Ramadhan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.It is the Islamic month of fasting, and the fourth pillar of Islam, in which participating Muslims refrain from eating and drinking from dawn until sunset.
The name "Ramadhan" had been the name of the ninth month in Arabian culture long before the arrival of Islam; the word itself derived from an Arabic root, as in words like "ramida" or "ar-ramad" denoting intense heat, scorched ground and shortness of rations.
In the Qu'ran, Allah proclaims that "fasting has been written down (as obligatory) upon you, as it was upon those before you". (Surah Al-baqarah 183)
Ramadhan is a time for Muslims to fast for the sake of Allah and to offer more prayer than usual. Muslims are called upon to use this month to re-evaluate their lives in light of Islamic guidance. We are to make peace with those who have wronged us, strengthen ties with family and friends, do away with bad habits -- essentially to clean up our lives, our thoughts, and our feelings. The Arabic word for "fasting" (sawm) literally means "to refrain" - and it means not only refraining from food and drink, but from evil actions, thoughts, and words. During Ramadhan, 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.
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. Ramadhan 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.
The most prominent event of this month is fasting. Every day during the month of Ramadhan, Muslims around the world get up before dawn to eat Sahur or Sehri (meaning "something we eat at Sahar"), then they perform the fajr prayer. They have to stop eating and drinking before the call for prayer starts until the fourth prayer of the day, Maghrib. The fast is broken at Maghrib (at sunset) prayer time with a meal called Iftar. Muslims may continue to eat and drink after the sun has set until the next morning's fajr prayer call. Then the process starts all over.
The Islamic year is based on the lunar calendar as such the dates of Ramadhan vary, moving backwards about ten days each year depending on the moon. Ramadhan was the month in which the first verses of the Qur'an were said to be revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him).
Sometimes referred to as "the night of decree or measures",Laylat al-Qadris considered the most holy night of the year, as it is the night in which the Qur'an was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him).
It is believed to have occurred on an odd-numbered night during the last 10 days of Ramadhan, either the night of the 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th or 29th.
The Islamic holiday of Eid ul-Fitr (Arabic: عيد الفطر) marks the end of the fasting period of Ramadhan and the first day of the following month, after another new moon has been sighted. The Eid falls after 29 or 30 days of fasting, per the lunar sighting. Eid ul-Fitr means the Festival of Breaking the Fast; a special celebration is made.
During the month following Ramadhan, called Shawwal, Muslims are encouraged to fast for a further six days, known as as-Sitta al-Bid, or "the white six.