Apr 25 , 2021
History of Ramadan
Yeah its Ramadan Alhamdulillah. Millions of Muslims the world over observe fasting in this blessed month. But do you know the history behind Ramadan fasting ? How was it made obligatory ? How has Ramadan been observed through history? Ramadan traditions ,taraweeh origins? etc
So hold back on to your seats as I shall take you on a trip back to the history of Ramadan.
When was Ramadan fasting made obligatory?
The Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad PBUH over a period of 23 years, and the verses instructing Muslims to fast the entire month of Ramadan came in the latter half of that period. After 12 years of torture and oppression in Makkah , Muslims migrated to the city of Medina in 622 AD .Two years later, the verses about fasting in Ramadan were revealed, with Prophet Muhammad PBUH establishing the holy month’s practices in the sanctuary of their new home.
Is fasting unique to Muslims or did it exist before prophet Muhammad PBUH?
Fasting was present even before Prophet Muhammad PBUH. As its mentioned in the Quran .
“Oh, you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may learn piety and righteousness” [Quran,2:183]
References of fasting are found in evidences as old as 1000 BC
How did early muslims observe Ramadan?
The early Muslim community would awake for the pre-dawn meal, known as suhoor, and refrain from eating, drinking and marital relations until sunset, when they broke their fast (iftar), typically on dates. As well as spiritual discipline and increased worship, fasting placed a strong focus on improving behaviour. They observed worship on the nights of loyal Atul Qadr, performed Umrah, itikaf, gave charity etc.
Did Muslims observe taraweeh during era of Prophet Muhammad PBUH?
In the last year of his life, Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), came out one night and prayed taraweeh. On that night, some people prayed with him. During the second night, word spread and more people joined in taraweeh. Even more people attended on the third night. On the fourth night, the mosque was packed and the people awaited the Prophet’s arrival.
The Prophet, however, prayed at home by himself. After fajr, he said: “Nothing prevented me from coming out to you except the fact that I feared that it would be made obligatory for you.” (Muslim)
From the time of Caliph Abu Bakr to the beginning of Caliph Omar’s time, people prayed taraweeh either individually or in small groups. Later, Caliph Omar gathered everyone behind one imam and they prayed 8 rakats. Eventually, it was increased to 20 rakats to make it easy for people.
How has Ramadan practices been all through history?
While the core rituals and significance of Ramadan have remained unchanged since 622, the spread of Islam over the globe gave texture and diversity to the global Ramadan experience. In Ottoman times, drummers in Turkey woke people for the pre-dawn meal, and similarly in Morocco, a nafar (town crier) dressed in traditional Moroccan robe and leather slippers roamed the streets rousing people to the sound of an instrument, like a horn, trumpet, or daff.
In Egypt, a Ramadan lantern or fanoos, probably originating during the Fatimid dynasty of the 10th-12th centuries, became a symbol of the sacred month – perhaps to symbolise the spiritual light and blessings that Ramadan brings. Today, intricate lanterns are seen lighting up homes, shops and lining the streets. Egypt was also said to have instigated the ‘iftar cannon’, or ‘midfa al-iftar’, where a cannon was fired to dramatically announce the time for breaking the fast.
Ramadan also entered the sphere of poetry and captured the imagination of Sufi poets, acting as their muse while they penned love poems to the holy month.
( Written by Aaliyah Khan,Proprietor of The Islamic kidstore)