Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar in which Muslims worldwide observe as a month of fasting. While fasting from dawn until sunset, Muslims refrain from consuming food, drinking liquids, smoking and engaging in sexual relations; in some interpretations they also refrain from swearing. Food and drink is served daily, before sunrise and after sunset. According to Islam, the rewards of fasting are many, but in this month they are believed to be multiplied. Fasting for Muslims during Ramadan typically includes the increased offering of prayers and recitation of the Quran, the central religious text of Islam.
The beginning and end of Ramadan are determined by the lunar Islamic calendar. This year, Ramadan 2014 begins in the evening of Saturday, June 28 and ends in the evening of Monday, July 28.
Muslims are called upon to use this month to re-evaluate their lives in light of Islamic guidance. They are to make peace with those who have wronged them, strengthen ties with family and friends and “do away” with bad habits — essentially to clean up their lives, their thoughts, and their feelings. The Arabic word for “fasting” literally means “to refrain” – and it means not only refraining from food and drink, but from evil actions, thoughts and words.
Therefore, fasting is not merely physical, but is rather the total commitment of the person’s body and soul to the spirit of the fast. Ramadan is a time to practice self-restraint; a time to cleanse the body and soul from impurities and re-focus one’s self on the worship of God.