Ramadan is the holiest month of the Islamic calendar and a period of fasting for many of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims. For Muslims, Ramadan is a holy month dedicated to prayer, Quran recitation, introspection and fasting during the sunlight hours.

The Prophet Mohammed S.A.W. explained: “When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained.”. Muslims believe that God revealed the Quran to the Prophet Mohammed on the 27th day of Ramadan called Laylat Al Qadr, or the Night of Power. Ramadan is a month of fasting during the daylight hours from dawn to sunset. This was stated as a ruling of Islam in 624 AD. Meals are served before dawn and after sunset.

The task of fasting is considerably more demanding when Ramadan falls in the summer months, as there are many more hours of daylight and warmer temperatures can be taxing on the body. But fasting is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, the mandatory acts that form the foundation of Muslim life and they remain steadfast with their beliefs. So they will wake early to eat and pray before sunrise, and will break the fast after sunset with a communal meal (Iftar).

So what is the purpose of the tough fasting? Well, Islam is a religion teaches to help the poor and less fortunate throughout their lifetimes. While hungry and thirsty throughout the fasting day, Muslims have a constant reminder of the suffering of the poor in less fortunate and remind them about the luxuries they enjoy. By fasting, devotees will realize the importance of food and water and be grateful for what God has given them. Ramadan allows worshippers to concentrate their minds on devotion to their faith through prayers, expressing gratitude, seeking forgiveness and helping the needy.

And Ramadan is not just about fasting; it is also about charity for the needy.  Zakat al-Fitr is charity given to the poor at the end of the fasting in the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. The payment of zakat is obligatory for every sane and mature Muslim whenever there is an economic activity resulting in the net increase in their wealth. So it is basically a very significant month for all the followers of Islam throughout the world.