Ramadan is a joyous occasion and a blessed time for Muslims from all across the globe to reconnect with Allah and join their families in acts of gratitude and worship. It is a time for believers to cleanse their bodies and souls, and show compassion to the less fortunate, whilst seeking the blessings and pleasure of Allah.


What Is Ramadan?

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, during which Muslims around the world observe fasting from sunrise to sunset. It is one of the holiest months of the year, during which the Quran, the Islamic holy book, was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Ramadan is a significant and sacred time for Muslims, and it holds a central place in Islamic traditions and practices.


When is Ramadan?

The Islamic calendar, also known as the Hijri calendar, is intricately linked with the lunar calendar, relying on the moon's phases to determine its months. A lunar month is approximately 29.5 days long, making it shorter than a solar Gregorian month. As a result, the Islamic year consists of 12 lunar months, totalling either 354 or 355 days. The Islamic months begin with the sighting of the new crescent moon, marking the start of each month, including the blessed month of Ramadan.

The other type of Sadaqah is Sadaqah Wajibah, which is charity that is obligatory in nature. In this way it is similar to Zakat, but the intentions of why they are given distinguishes them. We fulfil the religious duty of giving Zakat because it is prescribed to every adult Muslim of sane mind who is in possession of the minimum amount of wealth to donate it. The Zakat donations are given to promote social welfare and purify the wealth of the giver.

Each year, Muslims eagerly anticipate the arrival of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which holds immense spiritual significance. The commencement of Ramadan is determined by the sighting of the new crescent moon, signalling the beginning of fasting, increased devotion, and self-reflection for Muslims worldwide.

Due to the lunar nature of the Islamic calendar, the dates of Ramadan change annually in the Gregorian calendar, meaning each year Ramadan starts ten to twelve days earlier than the previous year. This variation in the timing of Ramadan fosters a sense of unity among Muslims globally as we come together to observe this sacred month in their respective regions and cultures.


The Significance of Ramadan

Ramadan holds immense importance for Muslims as fasting (Sawm) during the blessed month is one of the five pillars of Islam, which are the fundamental acts of worship. The other pillars include the declaration of faith (Shahada), daily prayers (Salah), alms giving (Zakat), and the pilgrimage to Makkah (Hajj) for those who are able. During Ramadan fasting is obligatory for all adult Muslims, except for those who have pre-existing conditions and also pregnant women


When Must Muslims Fast?

During Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn (Fajr prayer) until sunset (Maghrib prayer). Due to this strict schedule there are two main meals of the day that Muslims adhere to as they provide sustenance for a long days fast.


Before Fajr prayer, the first prayer of the day, Muslims partake in a pre-fast meal known as Suhoor or Sehri. Suhoor is an essential meal as it provides nourishment for the long daylight hours of fasting. It also plays a key role in hydration, Drinking water and consuming hydrating foods during Suhoor helps maintain adequate hydration levels during the fast. Since fasting involves abstaining from food and drink, Suhoor allows the body to hydrate and prevents dehydration during the day.

Suhoor is an important part of the fasting routine and holds great significance in the overall observance of Ramadan, at is it a Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Suhoor is believed to bring blessings (barakah) to the fasting day. It is a time when Allah's mercy and blessings are abundant, and it is an opportunity to seek His forgiveness, guidance, and assistance in successfully completing the day's fast.

Suhoor is often shared with family members, creating an opportunity for community and family bonding. Gathering together to eat before the fast begins, fosters a sense of togetherness and support during the month of Ramadan.


During Ramadan Muslims must keep a close eye on the changing sunset times as they dictate when we are able to break our fast. After the sunset prayer, the fast is broken with the evening meal called Iftar. Before eating this meal most Muslims break their fast by eating dates.

It is Sunnah to break the fast with dates as the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) himself used to do so over a thousand years ago. Dates have always been a staple in the Middle East and provide many essential nutrients and much needed sugar to the body after a long day of fasting.

Rules of Ramadan

Ramadan is a month of spiritual growth, purification, and connection with Allah. Central to the observance of Ramadan are several important rules that guide Muslims in their journey of discipline and devotion. These rules shape the sacred atmosphere of Ramadan and instil a sense of piety and compassion among the Muslim ummah.

Refraining from Eating, Drinking, and Smoking During the Day

The most fundamental rule of Ramadan is fasting from dawn (Fajr) until sunset (Maghrib). Muslims abstain from consuming any food, drinks (including water), chewing gum, or smoking during these hours. The fast is an act of discipline, promoting self-control and empathy towards the less fortunate who may not have enough to eat. By refraining from these physical needs, Muslims focus on spiritual growth, purification of the soul, and growing closer to Allah.

Abstaining from Sexual Activity During Daylight Hours

Another vital rule of Ramadan is abstaining from any form of intimate relations with one's spouse during fasting hours. This abstinence is essential to maintain the sanctity of the fast and the spiritual atmosphere of the month. By avoiding physical intimacy during the day, Muslims concentrate on their devotion to Allah and strengthen their self-restraint and discipline.

