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Ramadhan is the month of liberation and victory. Ramadan is a special month of the year for over one billion Muslims throughout the world. It is a time for inner reflection, devotion to God, and self-control. Fasting in Ramadan is obligatory on those who can do it. Sick people and some travelers in certain conditions are exempted from the fast but must make it up as they are able. The last ten days of Ramadan are a time of special spiritual focuse, as the night on which the Qur'an was revealed to the Prophet, known as the Night of Power (Lailat ul-Qadr), is generally taken to be the 27th night of the month. The end of the month is marked by the celebration of 'Eid-ul-Fitr, a traditional practice not a religious one.

Lailatul Qadr (Night of Power) is the night in the month of Ramadhan which is better than a thousand months (83 years, 4 months). This night is called Laitatul Qadr. This is the month the Prophet increased in charity ("Whoever feeds a fasting person will have a reward like that of the fasting person, without any reduction in his reward." [Tirmidhi]) According to Hadith, this night occurs during the last ten days of Ramadhan on one of the odd numbered nights. Usually it is celebrated on the 27th night of this holy month. It is a night of great importance and enormous blessings for Muslims. A night such as Lailatul Qadr was not granted to any religious community (Ummah) before Muslims. Only the Ummah of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) were favored with a night of huge reward. Once reason, it was granted, was to enable Muslims to equal the worship of any people who lived before them. In the distant past it is said that people lived very long lives of hundreds of years. People today live much shorter lives. And so Allah gave Laitatul Qadr to enable Muslims to do as much worship as a man who lived even hundreds of years longer.

While prayers mark the beginning of the celebration, Eid al-Fitr, or "fast breaking" holiday breakfast is an important meal for practicing Muslims, who had been fasting from sunrise to sunset for an entire month. During Eid al-Fitr, Muslims around the world celebrate by performing special prayers, paying social visits and seeking to strengthen family and community bonds. As with most holidays, Eid is a special day for children. They receive gifts or money from their parents, wear new outfits and enjoy their time with their families and friends. Muslims mark the end of Ramadan also with charitable contributions to the needy and by helping less fortunate Muslims taste the joy of this Islamic holiday.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar. Ramadan for the year 1423/ 2002 began on November 5, 2002 for all of the United States. The last day of Ramadan was December 4, 2002. Ramadan for the year 1424/ 2003 began on 26-27 October 2003 for all of the United States. The last day of Ramadan was 24-25 November 2003. Ramadan for the year 1425/ 2004 begins on 16 October 2004 for all of the United States, and the last day of Ramadan is 14 November 2004.

First Day : 10/15/2004   Last Day : 11/12/2004
First Day : 10/04/2005   Last Day : 11/02/2005
First Day : 09/23/2006   Last Day : 10/22/2006 
First Day : 09/12/2007   Last Day : 10/11/2007 
First Day : 02 Sep 2008  02 Oct 2008	Eid-al-Fitr 
First Day : 22 Aug 2009  21 Sep 2009	Eid-al-Fitr 
First Day : 11 Aug 2010  10 Sep 2010	Eid-al-Fitr 
First Day : 01 Aug 2011  31 Aug 2011	Eid-al-Fitr
First Day : 20 Jul 2012  19 Aug 2012	Eid-al-Fitr 
First Day : 09 Jul 2013  08 Aug 2013	Eid-al-Fitr 
First Day : 29 Jun 2014  29 Jul 2014	Eid-al-Fitr 
First Day : 18 Jun 2015  18 Jul 2015	Eid-al-Fitr 
First Day : 07 Jun 2016  07 Jul 2016	Eid-al-Fitr 
First Day : 17 May 2017  26 Jun 2017	Eid-al-Fitr 
First Day : 16 May 2018  15 Jun 2018	Eid-al-Fitr 
First Day : 06 May 2019  05 Jun 2019	Eid-al-Fitr 
First Day : 24 Apr 2020  24 May 2020	Eid-al-Fitr 

The Night of Power, when the words of Allah first came to Muhammad in the cave on Mount Hira, occurred during the last ten days of the month of Ramadan. It is not clear on which night the revelation occurred. Shiah Muslims hold that it is the 23rd night of Ramadan. Other communities select the 19th or 21st.

Cultural differences and even geography have led to differences in the ways Muslims observe the holy month. Fasting during daylight hours has proven difficult for people living near polar regions during the long days of the summer. Muslim clerics have in the past few years issued fatwas allowing Muslims in regions where the sun does not set in summer -- or, when Ramadan falls in winter, where the sun does not rise -- to follow the sunrise and sunset times of Mecca.

Combat During Ramadan ??

