Ramadan 2016 begins Monday, June 6th and ends Tuesday, July 5th.
Ramadan is observed as the most auspicious occasion for the Islamic Community. The ninth month of the year is regarded as the holiest month of the year. This was the month in which the popular belief is that the Qur'an "was sent down from heaven, a guidance unto men, a declaration of direction, and a means of Salvation".
If we want to actually dig into the actual origin of Ramadan, we have to go back to different sources. Though, none can give us the clear and actual conclusion. Some valuable historical accounts, that give us ample idea about the origin of Ramadan, form a very important part of our information. The holy Islamic texts are an integral part of the research as well. Nevertheless, we can not deny the significance of the folklores, which tells us a number of interesting stories about Ramadan.
The popular belief is that, the month of Ramadan was the month when the holy knowledge of Quran was revealed to Muhammad.
The particular night is known as the "Laylat al-Qadr", the "Night of the Power", - symbolically regarded as the same night on which the holy knowledge was gifted to Muhammad and through him, to the whole mankind. The followers of Islam consider "Laylat al-Qadr" as the holiest night of the year. The evening of either the 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th or 29th day of the month, is celebrated as the Laylat-al-Qadr, though there is no history in the Quran as to when the specific date is. The popular belief is that, on this day, Allah determines the course of the next year.
It is written in the Islamic chronicles that, in the year 610 A.D., Muhammad was passing this month in meditation in Mount Hira when he had the vision of an angel, Jibril, appearing before him. The Angel told Muhammad that he was the messenger of Allah and born to be a prophet to the people, and spread Islam.
Some historical pieces that speak of this myth also delineate that the angel who had appeared before Muhammad was the same Divine Angel, Gabriel, who had also been in the vision of the Hebrew prophet, Moses.
However, Muhammad, in the coming years had many more visions of Gibril, who taught him many more revelations of Allah, and how he likes his people to conduct in their earthly lives, balancing both the materialistic and spiritual thirst within them. Those verses were compiled, which came to be known as the sacred book of Quran.
Muhammad asked his followers to show their gratefulness to Allah in lieu of the sea of knowledge He had shared with his children, by passing the month of Ramadan in fasting, introspection, self-control, prayers, and other austerities that would lead to the purgation of their inner vices.
"Ramadan is the month during which the Quran was revealed, providing guidance for the people, clear teachings, and the statute book. Those of you who witness this month shall fast therein. Those who are ill or traveling may substitute the same number of other days. Allah wishes for you convenience, not hardship, that you may fulfill your obligations, and to glorify Allah for guiding you, and to express your appreciation." [Surat Al-Baqarah 2:185]
If we go back to the roots of the history of Ramadan, we find another alternate incident that might have as well marked the significance of this auspicious occasion all the more. The month of the Ramadan was the month on which a fierce battle was fought between the Mecca and the Medina residents. The people of Medina, who were Muslims, won the battle over the Mecca residents, who were idol-worshippers.
This battle is specially mentioned in the holy verses of the Quran. Some very intricate information about the battle is recorded in the traditional Islamic versions, in Hadiths, and also in different versions of the biography of Prophet Muhammad.
The Great Battle of Ramadan is known to have been fought on the seventeenth of Ramadan, 3 A.H.. The day finds all the more significance in every Muslim’s heart for the honor of all those Muslims who did defend their faith and religion with great valor and embraced martyrdom.
The history of Ramadan is no less significant than the day itself. It is a time to realize the goodness within oneself and shun the evils. It is the time to recall the teachings of Allah and be on the way He has dictated in the holy essence of Quran. It is a time of forbidding evils, and embrace purification from within.