Avoiding Negative Behaviours

Ramadan serves as a time for Muslims to elevate their moral conduct and strive for excellence in character. One of the rules of Ramadan is to avoid negative behaviours such as lying, arguing, fighting, and gossiping. Muslims are encouraged to practice restraint in their speech and actions, replacing negative behavior with kindness, forgiveness, and understanding. The focus is on fostering a peaceful and harmonious environment during this sacred month.

Avoiding Anger and Sinful Acts

Ramadan is a time for heightened spiritual consciousness and self-reflection. Muslims are urged to control their temper and avoid anger or acts that go against Islamic principles. The emphasis is on nurturing a sense of inner peace and patience, seeking Allah's forgiveness and mercy. Muslims strive to avoid all sinful acts during Ramadan, including engaging in harmful behaviours, dishonesty, and any bad deeds that may displease Allah. The focus is on purifying the heart and soul and seeking spiritual growth and closeness to Allah.

By adhering to these rules, Muslims aim to strengthen their faith, increase their devotion to Allah, and develop self-discipline and compassion for others. The blessed month serves as a spiritual journey where Muslims seek to attain Allah's blessings and forgiveness, purify their souls, and improve their character and conduct.


Making Up For Missed Fasts

For those who missed days of fasting during Ramadan, the first option is to make up for the missed fasts by fasting on separate days outside Ramadan. If a person is unable to fast due to valid reasons and cannot make up for the missed fasts, they have the option of offering Fidyah by feeding a needy person for each missed day. However, for intentional and unjustifiable skipping of fasts, Kaffarah is prescribed as a more rigorous form of expiation.

Fasting After Ramadan

If a person misses some days of fasting during Ramadan due to valid reasons, it is obligatory for them to make up for those missed fasts at a later time. Islam allows flexibility for those who are unable to fast during Ramadan due to reasons such as illness, travel, menstruation, pregnancy, breastfeeding, or other legitimate excuses. Once the obstacle is removed, they should perform the missed fasts to fulfill their religious obligation.

The process of making up for missed fasts involves fasting on separate days outside the month of Ramadan. Muslims have the entire month of Shawwal, the month following Ramadan, and beyond to complete the missed fasts. It is recommended to begin making up the missed fasts as soon as possible to fulfill the obligation promptly.


Fidyah is an option available for individuals who are unable to fast during Ramadan due to chronic illness or health conditions that prevent them from fasting. They would also be unable to make up for the missed fasts after Ramadan as a result. In this case, they can offer Fidyah, which involves feeding a needy person for each missed day of fasting. The amount of food to be given as Fidyah is equivalent to the cost of an average meal.

Fidyah is a compassionate alternative that ensures even those with valid reasons for not fasting can still participate in the blessings and rewards of Ramadan. It is a form of charity and allows individuals to contribute to the spirit of giving and helping the less fortunate during the holy month.


Kaffarah is a more stringent form of expiation for missing or intentionally breaking fasts during Ramadan without a valid reason. It applies to those who deliberately and without necessity fail to fast for an entire day during Ramadan. In such cases, the person must fast continuously for sixty consecutive days for each day of missed fasts, as a form of compensation and repentance. If they are unable to fast for sixty consecutive days, they must feed sixty needy people.

Kaffarah serves as a strong reminder of the importance of upholding the obligations of fasting during Ramadan and the gravity of intentionally disregarding this essential pillar of Islam. It is intended to instil a sense of remorse and encourage sincere repentance for not fulfilling the duty of fasting during the holy month.


Ramadan Teaches Self-Discipline and Spiritual Reflection

Ramadan is not just about abstaining from food and drink; it is also a time for self-control, improvement, and self-reflection. By fasting, Muslims learn to control their desires, develop empathy for the less fortunate, and purify their souls. The fast also teaches patience and gratitude, as well as the importance of good deeds and charity.

Health Benefits of Fasting

Ramadan is not just about abstaining from food and drink; it is also a time for self-control, improvement, and self-reflection. By fasting, Muslims learn to control their desires, develop empathy for the less fortunate, and purify their souls. The fast also teaches patience and gratitude, as well as the importance of good deeds and charity.


Community Spirit During Ramadan

Ramadan is a time when the sense of community and togetherness among Muslims is heightened. Many Muslims gather at the local mosque for special nightly prayers known as Taraweeh. These prayers are conducted throughout the month and involve reciting the entire Quran over the course of the month.
Muslims fast together in large groups, breaking our fasts with the evening meal of Iftar. It is common to see people generously sharing food and provisions with others during this time. The wider community often comes together to support those in need, providing meals to the less fortunate and engaging in acts of charity.

How to Greet Muslims in Ramadan

Given that Ramadan is one of the holiest months in the Islamic calendar it is fitting that it should have its own special greetings and salutations. Ramadan Kareem translates to "Generous Ramadan". The word "Kareem" comes from the Arabic root "K-R-M," which denotes generosity and nobility. So, when someone says "Ramadan Kareem," they are extending wishes for a blessed and generous month of Ramadan. It is a way of acknowledging the significance of this sacred time and expressing the hope that Allah's blessings and mercy are abundantly bestowed upon the person and the entire Muslim community throughout Ramadan.

