Q. When is Ramadan?
A. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Hijri (Islamic) calendar.
Q. How long does it last?
A. Ramadan lasts for 29-30 days, or one complete moon cycle. The moon sighting determines the duration.
Q. How do we know when Ramadan starts?
A. A moon-sighting committee in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, will make an official announcement.
Q. What does the moon have to do with Ramadan?
A. Ramadan begins at the first sighting of the new crescent moon. Effectively the 30 day period is the entire moon cycle.
Q. Why Saudi Arabia is significant place for Ramadan?
A. Makkah is considered the holiest city in Islam. Not only was it the birthplace of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), but also the location where Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) had his first revelation of the Quran. Because of this, the rest of the Islamic world follow Saudi Arabia’s announcement.
Q. How do you greet each other during Ramadan period?
A. Greet people by saying “Ramadan Kareem”. This roughly translates into “Happy Ramadan”.
Q. Who are exempted from practicing Ramadan?
A. Those who are ill, elderly, diabetic, pregnant, menstruating, or breastfeeding are not required to fast. Those who were travelling or are unwell during the period of Ramadan may fast on different days at a later point. Children are not required to fast unless they have reached puberty.
Q. Besides abstaining from eating, drinking and smoking, what else must Muslims refrain from doing during Ramadan?
A. Muslims also refrain from sexual relations as well as sinful speech and behaviour.
Q. Why perform fasting during Ramadan?
A. Fasting redirects the heart away from distractions, with its purpose being to cleanse the soul by freeing it from impurities. Ramadan is also a time for Muslims to practice self-discipline, sacrifice, and empathy for those less fortunate. It encourages generosity and charity.
Q. When do Muslims break fast?
A. Fast may be broken at sunset before Maghrib prayers after ‘Azaan’ (call for prayers). This occurs just after sunset. Dates are traditionally the first food to be eaten each evening. The fast-breaking meal is called Iftar.
Q. When does fasting start?
A. Each morning before sunrise, Muslims engage in a pre-fast meal called Suhoor. Afterwards they begin the Fajr prayers.
Q. When does Ramadan end?
A. Ramadan ends after 30 days. Eid Al Fitr is the annual three-day celebration after the last day of Ramadan and it is considered a public holiday. The government will announce the exact holiday dates nearer the time.