About two billion people worldwide belong to the Islamic religious community. United in their faith in Mohamed and Allah, Muslims follow the rules laid down in the holy book of the Koran. These include observing the fasting month of Ramadan. The word, which comes from Arabic, translates as „the hot month.“ According to tradition, the Muslim tradition of fasting originated in 624, the second year of Muhammad’s emigration from Mecca.
Ramadan 2022: Ramadan 2022 starts on the evening of April 2 and ends on the evening of May 2.
Ramadan: When does fasting take place?
It is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, which covers only 354 days. Due to the deviation from the solar calendar, the period shifts by 10 or 11 days every year. The duration of the fasting month is 29 or 30 days. Fasting begins when the crescent moon is visible at the end of the new moon. From this time on, nothing is eaten or drunk every day from the Fajir prayer at about 05:00 until after the evening prayer at about 21:00.
To end the fasting month, the entire family gathers at home after sunset for a festive dinner called iftar. The two- to three-day festival of breaking the fast, Eid al-Fitr, is considered the second highest Islamic holiday after the Feast of Sacrifice. Because children in Turkey are given sweets on this occasion, the festival is also called Eid al-Fitr (Seker Bayrami).
Rules, conditions, practical implementation of Ramadan
For the observance of the fasting month of Ramadan by Muslims, there are sometimes even mandatory state regulations. The only exceptions are people who have to perform heavy physical work. Pregnant or nursing women, the sick and infirm, and children are also exempt from fasting.
From dawn to sunset, not only food and drink must be abstained from during Ramadan. Smoking, loud music and sexual intercourse are also prohibited during this period. These prohibitions are intended to prevent Muslims from being distracted from their faith and Allah.
Before the start of the fast, which lasts about 12 hours, many Muslims eat a small, low-salt meal shortly beforehand. This is intended to prevent too much impairment of performance during the day. In many cases, a few dates, which contain plenty of sugar and nutrients, are eaten before dinner immediately after sunset as a first tonic. Due to the often high outside temperatures at this time of year, water is also drunk.
According to Muslim tradition, friends are also invited to the feast at the end of the fasting period. Before dinner begins, those gathered perform the Maghrib prayer. Popular, delicious foods enrich the table around which Muslims are gathered. Pork and alcohol are strictly forbidden. There are several hours of enjoyable eating, drinking and praying. In Muslim countries, changes in public life indicate the month of fasting. For example, government and private institutions may have different opening hours or be closed altogether. Vacationers should take this into account.
- What does „Ramadan Mubarak“ & „Ramadan Kareem“ mean in English?
- What does „Eid Mubarak“ mean in English?
- What does bayram mean in English?
- Ramadan dictionary
Ramadan: Different regulations due to geographical location
Special regulations determine the fasting period in countries with a midnight sun, such as Norway, since the sun does not set there as usual. Likewise, the times for the start of Ramadan can shift in countries such as Pakistan or Iran. There, the crescent moon can be seen later in the sky after the new moon.
Consequences of not observing fasting days
If possible, fasting days missed with a good reason should be made up. Those who break the fast for no reason must sincerely repent to Allah. Similarly, according to the Quran, there is an obligation to fast for two months without interruption. Anyone who is unable to do so should feed 60 poor people.
Meaning of Ramadan in terms of Islam
The attitudes and actions of Muslims during the month of Ramadan are to find favor with Allah. Strict fasting and intense piety are meant to illustrate special devotion to Allah. Muslims are supposed to fast, pray more and donate to charity during Ramadan. Generally, the donations go to needy members of the community.
On the morning of the first day of the festival, the festive prayer is a significant religious duty. In addition to rejoicing over the hardships of fasting, Muslims ask that Allah recognize their efforts and prayers. Muslims gather in the mosque, dressed in festive clothing, to pray and make donations together.
Increased reading and quoting of the Koran combined with supplications and a pronounced togetherness are supposed to purify the soul. As with pilgrimages, the holy month is intended to bring about a stronger sense of togetherness among Muslims. During this time, the chances of resolving existing conflicts are to be increased. According to the Koran, the reward for fasting is also the forgiveness of sins.