The holy month of Ramadan is one of fasting and devotion to worship Allah. It is believed that the gates of heaven are kept open. Hence, great importance is attached to prayers.
Mosques are places where Muslims congregate for prayers and other community activities. Mosques represent traditional Islamic architecture and typically consist of minarets, domes and large prayer halls. An Imam leads the prayer in a mosque, while a Mu’athin delivers the Call to Prayer (Adhaan) from the minarets. During Ramadan, some mosques offer free Iftar meals for the needy, and also serve as central points for collecting charitable donations.
Iftar is the ending the fast immediately after sunset. Iftar takes place at Maghrib as soon as the call to prayer (Adhan). Traditionally, the fast is ended with dates and water. It is a time when friends and family come together.
Suhoor is the pre-fast meal before Fajr.
Ramadan ends with Eid Al Fitr or the festive celebrations of ending the month of fasting. It falls on the first day of Shawwal, the month which follows Ramadan in the Islamic calendar. People wear their best clothes, adorn their homes with lights and decorations, give treats to children, and visit friends and family to celebrate the occasion. The day begins with an early special prayer in the mosques, followed by people greeting each other by saying ‘Eid Mubarak’.
In a multicultural country like the United Kingdom, there are many who do not observe the fasting period. But in the true spirit of Ramadan, it would be nice to show consideration for those who are observing the month with fasting and prayer. Non-Muslims should dress modestly, refrain from eating and drinking during the fasting hours, and act in a respectful manner if they want to invite their Muslim friends for Iftar.