It’s always a treat to be able to greet this glorious month of Ramadan like an old friend. You know it’s going to be different every year. Yet, it has always given you a sense of nostalgia as you progress through the month. Ramadan is considered to be the holiest month in the Islamic lunar calendar. Not only because of the act of fasting performed by Muslims worldwide, but for which the Qur’an was gifted to humanity, serving as guidance for the people.

Here are some fun facts about Ramadan you might not know about!

The first verses of the Qur’an were revealed in this month

Ramadan is celebrated as the month when the very first verses of the Holy Qur’an were revealed to Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) in 610 CE. Specifically it was on the night of Lailatul Qadr; the Night of Power and Decree.

Lailatul Qadr

The term Lailatul Qadr can be expressed in a variety of ways. Common English terms include the Night of Decree, the Night of Power, the Night of Value, the Night of Destiny or the Night of Miracles. For significantly good reasons, they’re all applicable to describe this one night of the last ten days of Ramadan. On this particular night, Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala’s blessings and mercy are bountiful, sins are forgiven and duas are accepted.

Ramadan becomes earlier every year

I remember about two decades ago, Ramadan was in conjunction to the end-of-year holidays. There was a lot to celebrate; the freedom of school ending for the year, exams were over, successfully fasting for a month and Eid Al-Fitri around the corner. This was because the Islamic calendar is based on lunar phases, as opposed to the Gregorian calendar, which is solar. Thus, the lunar year is shorter than the solar year. This makes Ramadan begin around 11 days earlier every year!

Fasting times vary throughout the world

If you’re living further north of the northern hemisphere, you will most probably face an arduous journey of fasting. For example, in Iceland, Muslims will have over 20 hours of fasting to cover this Ramadan. While the shortest hours of fasting can be found at the very southern hemisphere of Chile at just 10 hours of fasting. This is due to the fact that fasting should be done during daylight hours. At the moment, Iceland is in their summer season, whilst Chile is experiencing their short winter days.

Tarawih and Witr Prayers

Ramadan marks the month where extra evening prayers are performed every night, right after their Isya’ prayers. Although Tarawih prayers are considered to be optional and not obligatory, it’s always a wonderful and heartwarming sight to see mosques fuller in the evenings because of these prayers.

Shorter working hours

In countries where majority of the population are Muslims, working hours are shortened to accommodate the spiritual journey of fasting. This provides additional time spent in prayer, as well as achieving khatam al-Qur’an by the end of the month.

In addition to this small form of enlightenment, may this holy month of Ramadan bring you an abundance of blessings, peace and tranquility.