Ramadan is a time of worship, of gratitude, of seeking guidance and forgiveness, fasting and reading Qur'an. It's a blessed month in our religion and making time to learn more about the religion in this month should also be a on our schedule. Remember that seeking knowledge is an integral part of our religion, with some knowledge being obligatory to learn as individuals.
This article doesn't provide complete knowledge on these issues in any way, but it will outline some things for individuals to go and learn about further, and I'll leave some sources where possible.
May Allah forgive us for any mistakes and make it easy for us to gain knowledge and seek his pleasure, Aameen.
Here are 6 things to learn about this Ramadan
1. Moonsighting, and the Umm Al-Qura calendar
The Umm Al-Qura calendar is a preset calendar and following this added to the confusion of this year's Ramadan start date and caused people to think that those of us who would start fasting on Tuesday would make Sha'ban 31 days. However this would only be true if going by the preset calendar, rather than the start date of Sha'ban being in line with sighting the crescent moon.
Here's some more things to look at in regards to this:
2. Fiqh, particularly of fasting and following global and local moon sighting
Ihktilaf (difference of position) is part of our religion and there's no need to argue or impose our own understandings onto others. For example, it's OK to follow the first verified global sighting or go with your closest Islamic country as a local sighting to start a month.
There are also differences between the madahib on what breaks and doesn't break the fast, and claiming that a ruling is the only correct position (when there is ihktilaf between schools) is wrong and causes confusion among those with little knowledge.
3. Fajr and Isha times, degrees and questionable timetables
Our fasting starts at the start of fajr time so its crucial that we know when this time is. Have you ever noticed a huge difference in fajr times between different timetables in the same locality? Or a drastic change at in a masjid's published times only during Ramadan? Degrees are used to calculate fajr and isha times because the observable phenomenon that happens at those degrees correlates to how isha and fajr are described to us.
Read the notes on this page for more on this, particularly the sections on Fajr and Isha:
4. Zakat, and when it should be paid
It seems customary to pay zakat during Ramadan due the extra rewards, but zakat is due a year from when you reach nisab, which isn't automatically in Ramadan. The National Zakat Foundation has more info on zakat.
5. The salah
The knowledge of salah is one that is fard on us as individuals. Do we know what to do if a mistake is made, or what constitutes a mistake that needs to be made up for? Do we the rules around awrah, or what to do if part of a limb is revealed? What can make a salaah makruh?
There are differences between the madahib so it's important for laymen to learn how to practice in accordance with one, because mixing rulings could make the act invalid according to all schools.
Learning Arabic can seem daunting, read the article below about how I learnt to read Arabic in under a month online. Reading the Qur'an and gaining the rewards from it, and being able to study from the original texts of our religion requires the ability to read and understand Arabic.
What are you learning about this month?
May your Ramadan be filled with blessings!