What Is Ramadan And How Is It Observed?

On Sunday June 5, Muslims all around the world will begin the annual month of fasting, self-reflection, and intense prayer, which makes up Ramadan. For 30 days, all healthy Muslims will resist consuming all food and drink from dawn till dusk, pray at least five times a day, refrain from impure behavior, and increase their charitable donations and acts. It is believed that this month of restraint purifies the body and the spirit, bringing you closer to God, as all your attention is redirected away from worldly activities and onto religious ones. Here we explain what Ramadan is, why it is celebrated, and what following the rules of Ramadan really involves.

What Is Ramadan and How Is It Observed? (Slideshow)

Ramadan is one of the largest acts of mass religious observance of its kind: Muslims all over the world will be partaking in this month of fasting, praying, and charitable behavior. This celebration takes place every year to mark the month during which Prophet Muhammad received the initial revelations that make up the Quran, the centerpiece of Islam.  Muslims believe that this challenging period of self-restraint and increased religious observance will maximize the reward they will receive at the Last Judgement. By complying with the requirements of Ramadan, Muslims are bringing themselves closer to God, as their detachment from worldly pleasures and the reminder of the suffering of those less fortunate than themselves, is recognized and appreciated.

Read on to find out why Ramadan is celebrated, what a single day of Ramadan looks like, and how the end of this period of self-restraint is celebrated.