Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam; the other four being Shahadah (Testimony of Faith), Salat (Prayer), Zakat (charity) and Hajj (Pilgrimage to Makkah). Ramadan is in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and it is the month of fasting for Muslims. Ramadan starts upon the sighting of the moon.
Why do Muslims fast?
Fasting in Ramadan helps Muslim grow closer to the One God, Allah. According to the Qur’an “Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed to those before you, so that you may learn self-restraint” (Al-Baqarah: v.183). Fasting, which is recognized for its health, spiritual and psychological benefits, is considered by Muslims as a means to improve their moral characters and provides an opportunity for a spiritual renewal.
Who can fast?
Fasting in Ramadan is compulsory on all physically and mentally healthy and mature Muslims. Those exempted from fasting are the sick, old, pregnant and menstruating women and travelers. Pregnant and menstruating women and travelers make up the missed days by fasting at a later time.
What is a typical day during the month of Ramadan?
A typical day of fasting begins with an early morning meal before dawn and ends at sunset. The evening activities include the traditional breaking of the fast during sunset usually with dates and water followed by a small meal. This meal is called the Iftar. Muslims would then go to the masjid for congregational prayers. The congregation would have listened to the recitation of the complete Qur’an by the end of the month.