The US closed embassies and consulates in the Middle East and Africa on 04 August 2013 following a worldwide alert that said al-Qaida could be planning attacks. The alert was issued after U.S. intelligence intercepted electronic conversations in which the al-Qaida chief in Pakistan, Ayman al-Zawahri, ordered the head of its branch in Yemen to carry out an attack. The United States reopened 18 of its embassies and consulates in the Middle East and Africa on 09 August 2013, more than a week after they were closed due to a security threat. CNN's Peter Bergen thought the night has symbolic meaning for al Qaeda, and perhaps it does. Bergen speculated that the Night of Power explained the timing of the closure of US embassies in Africa and the Middle East, though many remained unconvinced. Bergen noted that "On the Night of Power in 2000, which that year fell on January 3, al Qaeda militants attempted to launch a suicide attack against the American warship USS The Sullivans off the coast of Yemen with a bomb-filled boat." Clearly the lifting of the closures corresponded to the Eid-al-Fitr and the conclusion of Ramadan.

The US decision not to interrupt its bombing in Afghanistan during the month of Ramadan gave rise to harsh criticism in the Arab and Muslim world. US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's comments that Muslims had, throughout history, fought during Ramadan, led to a wave of protest in the Arab media. American allies in the war on terror in Afghanistan and Islamic leaders pressed for a cease-fire during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

President Clinton said he ordered a strong, sustained series of US air strikes against military and security targets in Iraq on 16 December 1998 because Saddam Hussein "failed to seize" his last chance to cooperate with United Nations weapons inspectors. An immediate attack was unavoidable, the administration maintained, given the impending holy month of Ramadan. In explaining the timing of the strikes, he noted that "For us to initiate military action during Ramadan would be profoundly offensive to the Muslim world and therefore would damage our relations with Arab countries and the progress we have made in the Middle East. That is something we wanted very much to avoid." Operation Desert Fox sent 650 air sorties and 400 cruise missile strikes against Iraq, but it was called off after 70 hours, ostensibly to avoid bombing during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

There were a number significant battles during the month of Ramadan in which Allah granted victory to Islam and Muslims. "The great battle of Badr, which took place in the month of Ramadan, was the first battle between believers and infidels. The Muslims demonstrated rare heroism, setting their souls on the points of their lances and preferring martyrdom to remaining alive. Allah gave them a mighty victory for Islam.

In The Battle of the Ditch, the Muslims trained for the battle [during Ramadan], even though it [actually] occurred in the month of Shawal, which comes after Ramadan. The conquest of Mecca in the battle of Badr, where the Prophet Mohammed fought against the infidels, took place on 17 Ramadan, 624 AD. The battle of Tabouk, also took place in the month of Ramadan. In this battle the soldiers of Islam, under the leadership of the Messenger of Allah, established in Tabouk a training and fighting camp during the month of fasting, so as to show the strength of the Muslims in the clash with the Byzantine army. The Muslims conquered Rhodes during the month of Ramadan. During the month of Ramadan a great Muslim victory was won over the Crusaders under the leadership of Salah Al-Din [Saladin] Al-Ayubi. His advisors counseled him to rest from the Jihad during the month of fasting, but Saladin insisted on continuing the Jihad during Ramadan.

Fighting took place over two Ramadans in the 1948 Israeli War of Independence. Fighting continued through nine Ramadans during the Yemeni Civil War from 1962 to 1970.The Yom Kippur War is also known as the 6th of October war of 1973 and the 10th of Ramadan War. On the 10th of the month of Ramadan in 1973, the Egyptians crossed the Suez Canal. During Lebanon's civil war from 1975 to 1990, fighting took place over the course of seventeen Ramadans. Ramadan cease-fires during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s often did not hold. In 1981 and again in 1987, Iran rejected Iraqi offers for a Ramadan cease-fire. In 1986, Christian forces called for a Ramadan cease-fire, which lasted two weeks. The first Palestinian intifida, lasting from 1987 to 1993, was waged over six Ramadans. There were at least 20 examples of Ramadan violence by Muslims during the Algerian civil war in the 1990s.

In November 2000 Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee stated that India would initiate a unilateral cease-fire in observance of the holy month of Ramadan as a step towards peace in Kashmir. But widespread fighting continued between Indian forces and the guerrillas in Jammu-Kashmir.

The United States faced this situation before in Vietnam. In that case, the holiday was the two-day Buddhist and cultural celebration called Tet, a combination of New Year's, All Souls Day and Thanksgiving. Tet was celebrated in the Communist-controlled North and by American allies in the South. A cease-fire on Tet was a long tradition in the Vietnam conflict and it generally had been upheld by the Communist North since at least 1963. On Jan. 30, 1968, however, North Vietnam launched a massive, coordinated assault on the first day of Tet.

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Page last modified: 06-06-2016 19:48:09 ZULU