The Islamic faith is complicated and appears to be interpreted
differently in different countries. On this page we seek to give a
flavour of what Ramadan is about, just as we would explain May Day or Easter
- When and What is Ramadan?
- Punishments For
Those Flouting Ramazan
- Special Days
Celebrated During Ramadan
- Is There A Funny
Side To Being A Muslim?
- Ramadan Humour
- Hijab Option for
Ramadan [Arabic: رمضان ] is the ninth month of the Islamic
calendar. It is the Islamic month of fasting, in which participating
Muslims refrain from eating, drinking and sexual activities from dawn until
sunset. In 2011 Ramadan begins on Monday, the 1st of
August and Ramadan ends 30 days later on Tuesday, the 30th of August.
Fasting teaches the Muslim patience, modesty and spirituality.
Ramadan is a time for Muslims to fast for the sake of God [Arabic: الله,
translation: Allah] and to offer more prayer than usual. During Ramadan,
Muslims ask forgiveness for past sins, pray for guidance and help in
refraining from everyday evils, and try to purify themselves through
self-restraint and good deeds
In some Muslim countries, failing to fast or the open flouting of such
behaviour during Ramadan is considered a crime and is prosecuted as such.
For instance, in October 2008 the court of Biskra, in the south of Algeria,
condemned six people to four years in prison and heavy fines.
In Kuwait, according to law number 44 of 1968 the penalty is a fine of no
more than 100 Kuwaiti dinars, or jail for no more than one month, or both
penalties, for those seen eating, drinking or smoking during Ramadan
In the U.A.E., [United Arab Emirates] eating or drinking during the
daytime of Ramadan is considered a minor offence and would be punished by up
to 240 hours of community service.
Ramadan Kareem = Noble or Generous Ramadan
Ramadan Mubarak = Blessed or Happy Ramadan
Kul 'am wa enta bi-khair = May
every year find you in good health
Because the Muslim calendar is lunar rather than solar, the month of
Ramadan moves through the year. Thus, sometimes if falls during the winter
when the days are shorter and fasting is easier but other times it falls
during the summer when the days are longer and fasting is more difficult.
After the sun sets, Muslims break their fast first with a small meal and
then, often, a larger meal later on in the evening. It is also common for
Muslims to take a meal early in the morning before dawn, a meal known as "suhur".
There are musicians and others who volunteer to walk through town to wake
people for this early meal.
There are a number of special days, Will and Guy have discovered, during
the month of Ramadan which are considered particularly special. Since Islam
is a worldwide religion not all Muslim countries follow the same
celebrations or traditions, Fasting is appropriate but different countries
may have differing practices.
Battle of Badr: This was a key battle in
the year 625 CE and which occurred on the 17th of Ramadan
Mecca: On the 19th of Ramadan in the year 630 CE it is believed that
Muhammad managed to return and retake the city of Mecca from his opponents.
Deaths: A number of important deaths occurred during the month of
Ramadan: Muhammad's first wife, Khadija (10th) and both Ali and the eight
Shiite Imam, Ali Reza (21st).
Births: A number of important births also occurred during the month of
Ramadan: Hussein (6th), who was later martyred and Ali (22nd).
Laylat ul-Qadr: This literally means "the night of power," and is
celebrated on one of the last ten days during the month of Ramadan, but
always on an odd numbered day. Tradition holds that on this night, the
prayers of a sincere and devout Muslim are sure to be answered because it is
believed to be the night when the Quran was first revealed to Muhammad. Many
Muslims also believe that, on this night, the tree of Paradise is shaken and
the names of all those who will die in the coming year can be found on the
Eid ul-Fitr: On this day a large feast is celebrated on the breaking of
the fast of Ramadan, and is held on the first day of Shawwal, right after
the month of Ramadan. Also called "Eid," on this day many elaborate dishes
are served at banquet-like gatherings. Additionally, houses are decorated
and gifts are exchanged.
May Allah accept [the good deeds] from me and you.
Our site is largely about humour, thus we seek to understand Muslim and
Islamic humour. Ideally we would like to incorporate tasteful, clean
Islamic jokes just as we do for the Christian faith. However, it is
true to say that finding funny Muslim humour is a bigger challenge than we
Female Muslim comic and Guardian and New Statesman journalist, Shazia
Mirza, who is a British Pakistani, believes her act is helping break down
cultural barriers and overcome ignorance, has found her work in great demand
in Britain, Pakistan and the USA.
While she does not poke fun at her religion, Mirza does tell jokes about
her culture and current events. For example when questioned she has
responded, 'I always have men come up to me afterwards and ask me questions
and say: "Is it true that [Muslim] women have to walk steps behind their
husband, is that true?" I say "Yes, they look better from behind".'
Perhaps daringly and somewhat bravely, say Will and Guy, Shazia, during
her first appearance since the 9/11 attacks on the United States, she rather
nervously introduced herself to the audience. 'I'm Shazia Mirza,' she said.
'At least that's what it says on my pilot's licence.'
Mirza performs wearing a head scarf and describes herself as a devout
Muslim, but is keen to dispel any preconceptions that "all Muslim women are
oppressed, all Asian women have arranged marriages and women are not funny".
Born and bred in Birmingham, England, she confessed she had always been
known for her sense of humour.
The Metropolitan Police in London, England, has accepted Hijab as a
uniform option for Muslim women serving in the force. The announcement was
made at a conference on the theme of "Protect and Respect: Everybody's
Benefit". The move is seen as a further sign of official acceptance of
Britain as a religiously diverse society where faith-related accommodations
should be made for all individuals.
The Muslim media in Britain had argued for accepting Hijab as a uniform
option just as the turban was accepted as a part of the uniform for Sikh
policemen. Sikh motorcyclists are also allowed to wear a turban in place of
a crash helmet. Muslim policewomen will now be allowed to wear headscarf and
the ankle length gown. Muslim police officers will now be allowed to pray on
duty, demand halal food and have altered meal schedules during Ramadan.
In the above picture two models Shahnaz Shashudin and Syria Hussain are
modelling hijab uniform for women police constables in front of New Scotland
Yard, the headquarters of the London Metropolitan Police.
Please send us your Ramadan 2011 stories.
See more dates for 2011. Also check the day of the week
for these festivals:
• Chinese New Year 2011
• Valentine's Day 2011
• Chinese Valentine's
2011 • St George Day 2011
Thanksgiving 2011 •
Christmas 2011 • Tour de France 2011
• Halloween 2011 •
• Ramadan 2011 •
Eid ul-Fitr 2011 •
Rosh Hashanahi 2011 •
Yom Kippur 2011 •