RAMADAN (Muslim Festival)
Date varies from year to year - please check the REonline Festivals Calendar
To understand that Ramadan
is a special time for Muslims; to think about what is important in
Preparation and materials
- Background: Ramadan is the fourth of the 'five pillars'
of Islam, the five requirements of being a Muslim. They are called 'pillars'
because like pillars they support the Muslim way of life. Ramadan is marked by
a fast, which lasts for the ninth month of the lunar year. It marks the time
when Muslims believe their holy book, the Qur'an, was revealed to them by the
Prophet Muhammad. This year Ramadan falls between 15 October and 14
- Materials: a bowl of dates and a
glass of milk; an empty bowl and glass. Display a collection of books or
posters on Islam from your local RE Resource Centre (details of your local RE
Centre can be found on the RE Directory website: www.theredirectory.org.uk).
- Ask everyone to think about a
month which is important for them, e.g. the month in which their birthday
falls, a month in which they go on holiday, a month when spring flowers appear,
the month of a religious festival. Go on to explain that now is a special month
for Muslims. During this month they get up very early, before the sun rises,
and eat a large breakfast. They do not eat or drink again until the sun has set
and it is dark. It's a long time to go without food or drink, from before dawn
until sunset. Think about what it would be like - or what it is like for local
Muslims, perhaps at your school. This time is known as Ramadan, and going
without food or drink is known as fasting.
- Explain the reasons why Muslims
fast during Ramadan. By going without food and drink they remember that there
are more important things in life than the needs of their bodies. Being
faithful to God, or Allah as they call him, and obeying God's words are the
most important things in life, so during the month of Ramadan Muslims spend
more time reading from the holy book, the Qur'an, and speaking to God in
Think about what is important in your life. Is food and drink
the most important thing to you? Are the things you possess, like your toys or
your clothes, the most important things to you?
- When the sun goes down it's time
to eat and drink again. Very often Muslims will break the fast by eating a few
dates and drinking milk or water before they have a large family meal together.
It's not easy to fast, so young children, elderly people, pregnant
women and people who are sick don't have to, until they are older or are
feeling stronger. Everyone else tries to make the effort.
food or drink during the daylight hours is also important in other ways. It's a
hard thing to do and so it helps Muslims to be able to cope with the times in
their lives when hard or difficult things happen.
Feeling hungry and
thirsty also helps them to understand what it is like for people in the world
who do not have enough to eat or drink all the time, and so they set aside
money to give to the poor. The amount they set aside equals the cost of a meal
for each person in the family. So if there are five people in the family, they
will give away the cost of a meal for five people. What amount might you give
away in your family?
- How might Muslims feel at
Ramadan? Perhaps you could ask Muslim children to describe what it's like to
keep the fast of Ramadan.
One of the things that makes fasting easier
is that it's a time when Muslims feel closer to one another because they know
that Muslims all over the world are going through the same experiences.
At the end of the month they have a party to celebrate. It's called the
Festival of Breaking the Fast (Eid-ul-Fitr) and it's a time of great happiness
and thanksgiving to God.
Take time now to think or to pray about what you've
heard. You could use these words as a focus for the reflection.
at this time of year think about what is important to them. Think about what is
worthwhile in your life. What gives your life meaning, what is important to
As Muslims think about people who do not have enough food to eat
or drink, we pray for those people around the world who are hungry and thirsty
all the time, because there is not enough food for them to eat, or clean water
Encourage children to say their own quiet prayers of thanks
for having enough food to eat and safe, clean water to drink.