Opinion: Everything you need to know about Ramadan

Ramadan marks the time the holy prophet of Islam, Prophet Muhammad — peace and blessings be upon him — received the revelations for the Quran, the holy book. The month of Ramadan has officially been declared by the sighting of the moon, since Ramadan is based off of the lunar year. This means that with each year, it starts 10–12 days earlier.

During the time of Ramadan, many Muslim students — both at UW Tacoma and across the world — spend the night studying for their exams and waking up early the next day to prepare food for Sahur, the meal eaten before sunrise. Ramadan’s purpose is for Muslims to strengthen their sincerity with God. While the rest of the 335 days of the year are corrupt with worldly things and caught up with life, Ramadan encourages families to leave fast-paced life behind and focus on their loved ones and beliefs.

During Ramadan, Muslims are required to fast from sunrise to sunset. This means they abstain from food, water, smoking, consumption of alcohol, sexual activity and anything else that is prohibited according to the Quran. Ramadan is also one of the five pillars of Islam, with the remaining four pillars being prayer, the Muslim profession of faith, charity, and pilgrimage to Mecca.

Though, there are certain exceptions from Ramadan for Muslims who are pregnant or breastfeeding mothers, the elderly, anyone that is ill and must take medication, women in their menstrual cycle, those traveling and children who have not yet reached puberty.

Muslims that purposefully choose to not fast during one day of Ramadan must make it up throughout the year. If a person passes away during ramadan in their fast, another person close to them must make up their fast after they are done with their own.

In 2017, president Donald Trump did not host a Ramadan iftar, which broke off a 20 year tradition. President Thomas Jefferson in 1805 hosted the first White House dinner with a Muslim named Sidi Soliman Mellimellii, and even changed the time so it would be in time for iftar.

This has been a guide towards the idea of what Ramadan is. Of course there is more to learn, which is what Muslims are studying now in this holy month.

By President Trump doing this, it shows that he is overall prejudice towards the religion Islam, as 2017 does mark the same year as the Muslim ban in the United States.

Here in Washington state, Muslims fast around 16 to 17 hours. In Chile it’s 10 hours and in Greenland it’s 21 hours. Of course, the Muslims in Greenland have the choice of following Saudi Arabia fasting time, which is 15 hours.

After a long day of fasting and the time is nearing iftar, Muslims first open their fast with water or a date. Most people expect to be very hungry during this time, but in reality, fasting is not hard at all, with most still eating regular sized proportions. In reality, fasting is not hard at all. In fact, an article written by Chris Gunnars for the healthline about the benefits of fasting are “Blood levels of insulin drop significantly, which facilitates fat burning” and that “the body induces important cellular repair processes, such as removing waste material from cells.”

After Ramadan, there is a three day celebration called Eid Al-Fitr, where Muslims are forbidden to fast, and are able to celebrate and give/receive gifts.

If you would like to wish your Muslim peers a happy Ramadan, say “Ramadan Mubarak,” which translates from Arabic to “have a blessed Ramadan!”