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Fasting is an essential pillar of Islam. It’s an obligatory act that Muslims must do. If you’re a new Muslim or new to fasting, this write-up is for you. A beginner’s guide to Ramadan 2024 will encompass essential topics a Muslim must know before fasting.

What is Fasting?

Fasting, also called Sawm in Arabic, is abstaining from eating, drinking, and other things from dawn till sunset. 

Generally, fasting is obligatory for every Muslim during Ramadan, although there are exceptions like young children, travelers, the sick, pregnant and nursing women, menstruating women, and the elderly. 

Why Do We Fast?

The month of Ramadan is a bonus for Muslims, and you should take full advantage of it. We fast to attain taqwa, enjoining what’s good and avoiding what’s wrong. The Prophet (PBUH) said in a Hadith: 

Whoever does not give up false statements (i.e., telling lies), evil deeds, and speaking bad words to others, Allah does not need his (fasting) leaving his food and drink.” Saheeh Bukhari: Book 78, Hadith 87

 The Hadith shows that fasting is also a means of leaving destructive behaviors and embracing good character. Fasting is one of the best ways to fulfill the commandments of Islam. Here are some other reasons why Muslims fast.

1. Give more thanks

Fasting helps you appreciate your daily life and give thanks for your opportunities. Eating, drinking, and sexual intercourse are some of the world’s greatest pleasures, and leaving them during Ramadan will help you to give more thanks to Allah (SWT).

2. Giving up sin

Fasting is a means of abstaining from haram activities. Activities like watching porn, gambling, and drinking alcohol are some things you should give up during Ramadan. A person who can give up halal stuff like food and drink because of Allah (SWT) shouldn’t have issues giving up sin.

3. Mindful of the poor and needy

 Fasting allows you to feel compassion for the poor and needy people. When you taste hunger, you’ll be mindful of needy people who live in hunger daily. This experience will push you to be more compassionate and help the less fortunate whenever possible.

Why is Ramadan Special?

You’ve seen how Muslims prepare for Ramadan, and it’s apparent that they’re excited about it. You might be wondering why the month is so special. Ramadan is one of the most significant months in the Islamic calendar. It’s also one of the most celebrated, as it holds a special place in the life of every Muslim.

Here are a few reasons why Ramadan is special

1. The month in which the Quran was revealed

The Quran was revealed to the Prophet (PBUH) in Ramadan. Allah said this explicitly in the Quran.

 The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur’an, guidance for humanity, and clear proof of the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong). So, whoever of you sees (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadan, i.e., is present at his home), he must start observing Sawm (fast) that month…” Qur’an – Chapter 2, Verse 185

2. One of the pillars of Islam

There are five pillars in Islam- Shahadah, Solah, Zakat, Ramadan, and Hajj. A house without a pillar might as well collapse. Ramadan is one of the strongest pillars of Islam that every Muslim must uphold. So, it’s indeed special.

3. Month of forgiveness and mercy

As said above, Ramadan is a bonus for every Muslim. Everyone sins either knowingly or unknowingly; hence, Ramadan is a chance for you to forgive anyone for your sins. You should strive to seek Allah’s forgiveness and believe that He can forgive your sins.

The Prophet (PBUH) also said:

Whoever fasts Ramadan out of faith and in the hope of reward, his previous sins will be forgiven.” – Saheeh Bukhari & Saheeh Muslim.

How to Prepare for Ramadan 2024

A beginner’s friendly guide to Ramadan 2024 should include how you can prepare yourself for it. 

Muslims look forward to Ramadan, and knowing how to prepare for it is necessary. Preparation like iftars, physical preparation, and mental and spiritual preparations are all essential. Here are some other preparations for Ramadan in 2024

Learn how to pray.

From the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH), various supplications can prepare your heart for Ramadan. You must also learn how to pray correctly because Ramadan is for accepting prayers. Pray that the Almighty should let you reach Ramadan and beyond.

Increase in Good deeds.

Many are excited about Ramadan approaching and assume they’ll automatically be productive during it. It doesn’t work that way, so we must prepare. Ramadan encourages doing good deeds, so start even before Ramadan. Don’t say, “Oh, I’ll start doing my good deeds during Ramadan.” Push yourself to gain the pleasures of the Almighty before Ramadan so you can find it easy when the month is here.

 Changing daily habits takes time. Thus, you should start increasing your good deeds in the months before Ramadan.

Sunnah prayers

Sunnah prayers are nawafils performed in addition to the five daily prayers. Although they’re not obligatory, they carry great rewards. There are 12 rakats- 2 before Fajr, four before Dhuhr, 2 after it, 2 after Maghrib, and 2 after Isha.

There is no Muslim servant of Allah who prays 12 extra rakats from other than the obligatory prayer for the sake of Allah Most High except that Allah makes for him (or her) a house in Paradise.”

Prophet Muhammad (Saheeh Muslim)

As seen in the Hadith, anyone consistent with the Sunnah prayers will have a house in Paradise. So, strive to adopt the habit of praying these prayers. You can start with Fajr, be consistent for a few weeks, and take up more. Gradually, you’ll achieve praying all with ease.

Reading the Quran

Completing a whole Quran during Ramadan is a recommended act. Hence, if you’ve not been reading the Quran before Ramadan, you might find it hard to read it during Ramadan. So, cultivate the habit of reading the Quran while preparing for Ramadan. Even if it’s just a verse, there’s a reward for reading it.

Reduce distractions

Social media, for instance, is a huge distraction today. If you wish to make absolute use of Ramadan, reduce your social media presence before the month. When you’ve reduced it and get comfortable with a set schedule, you can easily use Ramadan.

Make the intention

As a beginner or an expert in Ramadan, intending to fast is an excellent step towards completing the fast. Also, always make the intention to fast the night before Fajr.

Activities to engage in Ramadan

Here are some of the activities you can engage in during Ramadan. 

  • Sahur– the pre-dawn meal
  • Iftar– the breaking of the fast
  • Dhikr– remembrance of Allah
  • Taraweeh– The Sunnah prayer prayed after Isha with 8 rakats and 3 witr rakats
  • Qiyam-al-lay– Sunnah prayers are observed during a part of the night.
  • Tafseer– listening to the science of explanation of the Qurʾān, the sacred scripture of Islam.

When is Ramadan 2024?

The holy month of Ramadan begins on Sunday, March 10, 2024, and ends on Tuesday, April 9, 2024. The dates may vary according to the moon sighting.

Bottom line

Do you need a beginner’s guide to Ramadan 2024? We’ve explained the basic concept of Ramadan in this article. You can check them out and learn the essence of the month.