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Ramadan around the world
June 28th, 2014
08:12 AM ET

The Belief Blog guide to Ramadan

(CNN) - For 1.6 billion people, the holiest month of the year began this past Saturday.

The exact starting date sometimes depends on the locale, but most Muslims across the globe will be fasting, praying and abstaining from sex and smoking during daylight hours. Many call it a time of spiritual purity and rededication to God.

Here's everything you need to know about the observance.

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is the name of the ninth month in the Hijri, or Islamic calendar. The word derives from the Arabic ramida or ar-ramad meaning a fierce, burning heat.

How important is it?

Ramadan is the most sacred month in the Muslim year, commemorating the revelation of the Holy Quran - the sacred religious text of Islam - by the angel Gabriel to the Prophet Mohammed, according to Islamic tradition.

What does it involve?

The main obligation of the festival is the Sawm, or fast. Believers are expected to refrain from eating and drinking from dawn (fajr) until dusk (maghrib) for the entire month, a discipline that is thought to burn away all sins (hence the origin of the word 'ramadan'). The Sawm is considered one of the five "pillars," or foundations of Islam, the others being the Shahadah (profession of faith), Salat (praying five times daily), Zakat (charity) and Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca).

When does the festival start?

Ramadan begins with the sighting of the new moon. Because it is calculated according to a lunar rather than a fixed calendar, its precise dates change from year to year, and it can begin at different times in different parts of the world. According to the Fiqh Council of North America, Ramadan started this year on June 28 and will end July 28.

Is there more to Ramadan than fasting?

Yes. As well as eating and drinking, the faithful are expected to abstain from smoking and sexual relations between dawn and dusk, and to abjure lies, slander, greed, covetousness, giving false oath and denouncing someone behind their back (all of these are prohibited throughout the year by Islam. To commit them during Ramadan, however, is considered particularly sinful). Muslims are also expected to recite a special 'night prayer', the taraweeh, in addition to the five daily prayers.

Is every Muslim expected to fast?

No. Young children - before the onset of puberty - are exempted, as are those with an illness or medical condition that would be exacerbated by fasting. If the medical condition is only temporary, the sufferer is required to make up for the days missed once they have recovered. If the condition is permanent, the spiritual benefits of fasting can be obtained by feeding a needy person for a month.

What happens if you break the fast?

If a believer intentionally breaks the fast, or performs any other prohibited activity, they become subject to a penalty, or kaffara (literally, atonement). This can take the form of an extra 60 days of fasting at the end of Ramadan, feeding 60 people in need, or - not quite so easy in the modern world - freeing a slave.

And what happens at the end of Ramadan?

Ramadan officially ends on the first day of the month of Shawwal. This heralds a three-day celebration called Eid al-Fitr, or the "Festival of Breaking Fast", a joyous occasion during which believers attend mosques, give gifts, visit friends and family and decorate their homes.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Eid al-Fitr • Faith • Holidays • Islam • Ramadan • Uncategorized

soundoff (554 Responses)
  1. colin31714

    pis

    July 17, 2014 at 12:37 am |
  2. Theo Phileo

    "Ramadan is the most sacred month in the Muslim year, commemorating the revelation of the Holy Quran – the sacred religious text of Islam – by the angel Gabriel to the Prophet Mohammed, according to Islamic tradition."
    ---------------------
    Muslims revere the Bible as also being holy Scripture. Do they also believe this?
    Galatians 1:6-10 – "...But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!"

    July 2, 2014 at 8:25 am |
  3. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    Goin' home, late last night
    suddenly I got a fright
    Yeah I looked through the window and surprised what I saw
    Fairies with Boots dancing with a dwarf, all right now!

    Fairies wear boots and you gotta believe me
    yeah I saw it, I saw it, I tell you no lies
    Yeah Fairies wear boots and you gotta believe me
    I saw it, I saw it with my own two eyes, well all right now!

    So I went to the doctor, see what he could give me
    he said "Son, son, you've gone too far.
    'cause smokin' and trippin' is all that you do."

    July 1, 2014 at 2:50 pm |
  4. saggyroy

    Do they stay at the Ramadan Inn in Mecca?

