The crescent moon usually goes by unnoticed, as the moon cycle’s fame is given to the full moon during the few days that it ambles across the skies every month. The crescent moon however gains significant importance during the month of Ramadan. The Islamic calendar follows the lunar calendar, and for Muslims, the ninth month is the holiest of them all. Muslims believe that it was only during this month that God revealed the first verses of the Qur’an to the prophet Mohammed. Thereby, during the month of Ramadan, Muslims all over the world dedicate themselves to become closer to God and their religion. The five pillars of Islam include testimony of faith, prayer, charity, pilgrimage to Mecca and fasting. Therefore, with the exception of pregnant women, nursing mothers, the sick, menstruating women, the elderly and young children, Muslims generally fast during the whole month of Ramadan from sunrise to sunset. These acts are meant to separate Muslims from pleasurable activities so that they focus more on God and the difficulty of fasting is meant to encourage charitable giving. Muslims will engage in extra prayers during this period and will also study the Qur’an more intensely. The fast is broken by a small snack called Iftar which is partaken at sunset, and this is followed by prayer. The month of fasting ends with the dawn of a new moon.
As you go about your day to day lives in Abu Dhabi and the rest of the UAE this Ramadan, do remember that the city changes during this holy month. So make sure that you don’t eat, drink or smoke in public during fasting hours, wear revealing clothing, or engage in public displays of affection as this is actually against the law.