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 Ramadan FAQ

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and a time when Muslims are obliged to observe one of the Five Pillars of Islam – fasting. Each day during Ramadan, from dawn until the sun sets, Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, smoking, sexual relations or engaging in any acts deemed to be ill-natured or excessive.

The fast begins each day at Suhoor, also known as Sehri (just before sunrise) and ends at Iftar (directly after sunset). It was during the month of Ramadan that the Holy Qur’an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) as guidance for mankind.

Is fasting in Ramadan compulsory?

Fasting is compulsory for Muslims once they reach puberty, although many children fast for as many days as possible. However, there are exemptions for those who are seriously ill or whose health would be at risk through fasting; the elderly and the infirm.

What is a fast?

Fasting (known as Sawm) is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. It is a willing act of abstaining from eating, drinking and smoking, from dawn until dusk. It also includes refraining from engaging in any sexual relations or sinful behaviour, such as backbiting, cursing, having bad intentions and much more.

What are the benefits of fasting?

In removing the comforts of daily life, fasting essentially focuses on purifying the body and mind, increasing spirituality and strengthening faith. The rewards during fasting are believed to be multiplied during the auspicious month of Ramadan. Therefore, increased recitation of the Holy Qur’an and offering of prayers is most beneficial.

Who can fast?

Fasting is obligatory for all adults in Islam, and children who have attained the age of puberty. Those who miss a fast because of illness or women who are having their period have to make up that fast at a later date. Those who cannot fast at all because of health reasons, old age or infirmity, pay fidyah as compensation. Fidyah is a sum that should provide one person with two meals, or two people with one meal, for that day.

What happens after Ramadan?

On the eve of the 30th day of Ramadan, the Moon-sighting committee will reconvene and begin searching for a glimpse of the new crescent moon. If they spot the new moon, the following morning will be announced as the first day of Shawwal – Eid Al Fitr.