    July 1, 2014 at 6:01 am |
  5. arabbusinessreview

    To find out what expats in the MENA region should consider during the holy month of ramadan, you can visit http://arabbusinessreview.com/en/article/not-muslim-not-problem

    July 1, 2014 at 1:11 am |
    • fintronics

      I have a friend who chewed tobacco ... he would expat while he walked down the street..

      July 1, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
  6. Vic

    I never noticed this Blog post before, I didn't see it yesterday!

    Anyway, isn't that a spin-off from the Catholic Lint?

    June 30, 2014 at 9:39 pm |
  7. Rainer Helmut Braendlein

    Nothing Muhammad commanded is valid including Ramadan.

    Why?

    Muhammad was a mass murderer, and a mass murderer can never be a divine prophet, but merely a messenger of Satan.

    What is a pleasing fasting?

    God will be pleased by any Muslim who renounces Islam, acknowledges that Muhammad was a liar and murderer, and that the Koran is a heap of crap.

    Every Muslim who renounces Islam is invited to repent, to believe in Jesus, the Son of God, and to get baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

    June 30, 2014 at 1:50 pm |
    • Reality

      Scroll down the page for the Five Steps to Deprogram 1400 Years of Islamic Myths for the 21st century solution to the Muslim issues. Do god or Jesus required or desired.

      June 30, 2014 at 6:38 pm |
      • Reality

        Oops, make that "No god or Jesus required or desired.

        June 30, 2014 at 6:39 pm |
  8. Reality

    Hmmm, looks like CNN forgot about Ramadan started on Saturday and they are making amends by republishing last years comments.

    Just to emphasize what was said then (scroll down to see the rest of the Five Steps to Deprogram 1400 Years of Islamic Myths)

    "5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) alone."

    Mohammed spent thirty days "fasting" (the Ramadan legend) in a hot cave before his first contact with Allah aka God etc. via a "pretty wingy thingy". Common sense demands a neuron deletion of #5. #5 is also the major source of Islamic vi-olence i.e. turning Mohammed's "fast, hunger-driven" hallu-cinations into horrible reality for unbelievers.

    Walk these Five Steps and we guarantee a complete recovery from your Islamic ways!!!!

    Unfortunately, there are not many Muslim commentators/readers on this blog so the "two-minute" cure is not getting to those who need it. If you have a Muslim friend, send him a copy and help save the world.

    Analogous steps are available at your request for deprogramming the myths of Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Paganism..

    June 30, 2014 at 12:44 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Actually Ramadan was a pagan custom, and like a lot of what's in Islam, the cooker-uppers of it simply imported existing customs into the new religion, including the deity, the Arabic moon-god, who had the same 3 divine daughters as Allah had in the Satanic Verses. Why do you think they had such a conniption over that book ?

      June 30, 2014 at 8:26 pm |
  9. Learnquranonline

    I will suggest to learn quran yourself and you will find the truth. Quran guide us towards nature and show us the path where we all are one. Quran teach us how to convert our individual thinking into collective thinking so that peace prevails in our society. http://www.learnquranonline.net

    September 18, 2013 at 4:50 am |
    • realbuckyball

      Quran (3:56) – "As to those who reject faith, I will punish them with terrible agony in this world and in the Hereafter, nor will they have anyone to help."

      Quran (3:151) – "Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers, for that they joined companions with Allah, for which He had sent no authority".

      Uh huh.

      June 30, 2014 at 8:29 pm |
  10. peaceman4peace

    Shakira can you please define the word freedom?

    July 25, 2013 at 7:16 am |
  11. go

    Merely wanna comment on few general things, The website layout is perfect, the subject matter is real great. "All movements go too far." by Bertrand Russell. go http://www.goucang.net/

    July 21, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
  12. TrustKnow1

    Most non-believers choose not to believe not for lack of evidence, but just to fill their empty lives with argument!

    The truth is out there... Fight the future!

    July 21, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
    • fintronics

      Most believers choose to believe regardless of the complete lack of evidence, just to fill their empty lives with mythology.

      July 1, 2014 at 2:18 pm |
  13. Mr. 30

    Can't believe someone hasn't commented on this guy's red beard on the first picture. Rockin like a boss.

