Fasting begins as Ramadan gets underway

Worship: Friday Prayers at Light of Hidayah Mosque. Photograph: Supplied


RAMADAN Mubarak to the Muslims across the Latrobe Valley as the holy month of Ramadan began last week. Every year, Muslims across the world anticipate the sighting of the new crescent moon which signifies the official first day of Ramadan, the ninth and most holy month of the calendar. Muslims use the Islamic calendar (also known as the Lunar or Hijri calendar) to determine the dates of religious events and observances. The Islamic calendar is based on 12 lunar months (a new month begins when a new moon is sighted).

During Ramadan for 30 days, Muslims will fast during the day and will aim to connect more spiritually to themselves and to the religion. The act of fasting is one of the Five Pillars (fundamental religious duties) of Islam. Muslims will fast with no food or water throughout the day. Commonly, Muslims will eat a pre-fast meal (suhoor) before sunrise and then break their fast in the evening after the sunset (iftar). For the chronically ill, the elderly or for those who suffer from health conditions, they are exempt from fasting. For those fasting, it is against the rules to have sexual relations or to smoke during the day as well.

In addition to fasting, extra attention is also given to more acts of worship. These acts can come in the form of prayer, reciting Qur’an, giving charity, and asking for forgiveness.Jo Nim, the son of the Imam at the The Light of the Hidayah mosque in Morwell said that they had over 150 people attend the first Friday prayers of the month. He went on to say that people think Ramadan is just about the starvation when in reality, you have to change and give up all the bad behaviours in order to become a better Muslim.

Ramadan is a month that symbolises dedication, reflection and discipline. Fasting Muslims will also avoid obscene speech or swearing and should not behave angrily or ignorantly during this time.

The holy month is also a time where family gets together. Families will wake up together before the crack of dawn, to go through the same spiritual fasting journey and then break fast all together in the evening, giving much needed time to connect and bond.

The word “Ramadan” is derived from an Arabic word for intense heat, scorched ground and shortness of food and drink. It is believed that Ramadan is the month where the Qur’an was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

To many, Ramadan is more than the fast, it’s a ritual and a spirtual journey where you can prove to Allah your devotion and you can prove to yourself that you can do it.

Muslims make up about 0.8 per cent of the Latrobe Valley’s demographic which is about 581 people.