Ramadan, (Arabic: رمضان) is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and the month in which the Qur'an was revealed. It is also known as Ramzan and Ramadhan, is a holy month in Islamic calendar. In this month, Muslims fast from dawn to dusk. Fasting in the month of Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. The month is spent by Muslims fasting during the daylight hours from dawn to sunset. The name came from the time before the Islamic calendar, when the month of Ramadan fell in the summer. Fasting during this month is often thought figuratively to burn away all sins. Muslims believe that the Qur'an was sent down to the lowest heaven during this month, thus being prepared for gradual revelation by the angel Gibril (Gabriel) to the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Furthermore, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) told his followers that the gates of Heaven would be open all the month and the gates of Hell (Jahannam) would be closed. The first day of the next month, Shawwal, is spent in celebrations and is observed as the "Festival of Breaking Fast" or `Eid ul-Fitr.
The Glorious Month of Ramadan
The holy month of Ramadan enjoys a special importance in the Islamic calendar. As the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) said: "It is Allahs Own month." It is the chief of all months and the most glorious one. As we already know, Fasting is one of the important pillars of Islam and it is the very month of Ramadan during which fasting has been made obligatory for all adults and sane Muslims. By fasting during Ramadan, a Muslim besides discharging an obligation imposed upon him by Allah (SWT), becomes entitled to great reward in the Hereafter. On the other hand, any lapse in the matter amounts to a great sin. Fasting is an article of worship, the knowledge about the performance or otherwise whereof rests only with Allah (SWT) and the person concerned. Hence, it is Allah alone who will reward that person for it, on the Day of Judgment.
The blessings of Ramadan are not limited to fasting alone, because the performance of all sorts of worship and good deeds during this month is also a source of great Divine favor. The revelation of the Holy Quran commenced during this very month and it is therefore the duty of every Muslim to read and try to understand the meaning of the Holy Quran and thereby gain an insight into the Divine secrets enshrined therein. It brings peace and illumination to the mind and imparts purity to the soul.
Ramadan is the month of fasting, intensive prayer, sacrifice and Divine worship. Throughout this month a devout Muslim fasts during the day in the true sense of the word, that is, he had merely denies himself food and water, but as explained by the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.), exercises strict control over his tongue, eyes, ears, thoughts and deeds and does everything possible to seek the pleasure of Allah (SWT).
Devout supplications to Allah (SWT) and repentance of ones sins during Ramadan are the sources of Divine blessings and mercy. Some nights, among the last ten nights of Ramadan, are called the Nights of Glory (Laylatul Qadr). These are the 19th, 21st, and 23rd nights. Muslims keep awake during these nights and offer special prayers. Even among these nights, the 23rd enjoys excellence over all the others. It is accompanied by great blessings, and he usually grants the supplications made to Allah (SWT) during this night.
The holy month of Ramadan, besides being the month of worship and Divine blessings, carries a historical importance as well. As already mentioned above, the revelations of the Holy Quran commenced in this month. The epoch-making Battle of Badr and the Conquest of Mecca also took place during the holy month of Ramadan.
"Ramadan", according to some traditions is one of Allahs names. This is why we can not say Ramadan without making it clear that we are talking about the month, and therefore we should always say the month of Ramadan. The Commander of the faithful Ali ibn Abi Taleb (A.S.) said: Do not say Ramadan, but say the month of Ramadan. For you do not know what Ramadan is. This same meaning was referred to by the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) in his speech during Shaaban:
It's time to gather the blessings for Muslims, as the Islamic month of Ramadan will begin on August 11, 2010 and last until September 9, 2010.