Ramadan starts today

KATHMANDU: Muslim community of Nepal is all set to observe Ramadan, the most sacred festival of the Muslims, starting tomorrow.

During the month-long festival, Muslims ask for forgiveness for past sins, pray for guidance, ask for help in refraining from everyday evils and try to purify themselves through self-restraint and good deeds.

Mohammad Izharrul Haque Mikrani, Muslim leader and chairperson of Intellectual Muslim Association of Nepal, said that Ramadan was a Muslim religious observance that takes place during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, the month in which the first verses of the Quran were revealed to Prophet Mohammed.

"It is a time for inner reflection, devotion to God, and self-control," he added.

Ramadan is the Islamic month of fasting in which participating Muslims refrain from eating, drinking or indulging in anything ill-natured from dawn until sunset.

Fasting is meant to teach the Muslims patience, modesty and spirituality.

"Ramadan is a time to fast for the sake of God, and to offer more prayers than usual," viewed Mikrani.

Ramadan is also a time of intensive worship, reading of the Quran, giving charity and purifying one's behaviour by doing good deeds. For Muslims, Ramadan is an opportunity to gain by giving up, to prosper by going without and to grow stronger by enduring weakness.

Muslims are a religious minority in the country, which has shedded its century-old recognition of a Hindu state.