    July 19, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
  14. Andriod Tasbeeh App for every day adhkars, Supplications & Waziafs

    I enjoyed this really useful and most excellent android tasbeeh application for adhkars and supplications as well as Wazaifs. This is one of the must have application for keeping your adhkars in regular routine. I believe you will also love this application. This App is available For Free to download from Google Play.
    Andriod Tasbeeh App for every day adhkars, Supplications & Waziafs http://goo.gl/kArNr

    July 16, 2013 at 2:27 am |
  15. Reality

    Only for the eyes of my sister and brother Muslims:

    Putting a safe and peaceful end to all of this Muslim inanity:

    From the studies of Armstrong, Rushdie, Hirsi Ali, Richardson and Bayhaqi––

    The Five Steps To Deprogram 1400 Years of Islamic Myths:

    ( –The Steps take less than two minutes to finish- simply amazing, two minutes to bring peace and rationality to over one billion lost souls- Priceless!!!)

    Are you ready?

    Using "The 77 Branches of Islamic "faith" a collection compiled by Imam Bayhaqi as a starting point. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true "faith" (iman) through related Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings." i.e. a nice summary of the Koran and Islamic beliefs.

    The First Five of the 77 Branches:

    "1. Belief in Allah"

    aka as God, Yahweh, Zeus, Jehovah, Mother Nature, etc. should be added to your self-cleansing neurons.

    "2. To believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence."

    Evolution and the Big Bang or the "Gi-b G-nab" (when the universe starts to recycle) are more plausible and the "akas" for Allah should be included if you continue to be a "crea-tionist".

    "3. To believe in the existence of angels."

    A major item for neuron cleansing. Angels/de-vils are the mythical creations of ancient civilizations, e.g. Hitt-ites, to explain/define natural events, contacts with their gods, big birds, sudden winds, protectors during the dark nights, etc. No "pretty/ug-ly wingy thingies" ever visited or talked to Mohammed, Jesus, Mary or Joseph or Joe Smith. Today we would classify angels as f–airies and "tin–ker be-lls". Modern de-vils are classified as the de-mons of the de-mented.

    "4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Quran, all other books are not valid anymore."

    Another major item to delete. There are no books written in the spirit state of Heaven (if there is one) just as there are no angels to write/publish/distribute them. The Koran, OT, NT etc. are simply books written by humans for humans.

    Prophets were invented by ancient scribes typically to keep the un-educated masses in line. Today we call them for-tune tellers.

    Prophecies are also invali-dated by the natural/God/Allah gifts of Free Will and Future.

    "5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings
    be upon him) alone."

    Mohammed spent thirty days "fasting" (the Ramadan legend) in a hot cave before his first contact with Allah aka God etc. via a "pretty wingy thingy". Common sense demands a neuron deletion of #5. #5 is also the major source of Islamic vi-olence i.e. turning Mohammed's "fast, hunger-driven" hallu-cinations into horrible reality for unbelievers.

    Walk these Five Steps and we guarantee a complete recovery from your Islamic ways!!!!

    Unfortunately, there are not many Muslim commentators/readers on this blog so the "two-minute" cure is not getting to those who need it. If you have a Muslim friend, send him a copy and help save the world.

    Analogous steps are available at your request for deprogramming the myths of Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Paganism..

    من الدراسات من أرمسترونغ، رشدي، هيرسي علي، ريتشاردسون والبيهقي ––

    في خمس خطوات لأبطل تأثير 1400 سنة من الأساطير الإسلامية:

    (-خطوات اتخاذ أقل من دقيقتين لإنهاء-ببساطة مدهشة، دقيقتين لإحلال السلام والعقلانية إلى أكثر من مليار فقدت النفوس لا تقدر بثمن!)

    هل أنت مستعد؟

    استخدام "الفروع الإسلامية 77 من" الإيمان "مجموعة الإمام البيهقي المترجمة كنقطة انطلاق. في ذلك، وهو ما يفسر الفضائل الأساسية التي تعكس صحيح" الإيمان "(إيمان) من خلال الآيات القرآنية ذات الصلة، وأحاديث نبوية." أي ملخص لطيفة من المعتقدات القرآن والإسلامية.

