Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr: We’ve heard the words, but what do they really mean?

Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr: We’ve heard the words, but what do they really mean?

Each year, millions of muslims around the world celebrate the holiest month of the Islamic calendar, Ramadan, commemorating when the Quran was handed over to the Prophet Mohammed.

According to the religion, Islam has five pillars (duties) that each Muslim must satisfy in order to live a good and responsible life and fasting for approximately 30 days for Ramadan is part of one of these five pillars of faith.

During the month of Ramadan, practicing muslims cannot eat or drink anything, including water, from sunrise to sunset.

This fast is broken at the end of the day with Iftar, in which dried apricots and dates, and juice is usually consumed before an evening prayer, and following this, a large meal is eaten with family and friends.

General secretary of the Parramatta Mosque Mr Mahmoud Hussein explains the importance of Ramadan and Eid to muslims around the world.

“Ramadan is a special month of fasting where we feel the hunger of the people who don’t get to eat every day, and it’s also a reminder to pay our share of money to the poor,” he said.

“It’s also a time for us to forgive one another, and it’s very important for us to share the breaking of the fast with family and friends because it brings together people in the muslim community, and the wider Australian community as well.”

To celebrate the end of Ramadan and the breaking of the fast, Eid al-Fitr brings family and friends together during daytime feasts and festivity. Traditionally, people will dress in new Eid clothes and visit the homes of their family and friends bearing gifts.

Like Mr Hussein said, in many muslim countries and communities, people will also visit some poorer areas and people to ensure they also have enough food and water to celebrate Eid al-Fitr themselves.

The act of charity, known as zakat, is another pillar of the Islamic faith and plays a significant role during Ramadan and Eid.

This year, Ramadan commenced on May 17 and will end June 14, followed by Eid al-Fitr commencing on June 15, 2018.

Anisha Mistry

As the Editor of CulturalPulse, Anisha is passionate about listening to, writing and sharing stories of Australia's multicultural achievement. Got a story to tell? Get in touch: editor@culturalpulse.com.au