Ramadan: Islamic history month

Ramadan is more than just the month of fasting or personal piety. It recalls the past, taking one to the very foundations of Islam, and prods one to mull over the significance of historic occasions such as the battle of Badr and the conquest of Makkah. It is the month, therefore, of celebration, thanksgiving and reflection.

If there is one month that can be designated the Islamic history month, it has to be Ramadan. Traditionally known as the Muslim month of fasting, Ramadan is rooted in Islamic history. It is the month for striving against oneself and conquering one's will, but it is also the month marked by the most significant external struggles and triumphs in the history of Islam, namely the battle of Badr and the conquest of Makkah (Mecca).

Ramadan's significance derives primarily from the fact that it is the month when the Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad . The Quran records the event: "The month of Ramadan is when the Quran was sent down as a guidance for mankind, with explanations for guidance and as a standard". Muslims recall how Prophet Muhammad received the very first revelation - "Read in the name of your Lord..." - while meditating alone high up in the mountains around Makkah.

The verse that actually deals with fasting - "...fasting has been prescribed for you, just as it was prescribed for those before you..." - also reminds one of the past ("those before you"). So both the commencement of revelation and the order to fast takes one back to the very roots of Islam and highlights the past that is sometimes forgotten. The references to the past, are mentioned in the Quran as constant reminders.

The Battle of Badr took place on Ramadan 17, 2 AH (624 AD). For years Muslims had been persecuted in Makkah and were still pursued, harassed and attacked even when they had migrated to Madinah (Medina). After two years this conflict culminated in the Battle of Badr, named thus because of the locality where the battle took place. Badr is towards the south west of Madinah and lies between Madinah and Makkah.

The Quran refers to the day of the Battle of Badr as Yawm al-Furqan, the Day of Distinction between belief and disbelief. It is also interpreted as the Day of Testing for Muslims. Against all odds, the meager Muslims defeated the strong non-Muslim force on Ramadan 17. The nascent Muslim community survived this crucial encounter and thereafter gained continuous momentum and strength.

The second great Islamic event that took place in Ramadan was Fatah Makkah (the conquest of Makkah) on Ramadan 20, 8 AH (630 AD) when Muslims victoriously entered the city after being forced into exile for eight years and after 21 years of long struggle. This event marked the ultimate victory of the Islamic forces in Arabia and marked the beginning of a new era in the history of mankind.

The conquest of Makkah takes one even further back in time. Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) and his son Ismael had purified and raised the foundation of Bait-Allah, the House of Allah, the Kaaba in Makkah, for the sole worship of God. Later the people degenerated into shirk (polytheism), associating partners with God. The Arabs started believing in hundreds of gods and goddesses, and kept stone idols in the Kaaba.

With the historical conquest of Makkah and the return of Islam to Arabia, the Kaaba was cleansed and purified. As he entered the Kaaba and smashed the idols, the Prophet recited, "And say, the Truth has come and falsehood gone, verily falsehood is bound to perish". 

Ramadan is therefore more than just the month of fasting or personal piety. The month recalls the past, taking one to the very foundations of Islam, and prods one to mull over the significance of historic events.


Ihsan Aslam is exploring Public History at Ruskin College, Oxford. He can be contacted at: [email protected] or visited at: http://www.pakistanhistory.com

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  17 Comments   Comment

  1. Naushad from India

    Yes, i want to get this information to all my friend.

  2. sarah linerode from united states

    i was resercing imformation for my 7th gread project and this articat help me get alot of imformation to wirte my eassy with. the month of fasting is a big thing in 7th gread and i am going to tell my teacher a bout it to see if it will help her students next year. thanks for the imformation.

  3. zahra from morocco

    Ramadan karim to all muslims in the world.

    please pray for me to find the right man.

    thank you.

  4. awaisjavaid from pakistan

    only one ? opnion of mr.peter the tiffan is right please reply me soon

  5. Peter from Poland

    Sorry, but I can't understand this religion. I was reading about it a lot of information and I'm sure that Tiffany is right.

  6. Syed jehanzeb Zahid from Pakistan

    This is realy a good peice of information about Ramdan. Because normally we dont spend our time alot on our religious Studies.

  7. Dr Edriss from US

    Assalam Alaikom, to brother KH

    I read your comment brother Kh, may Allah rewards you with the paradise for your work. this is my email [email protected] if you need any computer assistance about your interests.