    الخمسة الأولى من الفروع 77:

    "1. الإيمان بالله"

    كما يعرف أيضا باسم الله، الرب، زيوس، الرب، الطبيعة الأم، وما إلى ذلك يجب أن تضاف إلى الخلايا العصبية التطهير الذاتي الخاص.

    "2. إلى الاعتقاد بأن كل شيء غيرها مما كان الله غير موجود. بعد ذلك، الله سبحانه وتعالى خلق هذه الأشياء، وبعد ذلك جاءوا إلى حيز الوجود."

    التطور والانفجار الكبير أو "غب Gnab" (عند بدء الكون لإعادة تدوير) هي أكثر ترجيحا وينبغي أن تدرج في "المندرجة" في سبيل الله إذا كنت لا تزال تشكل "الخلق".

    "3. إلى الاعتقاد في وجود الملائكة."

    A بندا رئيسيا لتطهير الخلايا العصبية. الملائكة / دي VILS هي الإبداعات الأسطورية من الحضارات القديمة، على سبيل المثال HITT خائبي، لشرح / تعريف الأحداث الطبيعية، والاتصالات مع آلهتهم، والطيور الكبيرة، والرياح المفاجئة، وحماة خلال الليالي المظلمة، وما إلى ذلك لا "جميلة / قبيحة ثينجيس افسح المجال ل" بزيارة أي وقت مضى أو تحدثت إلى محمد، يسوع، مريم أو يوسف أو جو سميث. اليوم سوف نصنف الملائكة كما الجنيات و "أجراس العبث". تصنف الشياطين الحديثة والشياطين من مجنون.

    "4. إلى الاعتقاد بأن جميع الكتب السماوية التي تم إرسالها إلى الأنبياء مختلفة صحيحا. ومع ذلك، وبصرف النظر عن القرآن، كل الكتب الأخرى ليست صالحة بعد الآن."

    ومن البنود الرئيسية في حذفها. لا يوجد كتب في ولاية روح السماء (إذا كان هناك واحد) فقط حيث لم تعد هناك ملائكة لكتابة / نشر / توزيعها. القرآن، OT، NT وما هي ببساطة الكتب التي كتبت من قبل البشر للبشر.

    اخترعت الأنبياء من قبل الكتبة القديمة عادة للحفاظ على الجماهير غير المتعلمة في الخط. اليوم ونحن ندعو لهم فرز الأصوات للتناغم.

    النبوءات كما invali مؤرخة من قبل الطبيعية / الله / الله الهدايا من الإرادة الحرة والمستقبل.

    "5. إلى الاعتقاد بأن جميع الأنبياء صحيحا. ومع ذلك، ونحن مأمورون اتباع النبي محمد (عليه الصلاة والسلام
    صلى الله عليه وسلم) وحده ".

    قضى محمد ثلاثين يوما "الصيام" (أسطورة رمضان) في كهف الساخن قبل أول اتصال له مع الله الملقب الخ الله عبر "ممتزوجات افسح المجال ل جميلة". الحس السليم يتطلب حذف الخلايا العصبية من # 5. # 5 هو أيضا المصدر الرئيسي للالاسلامي VI-olence أي تحول محمد "سريع، يحركها الجوع" hallu-cinations إلى واقع فظيع لغير المؤمنين.

    المشي هذه خمس خطوات، ونحن نضمن الانتعاش الكامل من الطرق الإسلامية الخاصة بك!!

    للأسف، لا توجد العديد من المعلقين مسلم / القراء على هذا بلوق لذلك "مدة دقيقتين" العلاج هو عدم الحصول على لأولئك الذين في حاجة إليها. إذا كان لديك صديق مسلم، ترسل له نسخة وتساعد في إنقاذ العالم.

    تتوفر خطوات مماثلة في طلبك للحصول على deprogramming الأساطير المسيحية واليهودية والبوذية والهندوسية والوثنية

    July 15, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
  16. .

    LL is the belief blog pseudo intellect, so just laugh at their posts.

    A pseudo intellect is someone who acts pretentiously and wishes to impress, rather than modestly trying to communicate effectively uses rhetoric over content.

    July 14, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
  17. Ode to poetry

    One day Joe was floating down the Delaware, chewing on his underwear, looking for another pair. Ten days later along came a polar bear. That's how the polar bear died.

    July 14, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.