This essay sample on Ramadan Essay provides all necessary basic info on this matter, including the most common “for and against” arguments. Below are the introduction, body and conclusion parts of this essay.
a) Describe what happens at the fast of Ramadan
For Muslims, Ramadan is a very special time of the year. Not only is it special, the ninth month is also drastically different to any other part of the Muslim calendar. The most obvious aspect of Ramadan, when viewed from outside, is the fasting undertaken by most Muslims.
They are required to refrain from eating, drinking, sexual intercourse and smoking from just before dawn to after sunset every day.
However, not all Muslims will abstain from eating and drinking during the daylight hours throughout the month of Ramadan, those who are young, (often below the age of 15,) old, ill or travelling are exempt.
Extreme examples of fasting, rarely seen in non-Muslim countries even forbid the swallowing of saliva or phlegm.
In strict Islamic countries such as Saudi Arabia, it is not uncommon to see Muslims carrying buckets with them in which to spit, preventing them from having to swallow their saliva, which would, in their eyes, invalidate their fast.
Muslims will often eat one meal before dawn, “suhoor.” This is often eaten very early, and some Muslims return to bed afterwards.
The fast is ended with a small meal called “iftar,” which is taken as soon as possible after the sun has set. Iftar often comprises of dates and a glass of water, following the example of Muhammad (pbuh).
However, physical restraint is far from the only aspect of Ramadan. It also involves many spiritual restraints; Muslims must strive to avoid cheating and lying, whilst also making extra efforts to be charitable and to appreciate what they have. Despite these restrictions Ramadan is not only a time of restraint, as fasting, self-control and moderation alone cannot make someone a good person or a good Muslim. Extra actions must also be undertaken. These can involve good deeds or charitable work, whether this be directly or through fundraising.
During Ramadan, Muslims may attend extra prayers, (“Tarawih”), each night at the Mosque. Every evening, one-thirtieth of the Qur’an is recited, so that, come the conclusion of the month, the whole Qur’an has been read. Muslims will strive to read the whole Qur’an at least once throughout Ramadan.
Laylat-ul-Qadr, or the night of power, is when Muhammad first received the Qur’an. It usually occurs within the last ten days of Ramadan, and Muslims may celebrate it by spending the entire night in the Mosque, often reading the whole of the Qur’an.
Throughout Ramadan, Muslims will often greet others with, “Ramadan Kareem” or “Ramadan Mubarak,” which means a happy, successful and blessed month.
In Muslim countries, Ramadan can change public life dramatically. Life during daylight hours will generally slow down, with many people resting and concentrating on the fast during the day and working during the evening.
The end of Ramadan is marked by the feast, Id-ul-Fitr. This day commonly revolves around family.
Zakat is often given on this day, and Muslims may also give extra alms to help those who are worse off, enjoy a better Id.
On the morning of Id-ul-Fitr Muslims may attend special Id prayers at the Mosque. The day and evening are spent socialising, feasting and giving presents. As Id-ul-Fitr is such a special day of the Muslim calendar, new clothes are often bought for the occasion.
At Id, many Muslims will give money known as Zakat-ul-Fitr. This is not compulsory, as Zakat is, but many people feel more obliged to give after experiencing the hunger of those in need throughout the month of Ramadan. The amount given will often represent the cost of a meal for each member of the donor’s family.
b) Explain the importance of Ramadan to Muslims and ways in which it may affect their lives
Ramadan is hugely important in the lives of Muslims. It is the fourth pillar of Islam and is compulsory for all Muslims who are able to complete it. The fact that it is a pillar of Islam also makes following it an act of Ibidah
It is also important as Ramadan is the month during which the Qur’an was first revealed to Muhammad by God in 570 CE. This makes it a very holy month as the Qur’an and its revelation to the prophet are the basis of the Islamic faith.
Massoud Shadjareh, chairman of the London-based Islamic Human Rights Commission, stated that “The best thing for a Muslim is to continue his or her life as normal. This is the real test.” This implies that a Muslim should strive to allow fasting to have as little an effect on their life as possible. However, there are some inevitable effects from fasting. It will have both positive and negative effects. Firstly it will help them learn self-discipline, which is a hugely important characteristic for a Muslim to have. Self-discipline helps Muslims abide by Allah’s will, as many aspects of their lives depend on it, such as keeping prayer times and not giving in to temptations which surround us. This is especially important for Muslims in non-Islamic countries, who often also have to resist peer pressure as well as the temptation itself.
Ramadan also helps Muslims have a greater appreciation of Allah’s gifts to them and they will be better able to understand the plight of those less fortunate than themselves, who do not fast out of choice, but out of necessity.
One of Ramadan’s other main benefits is that it strengthens the Ummah through unity, those in more economically developed countries can have more empathy for those in less economically developed countries; being able to identify with their difficulty concentrating on being a good Muslim, obeying Allah and focusing on Allah during prayers whilst also being consumed by hunger.
Ramadan also helps Muslims purify their minds and bodies, which are a gift from Allah and therefore need to be treated with the utmost respect.
However, it will have negative effects, one of these a problems undertaking physical activities. This can affect both a Muslim’s career and their leisure time, especially in non-Muslim countries. Manual workers will have less energy, and will find their workload more difficult. They may also suffer from dehydration, headaches, weakness and nausea. However, it is not only manual workers who will suffer these conditions. To a lesser extent, Muslims in other careers will also suffer, especially in a hot environment or climate.
The importance of Ramadan goes further than this however, it was commanded by Allah and is one of the compulsory five pillars of Islam. Many Muslims may argue that as it is a struggle which enables them to become a better person, this means Ramadan is often seen as a Jihad.
Ramadan may only last a month, but its impact should continue throughout the year. It is an annual lesson in becoming a better person and a better Muslim. If its effect does not last into Shawwal then it has been unsuccessful. This is another reason why Ramadan is so important for Muslims; it has such a huge impact on their whole lives, during the month and beyond it.
c) For Muslims, fasting has both advantages and disadvantages, How far do you agree? Give reasons to support your answer, and show that you have thought about different points of view. You must refer to Islam in your answer.
I agree with this statement as Ramadan has advantages such as teaching self-discipline, but also has obvious disadvantages such as illness caused by dehydration or hunger.
However, some Muslims may disagree, saying that fasting only advantages. They would argue that illness is not a disadvantage, just a trial that must be overcome in order to become a better person. It is not a problem with Ramadan, but an essential part of it, without which Ramadan would be pointless.
Some people may say that there are only disadvantages of Ramadan, especially in non-Muslim countries where public life continues as normal. Muslims in careers requiring concentration, quick thinking or strength and stamina may be hindered by dehydration or hunger. Medical careers for example may have life-endangering consequences from bad decisions. Some may argue then that fasting is the wrong thing to do as it is selfish, failing to take into account the welfare of those under a Muslim’s care who may be put in danger by a famished carer.
Some other may agree with this statement, saying that although fasting may teach a Muslim a degree of self-control, do we really need to deny ourselves things in order to become a better person? Surely we are defined as a person by what we do, not by what we do not; the only way to become a better person, both in the eyes of people and of God is to help those in need, not put ourselves in their position.
Others may also agree that Ramadan does not have any advantages as it does not put a Muslim into the position of a person living in poverty, as they are not suffering from long term effects of malnutrition and most are guaranteed iftar and a large meal once the sun has set, something alien to those in extreme poverty.
To conclude, I feel that most Muslims would disagree with this statement, as they feel that any act of Ibidah can have only advantages. However, many people may also disagree, saying that there are advantages as it develops a person’s character, but it also has physical disadvantages.