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More Details about Festival - Ramzan

The Ninth month of the Muslim year is known as Ramzan, when Mohammed is supposed to have received his first revelations. In commemoration of this, Muslims fast from sunrise until sunset during the month leading up to Mohammed’s "Night of Power" when according to tradition, Gabriel first told him of his mission. It is said that on this "Night of Power" the gates of Paradise are open, the gates of Hell shut and the devils are tied in chains.

The much-anticipated start of the month is based on a combination of physical sightings of the moon and astronomical calculations. The practice varies from place to place, some places relying heavily on sighting reports and others totally on calculations.

The fast of Ramzan is the most carefully observed of all religious duties by many Muslims. The daily period of fasting starts at the breaking of dawn and ends at the setting of the sun. Not only must they refrain from food and drink between dawn and dark, but they must not commit any unworthy act. One lie can make a day’s fast meaningless. The day is supposed to be spent in prayer and meditation. Once the sunset gun has sounded, the feasting begins. The usual practice is to have a pre-fast meal (suhoor) before dawn and a post-fast meal (iftar) after sunset.

Fasting during Ramzan, or Ramadan, as it is called in the West, is one of the five pillars of Islam, apart from the Announcement of Faith, Salaat (praying five times a day), Zakat (right of the poor on the wealth of the rich) and Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime).

The 27th day of Ramzan has a special significance for Muslims. Called the Laylat-al-Qadr or the "Night of Power", it was on this night during Ramzan that the Quran was sent to the first level of heaven from the seventh level and then revealed to Prophet Mohammad in parts over 23 years. It is believed that Allah (the God Almighty) sends down his angels to pray for the salvation of believers on this night. It is also called the night of mercy and prayers on this night have greater power than a thousand other prayers. According to the Quran, on this night God determines the course of the world for the following year.

Since Ramzan emphasizes community aspects and since everyone eats dinner at the same time, Muslims often invite one another to share in the Ramzan evening meal.

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