Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and the month in which the Quran was revealed. In 2015, this important Muslim celebration begins in the evening of June 17, and ends in the evening of July 17. A lot of you might only associate Ramadan with fasting from dawn until sunset every day for the whole month. But the meaning behind this is truly beautiful and shows the real colors of a religion that has been blasted by the media thanks to extremists that use it to commit inhumane acts. Here are 7 things you didn’t know about Ramadan and its importance.

1) Archangel Gabriel (Jibreel in Arab) appeared to the prophet Muhammad and began revealing the verses of the Quran during this month, and continued to do so for 23 years.

2) During this period of time, fasting is very important, and constitutes one of the five pillars of Islam. These are five basic acts that are the foundation of Muslim life. They are:

  • Shahadah: declaring there is no god except God, and Muhammad is God's Messenger
  • Salat: ritual prayer five times a day
  • Zakat: giving 2.5% of one’s savings to the poor and needy
  • Sawm: fasting and self-control during the holy month of Ramadan
  • Hajj: pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime if one is able

3) The correlation between fasting and Ramadan comes from this verse of the Quran: "Ramadhan is the (month) in which the Qur'an was sent down, as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (Between right and wrong). So every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting."

4) Fasting not only means abstaining from food. For Muslims, this is a time to purify the soul, refocus attention on God, and practice self-sacrifice.

5) The Arabic word for “fasting” (sawm) literally means “to refrain,” and it refers to as not only refraining from food and drink, but from evil actions, thoughts, and words.

6) During Ramadan, every part of the body must be restrained. The tongue must be restrained from backbiting and gossip. The eyes must restrain themselves from looking at unlawful things. The hand must not touch or take anything that does not belong to it. The ears must refrain from listening to idle talk or obscene words. The feet must refrain from going to sinful places. In a way, every part of the body observes the fast.

7) The first day of the next month, Shawwal, is spent in celebration and is observed as the "Festival of Breaking Fast" or Eid al-Fitr.