Source: Holidays Calendar
Source: Holidays Calendar

This year the holy month of Ramadan will commence on May 16, Wednesday evening and will end on June 14, Thursday with Eid. It is the annual observance of a strict fast that dates as per the lunar Islamic Calendar. It falls in the 9th month of the Muslim year during which all those in faith fast from dawn to dusk. Ramadan is derived from Arabic root ‘ramida’ or ‘ar-ramad’, which means scorching heat or dryness.

The ‘Hilal’ which in Arabic is for ‘crescent’ is viewed as the beginning of the holy month. Hilal is usually visible after the appearance of the New Moon. The fasting process is known as ‘Sehri’ and the meal to break the fast is called Iftar’.

It is obligatory for Muslims during this time of the year except young children (usually below 15 years), those suffering from illness, travelling, pregnant, breast feeding or diabetic. Other than fasting they also engage in charitable activities. Ramadan is also the time to maintain self-discipline. Abstaining from eating and drinking does not mean sitting idle but reflecting on oneself, and reading the holy Quran.

However, there are certain myths about this holy occasion. Let us break down some misconceptions on the same.

Accidentally breaking your fast
If you’re genuine this might hardly happen. However, since one of the eight steps of ablution includes the rinsing of the mouth, and accidentally swallowing the water during this step would break your fast. It is recommended to avoid gargling and just rinse mouth to avoid drinking water accidentally.

Not swallowing your own saliva
We may have encountered at least one of our Muslim friends who might have expressed the fact that swallowing saliva can break the fast. However, according to experts it is permissible. The whole point of fasting is controlling your desires which also means refraining from intimate relationships with your partners.

Brushing your teeth will break the fast
Although many do not refrain from this mundane activity, those who wish to go the extra mile can avoid too flavourful toothpastes or use natural cleaning agents such as babool or miswak twigs.

Wounding with words
Ramadan is not just about food and water but also avoiding to sin with the tongue. This means one needs to control gossiping, back-biting or cussing another person.

All in all, Ramadan is a time of coming together in peace and harmony aided by self-reflection. We wish you a happy month of Ramadan!

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