Muslims across the world will fast for 29 or 30 days starting Monday as they mark the holy month of Ramadan. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.
Ritual fasting is an obligatory act during the month of Ramadan and its s necessary for every Muslim that has reached puberty unless he/she suffers from a medical condition which prevents him/her from doing so.
Fasting is meant to allow Muslims to seek nearness and to look for forgiveness from God, to express their gratitude to and dependence on him, atone for their past sins, and to remind them of the needy.
The Head of Sharia at Uganda Muslim Supreme council sheikh Yahaya Kakungulu on Friday asked Muslims to watch out for the moon in the evening of Saturday 4th because it was the 29th day of Shabban and if not the fasting will automatically kick off on Monday 6th. The moon was expected to appear on Saturday or Sunday evening to commence the holy month.
Sheikh Kakungulu also urged Muslims to change their behaviours because the holy month is very special to believers and Allah forgives whoever fasts the holy month Ramadan.
“I urge Muslim women and girls to change their dress code during the month of Ramadan because being indecent is not allowed while fasting , they should put on long dresses and rap their heads with veils,” he added.
Sheikh Kakungulu also advised the Muslim community to follow the teaching of Islam regarding fasting and these include , fasting from down to sunset, giving the poor, performing five prayers a day, performing the night prayers (sunnah) and the congregation prayer after breaking the fast ( Taraweeh). Taraweeh (night prayers) however starts on Sunday.
During Ramadan, strict restraints are placed on the daily life of a Muslim. They are not allowed to eat, drink, smoke or engage in sexual relations during the day. Due to its significance, females who usually find it hard to veil, are tamed during this period. It is believed that it was during this season that the Koran “was sent down” from heaven.
Ramadan is also the third pillar of Islam and the wisdom behind this position, according to Muslim scholars, is that it is a fulcrum upon which the other four pillars; believing in one God, praying five times daily, helping the needy and performing the Hajj are balanced. The weak, sick, children, travelers, pregnant and menstruating women are exempted from fasting during this month. Muslim countries follow a lunar calendar in which the beginning and end of months are determined by the sighting of the new moon.