Ramadan Mubarak translates to "Blessed Ramadan". The word "Mubarak" is derived from the Arabic root "B-R-K," which means "blessing" or "goodness." By saying "Ramadan Mubarak," one is offering blessings and good wishes for a joyous and spiritually rewarding month of Ramadan. It is a warm and sincere greeting to convey happiness and prosperity during this special time of fasting, prayer, and reflection.

Both greetings convey good wishes and blessings to others during this special time, reflecting the spirit of unity, community, and shared devotion among Muslims worldwide. They are an expression of the shared celebration and reverence for this sacred month and a way to convey positive wishes and prayers to fellow Muslims as they embark on their month-long journey of spiritual growth and worship.


The Search for Laylat al-Qadr

Within the month of Ramadan, there is a special night known as Laylat al-Qadr, also known as the Night of Power. It is believed to be one of the last ten nights of the month, and it holds great spiritual significance. Muslims spend these nights in prayer and devotion, seeking immense blessings and forgiveness, as Laylat al-Qadr is considered a night when prayers are particularly likely to be answered.

The End of Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr

At the end of Ramadan, Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of fasting and the beginning of a joyous celebration. On this day, Muslims attend special prayers in congregation typically at a Masjid (mosque). Following the prayers, Muslims exchange heartfelt greetings of "Eid Mubarak" (Blessed Eid) and visit friends and family to extend good wishes and exchange gifts.

The Importance of Dhikir

Tahmeed (Praising Allah)

Uttering "Al hamdu lillah," which means "All praise and thanks be to Allah," during the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah is a powerful act of gratitude. These blessed days are a time of divine mercy and forgiveness, and by praising Allah, Muslims express their appreciation for His blessings and seek His continued favour.

The Importance of Dhikir

Tahleel (Declaring the Oneness of Allah)

The declaration "Laa ilaaha ill Allah" (or "Laa ilaha ill Allah"), which means "There is no god but Allah," holds profound significance during the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah. This period coincides with the Hajj pilgrimage, and Muslims who are not performing Hajj are encouraged to engage in this declaration as well, reinforcing their commitment to Allah and acknowledging His oneness.

The Importance of Dhikir

Tasbeeh (Glorifying Allah)

The recitation of "Subhaan Allah," which means "Glory be to Allah," is a way to glorify Allah's name and affirm His greatness. Engaging in Tasbeeh during these sacred days purifies the heart and draws one closer to Allah (SWT), allowing them to experience the spiritual blessings that come with heightened devotion.

The Importance of Dhikir

Takbir (Expressing the Greatness of Allah)

The phrase "Allahu Akbar" is a powerful declaration of the greatness and majesty of Allah. During the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah, Muslims repeatedly recite Takbir to proclaim the infinite greatness of our Creator. This act of glorification instils a sense of awe and reverence, reminding Muslims of Allah's supreme attributes and His omnipotence.


The Joyous Celebrations of Eid al-Fitr

The phrase Eid al-Fitr means the "Festival of Breaking the Fast." It is a joyous occasion where Muslims come together with family and friends to wear new clothes, eat, and offer special Eid prayers.

Eid al-Fitr is a time for family gatherings and reunions. Families come together to celebrate the occasion, share meals, exchange gifts, and spend quality time with loved ones. As Muslims celebrate with their families we are able to eat together and celebrate, all whilst expressing gratitude to Allah for all of the blessings that he has bestowed upon us.


The Global Observance of Ramadan

Ramadan is observed by Muslims around the world, regardless of their geographic location. It is a truly global event, with Muslims from different cultures and backgrounds coming together to observe this holy month in unity. This demonstrates the universality of Islam and the significance of Ramadan in the lives of billions of Muslims worldwide.


A Time for Spiritual Growth and Transformation

Ramadan provides a unique opportunity for Muslims to focus on their spiritual growth and connection with Allah. It is a month of heightened devotion, prayer, and seeking forgiveness for past wrongdoings. It is a time for Muslims to strive for self-improvement and to become better individuals in all aspects of life.

During the month of Ramadan the vast majority of Muslims choose to donate money to help feed and clothe poor people due to the heightened state of empathy and immense rewards that Ramadan brings.


The Virtues of Ramadan

Ramadan is a blessed month for Muslims, a time of fasting, prayer, self-discipline, and reflection. It is a month of community, charity, and generosity, as well as a time to deepen one's connection with Allah. By observing fasting, we not only fulfil one of the five pillars of Islam, we strengthen our faith, renew our spiritual commitments, and purify our souls.

Throughout this month, Muslims celebrate the beauty of our religion and the unity of our global community. The significance of Ramadan extends far beyond the physical act of fasting; it is a transformative experience that shapes the hearts and minds of believers, encouraging them to lead a life of righteousness, compassion, and gratitude.

As the new moon heralds the beginning of Ramadan, Muslims around the world embrace the challenges and rewards of this sacred month, striving to become closer to Allah and embodying the true spirit of Ramadan - one of compassion, love, and blessings for all. Ramadan Mubarak!

Read more from us