The holy month of Ramadan is once again upon billions of Muslims across the world.

Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar and is observed by Muslims all over the world.

One of the five pillars of Islam is Ramadan, where Muslims fast for a month and commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to Prophet Muhammad.

Muslims spend the day fasting from sunrise before having their first meal, known as “Iftar”, at sunset.

They are allowed to eat a few minutes before sunrise, known as “Imsaak”.

Below are a few facts about the holy month of Ramadan.

When does Ramadan begin and how long does it go for? 

Muslims count on the crescent moon sighting to determine the beginning of the holy month.

Each year Ramadan begins and ends on a different day. This year it is expected to begin on April 2nd or 3rd…but again, it all depends on the moon sighting.

Ramadan is observed for 30 days each year.

What do Muslims do during Ramadan? 

Muslims are required to fast from dawn to sunset.

They are allowed to eat a meal before dawn, which is known as suhoor.

Throughout the day, Muslims are to abstain from food, drinks, backbiting (gossiping about others behind their backs), swearing, and sexual activities.

As soon as the sun sets, Muslims observing prayer break their fast (iftar).

Following the actions of the Prophet, Muslims are encouraged to break their fast on dates.

What is prohibited by a fasting individual in Ramadan?

Everything a fasting individual performs is allowed only during the non-fasting hours.

Sex, for example, is prohibited when fasting. Once the fast is broken, sex is allowed to be performed.

What is Laylat al-Qadr (night of decree)? 

Laylat al-Qadr is considered to be the holiest night of the Islamic year and occurs during Ramadan.

It is the night when Muslims commemorate the first revelation of the holy Quran that was sent down to Prophet Muhammad.

The night of decree falls in the last 10 days of Ramadan.

Who is able to fast? 

Fasting becomes compulsory for Muslims when they reach puberty.

However, some individuals are unable to fast due to disabilities, illness, old age, or pregnancy.

Women who are menstruating are also not allowed to fast because it is seen as making them impure for ritual purposes.

Why does Ramadan fall in different seasons around the world? 

Due to the northern and southern hemisphere, Muslims around the world fast either in winter or summer.

Australians and New Zealanders have been fasting during the winter months for the past few years, which counts to about 12 hours a day.

However, those in the northern hemisphere have been fasting during the summertime, which means longer fasting hours.

In addition to that, because Ramadan falls on a different day each year based on the Islamic calendar, those in the northern hemisphere will eventually observe Ramadan in winter and vice versa.

An extra fun fact is that from 2023, Ramadan begins 10 days earlier – which means those 10 days will be longer fasting days, thanks to daylight savings.

What is the most common question fasting Muslims are asked?

“Not even water?”

“Yes. Not even water.”

What is Eid? 

Eid-Al-Fitr marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Muslims gather with family and friends to celebrate the three-day event with a large feast (or two).

Older relatives gift children with money or new clothing.

Image: Shutterstock

This article first appeared on OverSixty.