To celebrate Ramadhan our IAPT colleague Gul H has kindly written this piece to highlight the meaning and purpose of Ramadhan. 
The Blessed Month of Ramadhan
Islam is the world’s second largest religion after Christianity with more than one billion followers. Around one million worshippers from over 180 countries will make the pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia for Ramadan and Hajj, two of the most important periods in the Islamic calendar.
What is Ramadan?
The word Ramadan comes from the word Ramad, which literally means ‘burning’. Imam Qurtubi stated “It was named Ramadan because it burns the sins of people with good deeds.” (Tafsir al-Qurtubi v.2, p.271)
Muslims believe that during the month of Ramadan, Allah revealed the first verses of the Qur’an, the holy book of Islam. Ramdan, the ninth month on the Muslim calendar, is celebrated as the month when the first verses of the Qu’ran were said to be revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Laylat al-Qadr, or Night of Power, is thought to be the actual day when the Qu’ran was given to the Prophet and usually falls within the last 10 days of the holiday.
Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam, the practices that all Muslims must follow. They are as follows:
Shahada: This is a profession of belief in the one true God. The declaration usually goes as follows: “There is no god but God and Muhammad is his prophet and servant.”
Salat: Praying five times daily facing the direction of Mecca. Muslims must practice ablution before the prayers.
Zakat: The giving of charity to the poor and needy.
Sawm: Fasting during the month of Ramadan.
Hajj: The pilgrimage to Mecca that each Muslim must make at least once in his or her lifetime.
What is the purpose of Ramadan?
Observance of Ramadan is mandated in the Quran, Surah 2, Ayah 185. “The month of Ramadan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, guidance for the people and clear proof of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey – then an equal number of other days.”
During Ramadan, Muslims are expected to abstain from food, drink and other pleasures from dawn to dusk. Removing these comforts from daily routine is intended to focus the mind on praying, spirituality, charity and to purify the body and the mind. Muslims are also expected to abstain from impurities such as gossiping and cursing. The exceptions to fasting include pregnant women, people who are mentally or physically unwell, and sometimes women who breastfeed. It is not mandatory for children to fast until they reach puberty though many choose to observe the latter part of the month in preparation for later years. Muslims tend to give Zakat al-Fitr which is the charity given to the poor at the end of the fasting in the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (as) said: “Allah has only prescribed fasting so that the wealthy and the poor can be made equal through it. This is because the wealthy do not feel the touch of hunger, and thus (by fasting) they may be moved to have mercy for the poor. Whenever, the rich want something, they are able to acquire it. So, Allah wanted to equalize between His creation, so that the Rich could taste the touch of hunger and pain, and have sympathy or the weak and mercy for the hungry”.
Ramadan ends with the festival of Eid al-Fitr. Literally the “Festival of Breaking the Fast,” Eid al-Fitr is one of the two most important Islamic celebrations
If you’d like wish you a fellow Muslim during this month, you can say  ‘Ramadan Mubarak’ to them meaning ‘Happy Ramadan’.