Ramadan Kareem and its most important days and nights
Ramadan Kareem and its most important days and nights [REPRESENTAIONAL IMAGE] Pictured: Indian Muslims offering prayers at Taj Mahal in northern state of Uttar PradeshReuters

Ramadan is a month of extreme significance for Muslims around the world. During the holy month, Muslims observe fast (refrain from eating and drinking from dawn until sunset), perform prayers, give donations and distance from all evils. Among other important tasks to perform during the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims are also keen on knowing the important days and nights.

The holy month of Ramadan emphasises on prayers, charity and other good deeds at the same time seeking forgiveness for past sins and guidance in the righteous path. While the entire month of Ramadan is of most importance, there are some days when the blessings of Allah are showered limitlessly.

During Ramadan, Muslims are alerted of a special night called the "Laylat al-Qadr" or "The Night of Power," "The Night of Value," "The Night of Decree," or "Night of Measures." There are several indications of the night, but it is hard to point out the exact date for "Laylat al-Qadr." It is believed that this is the night when the first verses of the Quran were revealed to Prophet Mohammed.

During the night of Laylat al-Qadr, Muslims are showered with blessings, sins are forgiven, prayers are fulfilled and angels are sent down to earth. It is widely believed that one of the last 10 nights of Ramadan is Laylat al-Qadr, and several Muslims devote their full time to seek Allah's forgiveness and indulge in prayers in the name of Iʿtikāf (retreat).

During the last 10 days, Muslims observe Iʿtikāf (retreat) in search of the Laylat al-Qadr. During Iʿtikāf, Muslims disconnect entirely from the world and spend most time in prayers. Men observe Iʿtikāf in mosques, while women do it at their homes. The significance of Laylat al-Qadr is worth more than a thousand months and praying during the night brings indefinite rewards.

Besides the importance of Laylat al-Qadr and Iʿtikāf during the final days of Ramadan, there are other important events that are of great value. The odd nights of the last 10 days of the holy month bring great rewards. Muslims stay awake and indulge in prayers until suhur, the time when they eat before dawn.

Finally, Eid ul-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan, which is celebrated after 30 or 29 days of fasting depending on the moon sighting. On this day, Muslims are rewarded for their good deeds during the entire holy month. After this, Muslims follow their usual timetable for meals and sleep. Eid ul-Fitr is announced based on the sighting of the new moon, similar to how Ramadan was commenced earlier this month. It varies from country to country, but in India it is expected to be celebrated on July 7 or 6 if the moon is sighted after the 29th fast.