Currently (May 2020), Muslims all around the world are observing the month of Ramadan, the ninth holy month of the Islamic lunar calendar. Ramadan is celebrated Muslims, or followers of the religion of Islam.
What is Islam?
Muslims believe in one God, Allah.
Allah’s word was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad via the Angel Jibreel (Gabriel) and documented in the central Islamic text, the Qur’an (Koran).
Muslims worship in mosques with guidance from their religious leaders, or Imams.
The picture below shows the five pillars of Islam:
Common symbols of Islam include the crescent moon as the moon is important to the lunar calendar. A five pointed star may also symbolize the five pillars.
How is Ramadan Observed?
During Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn (before sunrise) to sunset. Fasting includes not eating or drinking any water and refraining from sinful behaviors. The main intent is for Muslims to pray, focus on God, purification and spiritual reflection. Muslims practice devotion, discipline and focus more on the teachings of Islam and the Qur’an. Before dawn, Muslims eat their first daily meal, or Suhoor, and break fast after sunset with the meal of Iftar (many do so with water and dates). During the month of Ramadan, it is common for families and communities to gather and eat Iftar together. Since meals are eaten after dark, lanterns (symbolic of light and hope in darkness) are a common decoration. During the month of Ramadan, most Muslims will also give Zakat, or charity, to the needy.
To wish someone a happy or blessed Ramadan, one can say “Ramadan Mubarak!” or “Ramadan Kareem!”
There are two observed Eids, Eid al-fitr and Eid al-adha. Eid al-Fitr, or “Festival of Breaking the Fast” is the one after Ramadan and marks the end of the holy month of fasting. It is a true celebration and feast! Muslims prepare for Eid by shopping for new clothes, mehndi and cleaning and decorating their houses for the celebration. On the first day of Eid, Muslims also recite specific Eid prayers and listen to sermons. After, they visit family and friends for a celebratory feast. Children may receive treats and gifts from their loved ones and it is a time of love, prayer and community. Eid al-fitr is a three day event and a holiday in Muslim countries.
Eid al-adha is a separate event that occurs approximately two months after Eid al-Fitr. Muslims commemorate Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail. Allah stops the sacrifice, replacing Ismail with a ram for sacrifice instead. Eid al-adha is also celebrated with families and loved ones, and may include a sacrifice of an animal such as a goat or sheep.
We hope you guys learned something today! At Artsy Dinos, we believe it’s important for kids to understand other cultures and religions to be aware, educated and respectful. Supplement your learning with a children’s book or our Ramadan and Eid crafts!