The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a stunning country with tourist sights of all varieties. It also has an array of malls and historical places, but it has become most prominent in history for being the birthplace of Islam, which is one of the largest religions in the entire world.
Islam’s holiest sites are in Saudi Arabia as well and follow a lunar calendar to observe the Islamic months and festivities.
As the month of Shaban ends, which is the month marks the time of year when Arab tribes spread out to find water. Shaban may also be related to a verb meaning “to be in between two things”. Another account relates that it was called thus because the month is between Rajab and Ramadan, the month which has begun from tonight.
This month is believed to be the holiest month of the year within Islam, as it is the month in which the Quran was revealed to the prophet Muhammad. In this month, the gates of heaven are believed to be open and the gates of hell closed. Muslims are instructed to fast in the Surat Al-Baqarah, the second and longest chapter of the Quran.
One such holy month is that of Ramadan, which is the month of charity, fasting and overall to enhance a community amongst peers. The literal meaning of Ramadan is “burning heat”, which one feels and endures when they fast during this month.
Burning is related to fasting due to the supposedly high temperatures caused by the excessive heat of the sun. Ramadan is the most venerated month of the Islamic Lunar calendar. During this time, Muslims must fast from pre-dawn till sunset and should give charity to the poor and needy.
The precise beginning of the lunar month can only be confirmed by the sighting of a slender crescent moon in the sky. Prominent mosques or groups of Muslim scholars often hold meetings to deliberate the sightings, sometimes leading to rival dates for the beginning and end of Ramadan.
This year, Ramadan is to begin on the evening of May 26th and last 29 or 30 days, depending on the length of the lunar month.
Technically, all “healthy” Muslims are expected to fast, but there are an amount of exceptions. Children, elderly people and pregnant, post-natal, breast feeding or menstruating women are exempt, as are travellers or people who are physically ill.
Non-fasters can compensate by fasting at a later date or feeding a person in need.
The holy month teaches the people a sense of community, the struggles of poor people and learn to give charity to those in need as the long hours of fast communicates them the hardship of those who have next to nothing.
People get together to eat before sunrise and at sunset with their families and friends. Saudis are highly family-oriented. Family bonds run strong and the family is still considered the single most important social institution. Loyalties encompass all facets of Saudi life, including the business world, and are the major basis of individual identity, status and social associations; all these are strengthened even further in the month of Ramadan.
To experience the sacredness of this month of godly devotion, visit Saudi Arabia to understand the true piety of its people.
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