Ramadan 2009 Calendar: When does it start this year?
For Muslims around the world, the holy month of Ramadan is commencing by the end of this week. Ramadan celebrates the revelation of Qur'an to the Prophet Muhammad. In accordance with tradition, Muslims will fast, pray and refrain from any ‘excess’ activities from dawn to sunset throughout Ramadan and until September 19 of this year.
Due to the fact that most Islamic countries follow lunar calendar, the dates of Ramadan vary throughout the world. This leaves many Muslims AND Westerners wondering - When is Ramadan 2009? It starts on Saturday for many observers: Ramadan Mubarak!
Technically, Ramadan is starting this Saturday, August 22. But, different Muslim communities may start observing it Friday, August 21, or even Sunday, August 23. So, which day is the right one?
It depends on when exactly the crescent of the new moon is seen by Muslims in any one geographic locale. For example, Saudi Arabia's Muslims are typically the first ones to see the new moon, so Ramadan starts earlier there. So, it is literally in the eye of the beholder to know when to start fasting and praying during Ramadan. However, the lack of a clear cut start day for Ramadan definitely breeds confusion. So, high tech tools and sophisticated calculations are now being used to determine the exact date of the onset of Ramadan.
Ramadan, which is observed by more than one billion Muslims around the world, is a time for spiritual purification achieved through fasting, self-sacrifice and prayers.
The most prominent event of this month is fasting. Every day during the month of Ramadan, Muslims around the world get up before dawn to eat Sahur, the pre-dawn meal, then they perform the fajr prayer. They have to stop eating and drinking before the call for prayer starts until the fourth prayer of the day, Maghrib. Muslims may continue to eat and drink after the sun has set until the next morning's fajr prayer call. Then the process starts all over.
In addition to fasting, Muslims are encouraged to read the entire Qur'an. Some Muslims perform the recitation of the entire Qur'an by means of special prayers, called Tarawih, which are held in the mosques every night of the month, during which a whole section of the Qur'an (juz, which is 1/30 of the Qur'an) is recited. Therefore the entire Qur'an would be completed at the end of the month.