What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is a time of spiritual reflection and worship during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, in which participating Muslims refrain from eating and drinking during daylight hours. The dates of Ramadan vary, moving backwards by about eleven days each year depending on the moon.
Muslims believe Ramadan to be the month in which the first verses of the Qur’an were revealed to the Islamic prophet, Muhammad. Ramadan is thought to establish a link between themselves and God through prayer, charity, good deeds, kindness and helping others. The elderly, the chronically ill, and the mentally ill are exempt from fasting, although the first two groups must endeavor to feed the poor in place of their missed fasting.
Since it is a festival of giving and sharing, Muslims prepare special foods and buy gifts for their family and friends and for giving to the poor and needy who cannot afford it; this can involve buying new clothes, shoes and other items of need.
At the end of Ramadan, Eid-ul-Fitr celebrates the conclusion of the month of dawn-to-sunset fasting. Eid is an Arabic word meaning “festivity”, while Fiṭr means “breaking the fast”.
Want to know more? Here are some useful links and items from our collection:
- Wellington City Libraries’ Popular Topics page on Beliefs: Islam
- Explore Islam on our Kid’s Catalog Web
- Explore Muslim holidays on our Kid’s Catalog Web
Ramadan / Suhaib Hamid Ghazi ; illustrated by Omar Rayyan.
“Describes the celebration of the month of Ramadan by an Islamic family and discusses the meaning and importance of this holiday in the Islamic religion.” (Syndetics summary)
The white nights of Ramadan / Maha Addasi ; illustrated by Ned Gannon.
“Noor lives in a country near the Arabian (Persian) Gulf. Shes looking forward to the festival known as Girgian that comes in the middle of the holy month of Ramadan. These middle days are known as the three whites, because they include the day of the full moon and day before and after. Its when children, dressed in traditional clothes, go from house to house collecting treats from their neighbors.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)
Id-ul-Fitr / Cath Senker ; photography by Chris Fairclough.
“This book introduces the reader to the festival of Id-ul-Fitr and explores how one child and her family celebrate it. The book includes panels to show how people around the world celebrate Id and an Id recipe for you to try yourself.” – (adapted from Global Books In Print summary)
Islam in New Zealand : the first mosque : a short history of the New Zealand Muslim Association & the Ponsonby Mosque / by Abdullah Drury.
“Islam is without doubt one of the fastest growing religions in New Zealand and also one of the least understood by the general public. Yet Muslims have been living in this country for over a century – peacefully and conscientiously. New Zealand Muslims have proved it perfectly possible to remain devout and faithful to Islam and at the same time function effectively in a modern Anglo-Saxon Western society The New Zealand Muslim Association is the oldest Islamic institution in this country. The first mosque in New Zealand, and the definitive heart of Islam in this country, was built twenty years ago in 1979 in Ponsonby, central Auckland. It represented the culmination of thirty years hard work and effort on behalf of the immigrants and refugees who were the driving force behind its construction. The building marks the collective turning point from being a group of expatriate migrants to becoming the foundation stone of the New Zealand Muslim community, and stands as a milestone in the history of the wider Muslim community across the land.” – (adapted from Publisher’s summary)
Introduction to Islam [videorecording] / with Bilal Dannoun.
There are many myths and misconceptions portrayed about Islam and Muslims everyday in the media which causes disharmony and fear. A lot of what the media portrays Islam to be is incorrect and against its teachings, although some (who call thermselves Muslims) carry out terrible crimes against humanity. These actions are condemned by Islam. Voice of Islam presents Islam through its television programs, lecture tours, DVDs and other books and publications in a correct manner as a reminder and education for Muslims, and to show non Muslims the correct manner in which we should be acting and practising our religion” – (adapted from DVD booklet summary)
The complete idiot’s guide to understanding Islam / by Yahiya Emerick.
“Yoursquo;re no idiot, of course. You know Islam is an ancient religion with millions of followers and has a profound impact on world affairs. But are you aware of how many facets of modern life were influenced by Islamic inventions and discoveries? Or that Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the United States? The Complete Idiotrsquo;s Guidereg; to Understanding Islam takes you back to the origins of this faith and explores its beliefs and practices through the centuries and in the present. In this Complete Idiotrsquo;s Guidereg;, you get: An overview of the major tenets of the Islamic holy book, the Qurrsquo;an, including quotes from the actual text. The life and philosophies of the Prophet Muhammad as enacted in Islamic thought. Religious ceremonies for weddings, births, and funerals, and the celebrations behind the two major holidays, Ramadan and Hajj. Islamic contributions to the arts and sciences, including algebra, chemistry, astronomy, and medicine. Muslim perspective on the Crusades.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)
The essential message of the Qur’an / Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri.
“The Essential Message of the Qur’an captures the spiritual significance of the sacred text of Islam and how it inspired countless millions across the ages.” – (adapted from Publiher’s summary)
Being Muslim / Haroon Siddiqui.
“In the wake of 9/11, Islam-bashing bears all the symptoms of racism as it holds up the relatively few fanatics as representative of all 1.3 billion Muslims. That’s the argument of award-winning Canadian journalist Siddiqui, past president of PEN Canada, a writers’ group that is a leading advocate of free speech. His clear, passionate discussion confronts international issues that are in the news now, including recent controversies over cartoon representations of Prophet Muhammad, the debate surrounding the wearing of the hijab (traditional headscarf), and issues of faith and feminism, suicide bombing, and more. While clearly concerned about terrorism and other dangers, Siddiqui attacks the propaganda of collective guilt. Without preaching or political jargon and drawing on his travels and interviews in Muslim countries, he shows that the extremists are being challenged by a new generation of Muslims, and welcomes the current internal reformation. He also asks penetrating questions: for example, Why does the U.S. turn a blind eye to suffocating restrictions on women in Saudi Arabia? Including documented chapter notes and an Essential Reading list, this timely volume in the Groundwork Guide series is sure to spark debate. Like Jane Springer’s Genocide (2006), also part of the series, this is excellent for classroom discussion. –Hazel Rochman Copyright 2006 BooklistFrom Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.” – (adapted from Booklist summary)
Islamic art : architecture, painting, calligraphy, ceramics, glass, carpets / Luca Mozzati ; [translation from the Italian, D. Radzinowicz [et al.]].
“This large format volume is notable for its remarkable illustrations, all in color. Most of the photographs are large scale, and although they include many familiar monuments and the usual canon of great monuments, readers will find many surprises, e.g., the striking madrasah and minaret in Khiva, Uzbekistan, from the early 20th century. The photographs are often from unusual points of view, or offer excellent details, and cover material from Spain and Morocco to central Asia and the Indian subcontinent. Although many sources are credited, by far the largest number of photographs are Mozzati’s, and they are very valuable. The subtitle of the book is accurate in that many different media are represented by the works illustrated, but the overwhelming emphasis is on architecture. All photographs are accompanied by descriptive and discursive captions, often lengthy. The book includes introductory essays on general topics that will provide a useful introduction for general readers, for whom this book is clearly intended. Specialists in and teachers of Islamic art will, however, find the photographic record very useful. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers; lower-division undergraduates through faculty/researchers. L. Nees University of DelawareCopyright American Library Association, used with permission.” – (adapted from CHOICE summary)