This week, the holy month of Ramadan begins in the UK, with Muslims around the world maintaining a spiritual fast from dawn to dusk for around 30 days. Ramadan is regarded as the most important month in the Islamic calendar because it is also the month in which the holy book of the Quran is revealed to Prophet Muhammad.
This means, all healthy adult Muslims obligated to fast will not only abstain from drinking and eating from sunrise to sundown but also refrain from smoking, having sexual relations or any sinful behaviour.
The holy month will then end with the celebration of Eid al-Fitr or the ‘Festival of Breaking the Fast’, which is due to take place on April 22. So how do you wish people a happy Ramadan? This is what Ramadan Mubarak means and other phrases related to the Islamic month.
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which is also the month the Quran was revealed to the Islamic prophet Muhammad and marked by a month-long fast. Muslims are required to spend a period of 30-odd days abstaining from consuming any food and drink during daylight hours as a means of celebrating and reflecting on their faith.
It is also an act of worship and a chance to get closer to God and a way to become more compassionate to those in need. Fasting is also considered a way to learn patience and break bad habits.
Muslims are also encouraged to carry out as many good deeds as they can throughout this holy month, such as giving to charity or as simple as finishing a chapter of the Quran every day, as it is believed that they would be rewarded for their efforts many times over.
Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam - the fundamental rules that all Muslims follow - along with the Shahadah (declaration of faith) Salat (prayer), Zakat (charity) and the Hajj pilgrimage.
There is also an increased offering of the Salat, with Muslims giving thanks to Allah, while the fasting ritual allows them to understand the suffering of others. Those observing are encouraged to read the Quran and perform Tarawih, which are special nightly prayers that are held throughout the month.
When does Ramadan start in the UK?
According to Timeanddate, the sighting of the Moon’s crescent after New Moon typically determines the timing of Muslim months and holidays. However, the precise date of Muslim holidays cannot be ascertained because the Moon’s visibility depends on clear skies and a number of other factors.
A holiday may fall on a different date depending on a country’s longitude and time zone because the Moon is never visible in all parts of the world at once and current local dates can differ from one country to another. So, based on their country or region of origin, some Muslims may observe a holiday one day earlier than others.
In the UK, tentatively, the fasting month of Ramadan starts on Thursday, March 23.
Ramadan Mubarak - happy Ramadan
‘Ramadan Mubarak’ translates from the Arabic word meaning ‘blessed Ramadan’. It can often be used to wish someone a happy Ramadan. ‘Ramadan Kareem’ is also another popular greeting, which means ‘a blessed and generous Ramadan to you.’