Ramadan

The word Ramadan, which is the ninth month on the Islamic calendar, means ‘the heat that scorches the earth or the heat that scorches a person when a person is fasting’.

The actions of Ramadan and linguistic meaning of Ramadan is twofold

Muslims believe it scorches the earth or the person when he feels the thirst, so there is a scorching of the throat in experiencing the thirst.

From a spiritual perspective, it scorches away the sins which the Almighty wipes and forgives when a person undergoes the challenge and the effort of keeping a fast.

Fasting or abstaining from food also teaches important lessons including compassion in that a fasting person will understand what others who are hungry and less fortunate, who do not have a daily meal, go through on a daily basis.

Respecting the fasting person

There are many non-Muslims who also respect and support their Muslim colleagues who are fasting by having their lunches out of sight of those who are fasting.

During Ramadan, Muslim men also attend the mosque more frequently, where the holy Quran, which has thirty chapters, is recited every night until the end of the blessed month.

Some Muslims also travel to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and spend the holy month there because there is a spiritual ecstasy of a higher level.

ALSO READ: In pictures: Ramadan in South Africa and around the world

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