Video Credits : The Hindu

The ninth month of Islam calendar is very significant for all the Muslims around the world as it is believed that during this month the first verses of the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Mohammad by the ‘Allah’. The month of Ramadan is the holiest month for all the Muslims during the year. Which is a time for reflection, prayers, charity and fasting. Fasting during Ramadan is not only abstaining oneself from food but also from sinful behaviour from dawn to dusk. As fasting during Ramadan is fundamental aspect of faith and is one of the five pillars of Islam which purifies the soul & body connecting everyone spiritually through prayers and good deeds such as charity. Through out this month Muslims fast from dawn to dusk refrain from food, water and other phrased pleasure & comforts to focus on their spiritual connects with ‘Allah’ the almighty through prayers.

In Kashmir people are predominantly Muslims and celebrates Ramadan with full zeal & enthusiasm with whole hearted participation. The crescent Moon in the sky on ninth month of Islamic calendar marks the start of the month of Ramadan.

The day starts very early with ‘Suhur’ which is the pre-dawn meal eaten by all before they began their fast which is usually around 4:00 am to 5:00 am. This meal is also considered an essential meal as this helps in sustaining energies all-round the day. This is followed by prayers which starts this holy moth which each day bringing more purity in them. Along fasting while continuing their daily activities offering prayers in mosque is essential during this month. Throughout this month series of prayer are also being performed every night after the ‘Isha’ prayer which is known as ‘Taraweeh’ along recitation of Quran verse & sermons.

The fast is broken at dusk on sunset with a meal which is known as ‘Iftar’. In Kashmir, the Iftar meal is usually a grand affair, with family and friends coming together to share the feast after a day of fast. The meal typically includes the variety of Kashmiri dishes such as Rogan josh, yakhini, biriyani along with traditional sweets such as phirni, sheer korma & halwa. Fruits & dry fruits are one of the main parts of these feast.

Charity is also an essential aspect of Ramadan and ‘Zakat’ is one of the important rituals required to be carried out during this month which is an obligatory charitable contribution. Also, during this month people organize charity events in order to provide food and other essential commodities to the poor & needy. This act brings a lot of people together for community service and uniting them for a good cause.

Kashmir which is already famous for its ‘Kahmiriyat’ is no less in celebrating this holy month and follows this month of Ramadan with lot of spirit and faith. But since last so many decades this festival month wasn’t all the same and this was all due to the atrocities and time to time hindrances created by our not so friendly neighbour, ‘Pakistan’. Even during this holy month our unfriendly neighbour did never restrain their sinful behavior of creating violence and terrorizing the peaceful citizens in Kashmir. Since last 5 years more than such 40 (forty) incident had been reported to be done by them to disturb the peace and creating havoc in the valley. People are now more aware and are strongly against such activities by the antisocial elements. They have learnt the value of peace and development which has played an important role in relishing Kashmir to again celebrate this holy month with much happiness and unity.

The govt has also taken several steps to reach out to the local populating though the security forces who are fostering goodwill by taking initiative in organizing Iftar parties with the soldiers and other govt officers together in their community and villages. Such gatherings are strengthening the base which is based on faith and trust with a feeling of togetherness.

This holy month of Ramadan is a time for reflection of unity and compassion. As individuals these small steps towards peace, spiritual growth, prosperity, unity & reconciliation along with charity acts should be the way to preach with the other pillars of the Islam. The end of Ramadan is marked by celebrating it as Eid-ul-Fitar which brings great joy and happiness among all with purity of soul and body and a mind with peace among everybody. Hope this year the sanity of this month is maintained which shall bring good luck, peach & happiness to all of us in Kashmir & the world. ‘ Ameen’.

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