After three decades, Muslims in Kashmir and the rest of Asia have begun the longest days of fast in Ramadan.This holy month, Muslims in the Valley will fast for nearly 16 hours. The last time Ramadan started in mid-July was in 1980.
July and August are generally the hottest months in Kashmir with the temperature going up to 37 degrees Celsius. Besides, the days are longest in the year. Despite all that, this is a much awaited time in the valley. This is when devotion and charity become part of life. The Islamic calendar is lunar. Therefore, Ramadan starts 11 days earlier each year if compared to the Western calendar. Most of the Arab world and Muslims living in Europe started their first fast on Friday but in the Indian sub-continent, the holy month will start either on Saturday or Sunday, subject to the appearance of the moon.
Belief has it that Allah revealed the first verses of the Holy Quran to Prophet Muhammad (SAW) this month. The month of Ramadan is dedicated to worship with the faithful refraining from negativity, including anger and bad language. Charity is also an important part of worship. The month long Ramadan falls on July 20 this year.
Generally, families have the two main meals of the month, Sehari or the pre dawn meal and Iftar, just after sundown, together. During the day, those who fast take no food or water. While most of the muslim world observes the fast, exceptions are made in case of sickness, pregnancy, advanced age. Children and travelers are exempted too. People in the Valley turned out in large number to buy dates, a favorite treat at the end of the fast.
Ramadan stands for restraint and charity. The month long fast is one of the primary festivals celebrated in the country.
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