Here’s your complete guide to celebrating ramadan this 2023.

A large portion of the total number of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) are deployed in Middle East countries. In fact, according to the data published by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Saudi Arabia takes the seat as the leading destination for OFWs, comprising about 24.% of the total OFW population in the world. The Land of the Arabs is followed by United Arab Emirates, which eats up 14.4%

Suggested Read: Why Do OFWs Prefer to Work in Saudi Arabia?

These Middle Eastern countries are regarded as a second home by many Filipinos. And it’s not surprising for them to observe and respect one of the most solemn events of the muslim community, Ramadan.

In this article, we will look at how Ramadan is celebrated by our Muslim brothers throughout the world and what are dos and don’ts OFWs should watch out for when observing this event.

Introduction to Ramadan

ofws guide to celebrating ramadan day

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and it is considered to be the holiest month in the Islamic faith. It is important to take note that Ramadan follows the lunar calendar, and not the Gregorian calendar that we use. The exact dates of the start and end of Ramadan also varies each year, depending on the sighting of the crescent moon after a new moon. This 2023, celebration of Ramadan has already started last March 23rd and will last until the 21st of April.

During this holy month, our Muslim friends show their devotion to Allah through fasting– they are not allowed to eat or drink from sunrise to sunset. Meanwhile, children are only allowed to fast when they reach puberty. By experiencing hunger, Muslims are expected to become more empathetic and compassionate. This practice also encourages them to be grateful with the blessings they receive in life and to always extend help and generosity to those who are in need.

They also recite and pray the verses of the Quran inside mosques, also known as the Tarawih prayer.

Celebrating Ramadan: Tracing the Roots

Ramadan’s history can be traced all the way back to 610 A.D. The Muslims believe that during that time, a caravan trader that was lost in the deserts of Mecca (now Saudi Arabia) heard voices emanating from the night sky. That was the Angel Gabriel informing Mohammad that Allah had selected him to hear his words and reveal himself to the world. Prophet Muhammad began teaching about the passages that were turned into what is now known as the Quran after that memorable night. There are 114 chapters in the sacred book, which is thought to contain the actual words of God.

Our Muslim brothers around the world observe a month-long fast during Ramadan, abstaining from food, drink, and other physical needs during daylight hours. The pre dawn meal taken at sunrise and usually before fasting is called suhoor while the meal taken after sunset and usually before reciting evening prayers is called iftar, which usually consists of dates and water. The end of Ramadan is celebrated with a three-day festival known as Eid al fitr.

The Essence of Ramadan

ramadan light

The essence of Ramadan lies in the principles of self-discipline, compassion, and spiritual growth. Through the act of fasting, Muslims are able to exercise self-control over their physical desires and focus on their spiritual well-being. This includes not only refraining from food and drink during daylight hours, but also from negative behaviors such as gossip, lying, and arguing. By doing so, they are able to cultivate a greater sense of inner peace and self-awareness.

Ramadan is also a time for increased charity and giving. Muslims are encouraged to give generously to those in need, whether through monetary donations or acts of service. This practice reinforces the principle of compassion and empathy for others, particularly those who are less fortunate. Through acts of kindness and service, Muslims are able to connect with their community and build stronger relationships with those around them.

Finally, Ramadan is a time for spiritual reflection and growth. Muslims are encouraged to engage in extra prayer and Quranic recitation during the month, as well as to seek forgiveness for past wrongdoings. This process of self-reflection and repentance allows Muslims to deepen their relationship with God and to become better versions of themselves. In essence, Ramadan is a time for Muslims to focus on their spiritual well-being, to connect with their community, and to cultivate a greater sense of empathy and compassion for all.

Celebrating Ramadan: The Dos

celebrating ramadan

Fast from dawn until sunset

One of the most important aspects of Ramadan is fasting, which involves abstaining from food, drink, and other physical needs from dawn until sunset. It is important to make a sincere effort to observe this fast every day when celebrating Ramadan.

Offer the five daily prayers

In addition, muslims are required to offer five daily prayers as an essential part of their faith. When celebrating Ramadan, it is especially important to make sure that these prayers are offered on time and with sincerity.

Read and study the Quran

Ramadan is a time for spiritual reflection and self-improvement, and reading and studying the Quran is an important part of this process. Muslims are encouraged to read and reflect on the Quran during Ramadan to deepen their understanding of Islam and connect with Allah.

Give to charity

Giving to those in need is an important aspect of Islam, and it is especially important during Ramadan. Muslims are encouraged to donate to charity and help those less fortunate during this month. This act of kindness is called Zakat al fitr.

Attend taraweeh prayers

Taraweeh prayers are special prayers that are offered during Ramadan after the Isha prayer. Muslims are encouraged to attend these prayers in congregation to connect with other Muslims and gain spiritual rewards.

Seek forgiveness

Ramadan is a time for forgiveness and repentance. When celebrating Ramadan, muslims are encouraged to seek forgiveness from Allah and ask for His mercy and blessings during this month.

Celebrating Ramadan: The Don’ts

Eating, drinking, and smoking during fasting hours

One of the most important aspects of Ramadan is fasting, and Muslims are required to abstain from eating, drinking, and smoking during fasting hours. These actions are considered to invalidate the fast and decrease its spiritual rewards.

Engaging in sexual activities

Sexual activities are prohibited during the fasting hours of Ramadan, and engaging in them is considered to invalidate the fast. Muslims are encouraged to avoid any activities that may lead to temptation or arousal during the month of Ramadan. Similarly, wearing tight fitting clothes are also prohibited.

Using foul language or engaging in negative behavior

Ramadan is a month of self-reflection and self-improvement, and Muslims are encouraged to refrain from using foul language or engaging in negative behavior. They should avoid gossiping, lying, backbiting, and any other negative behaviors that may harm themselves or others.

Neglecting or delaying prayer

Prayer is a fundamental part of Islam, and Muslims are required to offer their daily prayers on time. During Ramadan, it is especially important to make sure that prayers are offered on time and with sincerity.

Wasting time on worldly activities

Ramadan is a month of spiritual reflection and self-improvement, and Muslims are encouraged to use their time wisely. They should avoid wasting time on worldly activities, such as watching TV or browsing social media, and instead focus on spiritual practices such as reading the Quran, making dua, and performing good deeds.

Showing off or seeking attention

Muslims are encouraged to perform good deeds and acts of worship during Ramadan, but they should do so with sincerity and humility. Showing off or seeking attention for one’s good deeds is discouraged and diminishes the spiritual rewards of the act.

Ramadan is a significant event for all muslims around the world. To all our muslim brothers, Ramadan Mubarak!