    Assalam Alaikom

  8. Dr Edriss from US

    that's short and nice article about Ramadan. I want add to this something very important about Ramadan. it is a month who looklike an Alarm that comes each year to moslems, to warn us and renew our struggle in this life, to live it in the right path given by the Almighty thru His messages.

    for Tiffany, if you are familiarized with the bible, Elijah is Elyaass in Quran and he is not the last messenger to mankind the Prophet Mohammad. if this is your first contact with Islam, just put in your mind that you are about to discover the origine of the faith and you will need read and learn alots before you begin taking conclusions. for example, supose you knew just Physics and you never heard of Mathematics. once you discover your new science to be, Mathematics, you will need give alots off time to have a whole picture about it. if you just keep saying, oh! this formula looklike Physics, you will never be able to have clue about Mathematics.

    about your second question: no, the true moslems in general, do not believe to Miracles! Miracle for moslem is something reserved for the Prophets and messengers. the prophets and messengers came with Miracles with the help of Allah to convince humanity of their message. they did not perform miracles from their own, it was all with the will of the Almighty. but we believe to something less than miracles, it is called Karaaaaama(I put too many "a"'s so you won't confuse it with the indian karma :)). and karaamaat (the plural of that arabic word) can happen to different humanbeing to reenforce their faith or encourage them. it has nothing to do with humanity because it's not part of the message: which mean if someone claim to have Karaama in Islam, you are not required to believe him like he is not required to use it to play people if he is True Moslem Believer... in resume, moslems doesn't worship a man called Mohammad like the christians do for jesus. we are not Mohamadans...!

  9. Sahar from Canada

    Asslamu Alaykum,

    This is in relation to what Br./Sr. Kh said. The muslims at my workplace decided to make these little gift pouches with Ramadan/Islam general information, candies and dates. We had a little Ramadan poem, information and Samosas recipe on the brochure. We did it for several teams and a gift basket for HR dept. It's done very well beyond our expectations Alhamdulillah. I think at this time and age, we really need to make some extra efforts for people to learn positive things about our great religion. This will reduce the misconceptions and the stereotypes that exist currently and let them feel that we are also peace loving people since thats what muslim means!

  10. jamal from USA

    Hi tiffany. i guess this is a reply than a comment, i would love to enter into a dialogue with you since my wife and i have that contact with the christian world and be glad to ansewr any concern you may have via email e mail us at [email protected]

  11. nazan from turkiye

    thanks for this web site im muslim but have difficulties in telling my religion to my non-muslim friends in America.by taking information from this site i can easily help them. thanks a


  12. Crcolon from Usa

    I just want to comment on this website in particular. I am dating a muslim man. I am not muslim. He has given me a list of websites to help me to better understand this religion and I have been overwhelemed with all the information I have gathered. Much so to make me question why havent I turned to Islam long ago. I feel enriched by reading so much of this information. I have read several articals and comments.And I keep coming back for more. This site offers so much information for new muslims looking for answers(who are also tryin to understand the whole faith.) I am enjoying all of my findings. And thanks for having it all readily available to one who wants to open their heart to Islam, as it should be..

  13. Kh from Canada

    I am an Early Childhood Educator and work in a Child Care Centre. I was harbouring the thought of choosing Ramadan as Islamic History Month of more than 8 months before Ramadan started. I wanted to do a display similar to those done for Chinese New Year or Black History Month. I started thinking about a plan right after this year's Black History Month. I felt very insulted seeing that on the display of the Black History Month (this year and the past years)personalities like Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar or other Black Muslims were left out, not celebrated as contributers to the Black History. I know that the reason behind this is the fact that they are muslims, thus they are shunned by those that undertook to make the display. I decided that this Ramadan I will set up a Ramadan display and so I did. The title of my display was "RAMADAN KAREEM! - ISLAMIC CULTURAL AND HISTORY MONTH - RAMADAN MUBARAK!" I tried to cover as many topics, give info and display the beauty of our culture the best I could. I have (digital) pictures of my display; I'd be more than happy to share. My subtitles were the following: Islamic Architecture - I displayed a variety of pictures, Islamic Caligraphy - pictures displayed, Scientific Discoveries - this included subtitles like Mathematics, Concept of Zero, Algebra, Medicine, Geography, Astronomy, Phisics, Chemistry, Geology, Biology and I displayed info about Al-Karismi, Al-Biruni, Al-Hassan, Abu Kasim, Al-Battani, Ibn Sina and others. Other subtitle was Famous Muslims where I displayed info and pictures of Ibn Sina, Al-Biruni,Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Aminah Assilmi (former radical feminist, American lecturer), Yusuf Islam, Muhammad Asad Leopold Weiss, Muhammad Pickthal, Dr. Ingrid Mattson (VP of Islamic Society of North America) and others. My other subtitle was Muslim Women leaders - Shajaratu al-Durr, Queen Asma, Queen Arwa, Queen Amina of Nigeria, Sultana Razia of Delhi, Benazir Butto etc.

  14. Tiffany from America

    I don't understand how a religion can intertwine with science. Is prophet mohammed the same person as Elijah in the Bible? Just as Christian's belief is soley on faith, and people have miraculus experiences with Jesus, do muslims have these kind of encounters with Mohammed? Christians believe that there is one God, the father,son,and holyspirit,eternally exisisted in 3persons, do muslisms?

  15. LAWAL AYOBAMI A. from Nigeria