The Islamic Calendar also called Muslim, Hijri calendar is a lunar calendar consisting of 12 lunar months and a year in this calendar can comprise of either 354 or 355 days. The year 2014 is year 1440 in the Islamic Calendar.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic Calendar and it is in this holy month, the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad ( PBUH ) . However the date of Ramadan changes every year, i.e., according to the calender used worldwide, Ramadan could fall in any of those months.
This month has a big influence on the religion of Islam.
So, during the holy month of Ramadan Muslims all around the world don't eat or drink between dawn and sunset for the whole month.
It is common to have a meal before dawn (Suhoor) and it is the time when Muslims wake up in the middle of the night and eat a heavy meal so that they don't feel hungry or thirsty the whole day.
At the time of sunset, the fast is complete and Muslims break their fast and this meal is called Iftar. Firstly, we have some dates along with some drinks made mostly of milk. Then after prayer, we have dinner, which is quite heavy.
Not to mention, all the sweet dessertshop that are prepared in the households, which make the experience all too tastier.
We, Muslims fast for a whole month and after the holy month is over, a three day festival, Eid-Ul-Fitr is celebrated.
What most people looking from the outside feel is that Ramadan is just a month of fasting for the whole day and refraining from eating or drinking. But it's so much more than that and as a matter of fact , nit eating or drinking water is just a small part of the fasting.
Most people focus on the food, but it's not the most important thing to the fasting person. People ask sometimes about people who are ill or young or old. Those who are ill, those who are on a journey away from their home, women who are nursing, people have exceptions and they have charity that they give to compensate. Children are not forced to fast. There are built in exceptions to difficult circumstances. God knows what's in their hearts.
Fasting is a surrender , the submission to the higher authority, to the Most High.
If I am fasting , it should not be that I am not eating, fasting is abstaining from any kind of wrongdoing. While a person fasts, he must not use his mouth to lie, cheat, be rude, backbiting etc. His eyes must refrain from wrong like not looking at something that is unethical or full or adultery. His hands should not touch anything which is wrong, like stealing, fighting etc. His mind should not think of something harmful like trying to hurt someone, cheat someone etc.
This quote describes Ramadan perfectly :
"People are unaware of the true nature of fasting. The fact is that no country or realm can be described if one has not been there. Fasting is not just the state of remaining hungry and thirsty. Its nature and effect can only be discovered by experience. The human makeup is such that the less food is consumed the greater is the purification of the soul and the development of the powers of inner vision. God’s purpose is that you should reduce one kind of food (physical) and increase the other kind (spiritual). The person fasting must remember that the aim is not simply to remain hungry; he should be engrossed in the remembrance of God so as to attain severance from worldly desires. The object of fasting is that a person should abstain from the food which nourishes the body and obtain the other food which satisfies and brings solace to the soul. Those who truly fast for the sake of attaining to God, and not merely as a custom, should be absorbed in the praise and glorification of God, and in meditating upon His Unity.”
The significance of fasting is that by refraining from the natural human urges to satisfy one’s appetite, we are exercising our ability of self-restraint, so that we can then apply it to our everyday life to bring about self-improvement.
Internal peace and health is most important and Ramadan is most helpful in making an individual understand how peace, health and improvement can be brought about, you've to try it to understand it.
So, when are we having Suhoor then?