Friday, August 27, 2010


Ramadan is the ninth month of Hijri or Lunar Calendar which is being use by Muslims. Lunar calendar is shorter by 11 – 12 days than Gregorian calendar that is why the Holy month of Ramadan is moving earlier every year. The start of Ramadan could be determined according to sighting of the moon and it could differ in location depending on ability to sight the moon in their locations.

Derived from Arabic word “Ar-Ramad” which means “dryness” or “heat”. Ramadan is the 4th of 5 pillars of Islam, it is the time in Islam when the Holy Book Qura’n was revealed and sent down from Heaven to become guidance for all mankind and reference for righteousness. In this time, the whole Islamic countries are observing Ramadan by fasting, reciting deepened prayers, and Pilgrim to their Holy Place in Makkah. Ramadan is the declaration of faith and purification of wealth by sharing their prosperity to the poor and orphans. For Muslims, Ramadan is the time of the year for spiritual reflection, fasting, forgiveness, repentance, prayers and sharing. It is training for the body and mind to be a good, righteous, complete and perfect Muslims. And doing these in a couple of weeks creates a sense of encouragement to live those deeds permissible at all times.

Ramadan is a month of fasting. Except children, adults who are mentally and physically handicapped, those who’s health is at risk and those who are in journey, all Muslims are fasting from the break of dawn till the sun set below the horizon. Basically, fasting means refrain from foods, drinks, and even from smoking. But deeper than that, it also includes abstaining in intimacy during the fasting hours and refrain from blameworthy of foul language, garrulous, and hurtful behavior during all hours. If there is a day or days in which the sun does not set soon enough or either you did not make to wake up at dawn or have missed the sahoor – in these times it seem God is testing you rigidly – not by inflicting hunger pains on you but rather by testing your patience. And if fasting makes dry-mouthed due to absence of water and abstain from foods throughout the day, here where the sixth sense have gain – the God consciousness - and this is the goal of fasting in the month of Ramadan.

If you are non-Muslim migrating or working in an Islamic country especially in Middle-East which are dominated by Muslims but still considered melting point of different culture and belief, it is very nice to observe extra respect most especially in the season of Holiness. Although we differ from our belief, non-Muslims can still join with the Muslim nations in the observance of the Holy month of Ramadan in many and different ways. Respect is the very least the non-Muslims can share to our Muslim brothers. Since this is the time of fasting, it is just proper to avoid anything that will insult their sacrifice. Therefore avoid having meeting with them that will include lunch and will extend after five o’clock pm. As show of respect, avoid also making company parties or social events since it is time of prayers, meditation, and worship.

We have to understand that Ramadan is the most special month for all Muslims around the world. This is the time of self purification by intensifying their prayer and time for humanism – greetings by saying “Eid Mubarak” or “Ramadan Mubarak” (Blessed Ramadan) to anyone who is crossing your way is a very nice expression of respect. It is also in this time the spirit of sharing is so lively by means of modest gift-giving therefore lifting up the values of kindness, generosity, charity and volunteerism. Basically it is family-day by visiting family, friends and neighbors and enjoying festive meals after the end of sunset.

During Ramadan, the daily routine is changing. The time is reversed where the night becomes day and vice versa. At sundown is their breakfast after the iftar and their suhoors as their Supper before the break of dawn. This makes sudden adjustment in the sleeping pattern and eating habits. The working hours are customarily reduced to give people more quality time with their family. During daylight, restaurants are not allowed to serve seated meals, regular service is from the start of sun down up to wee hours. Night market is very much alive and the family gatherings are just in. Often over the weekend there can be a pretty large gathering of family coming over to their relatives. For thirty days of this scenery, the celebration of Ramadan ends with the festival of Eid Al-Fitr which means day of celebration and gratitude.

On the occasion of the holy month of Ramadan, let us say our most sincere prayers, repent and ask forgiveness regardless of our religious faction. Through this, we can make and receive a month of blessings, peace, happiness, and benevolence. In the spirit of brotherhood, humanitarian, unity, and world peace, let our days be filled with joy and blessings by doing good things. We are all here living in one planet, breathing one air, dreaming one ambition, and sharing one vision. Observing Ramadan whether you’re Muslim or not, is an excellent deed that brings us great kindness, goodness and benefits.

Alex V. Villamayor
August 2010
(Ramadan 1431)

Acknowledgement to M. Abdulsalam’s article titled “A Day and a Night in Ramadan: The Fast of the Day” ( and to Shell Middle East and North Africa Network’s presentation report titled “Ramadan” for some referenced terminologies and records used.

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