Your Ramadan Questions, Answered.
Muslims around the world observe Ramadan by fasting during the day for a whole month, abstaining from all food and drink in daylight hours. Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, and is considered the holiest month of the year. Do you know why Muslims fast, or why Ramadan is so important for Muslims? Here, we answer your most frequently asked Ramadan questions.
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan honours the time when Allah (SWT) revealed the first verses of Islam’s holy text, the Quran, to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). During this time, Muslims strive to live as closely as possible to how the Prophet lived his life: fasting, avoiding gossip and bad thoughts or language, and giving generously to people in need.
Ramadan is a time to rejuvenate body and soul through fasting, reflection and prayer, to strengthen our faith and connect with God. It’s a blessed time when Allah (SWT) answers prayers more readily than at other times of the year.
Why do Muslims fast?
Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five principles, or pillars, that guide a Muslim’s life. The other pillars are faith (shahada), prayer (salah), charity (Zakat), and pilgrimage (Hajj).
Going without food and water all day is a challenge that promotes self-restraint, patience and spirituality. It helps us learn compassion for those less fortunate by feeling what they feel every single day — hunger.
For Muslims, fasting is a form of self-purification as we reset our sincere intentions to become better citizens of the world.
When is Ramadan 2022?
In Australia, Ramadan 2022 begins at sunset, Saturday 2 April. It finishes 30 days later at sunset, Saturday 30 April – subject to the sighting of the moon.. Due to our time zone, Australian Muslims are among the first in the world to start observing Ramadan each year.
Why are Ramadan dates different every year?
The exact dates for Ramadan change each year because Islam follows a lunar calendar, following the cycles of the moon. Each month begins at the sighting of the new moon, known as the crescent moon.
The holy month of Ramadan doesn’t officially begin until religious leaders announce they’ve seen the crescent moon. In modern times, however, we predict the dates for planning purposes until confirmation is given.
How long is fasting each day?
Fasting begins at sunrise and ends at sunset. The length of fasting varies between locations due to the change in seasons throughout the year. In Australia, fasting hours range from 12-15 hours per day.
Are special foods eaten during Ramadan?
Before sunrise, we enjoy a nutritious meal called suhoor which provides sustenance for the day ahead. We wake up early before the sun rises to eat suhoor, because it’s essential to be well nourished and hydrated before fasting.
At sunset, we break the fast with a simple snack of three dates and water, which is how the Prophet Muhammed PBUH broke his fasts. This is followed by the evening iftar meal where families gather to break their fast and pray together.
Iftar differs around the world, but typical meals include meat stews, stuffed vegetables, grains, lentils, soups and salads.
Is Ramadan compulsory for everyone?
Ramadan fasting is compulsory, bringing health benefits for the body and soul. However, some groups of people are exempt from fasting. These include:
- Children pre-puberty
- The elderly
- The sick
- Pregnant or breastfeeding women
People are encouraged to make up for not fasting where possible, as long as it will not cause any harm to health. Where people are unable to fast due to health or other valid reasons, they can give Fidya – a compulsory charitable donation to compensate for each fast missed.
Do people pray more during Ramadan?
Ramadan is more than just fasting. It’s a time for prayer, reflection and focus on the teachings of the Quran. Muslims pray five times throughout the day — at sunrise, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset, and nightfall.
We can pray from anywhere—at home, at work or in a mosque—but many prefer going to the mosque for prayers, especially during Ramadan. In fact, many Muslims take part in special Ramadan prayers each night called Taraweeh.
Why is reading the Quran important during Ramadan?
Ramadan is the blessed month in which the Qur’an was revealed and as such, Muslims are encouraged to read as much of the Quran as possible. In fact, many seek to read the entire Quran during this time. The Quran contains the words of Allah (SWT), as well as stories from the Prophets and messengers He sent to guide us.
For this reason, reading from or listening to the Quran holds significant meaning. It serves as a reminder of devotion to God, and is a source of peace, comfort and healing during times of hardship.
Why do people focus on good deeds during the holy month?
Muslims are encouraged to perform good deeds everyday during Ramadan, and beyond. Good deeds can be as simple as a smile, learning something new, helping someone out and giving to charity.
Why do Muslims give so much to charity during Ramadan?
Charity is a regular part of Islamic life, but giving to those less fortunate increases during Ramadan. It’s a time when the gates to heaven are said to be open and the gates to hell closed, and the rewards for good deeds are at their highest.
The focus on charity brings Muslims closer together as a community during Ramadan, with people being even more generous as they strive to help others and make a difference to people in need.
Giving to charity might include feeding a hungry person, donating to a water project or providing essentials for children. People are encouraged to give what they can to help, and no amount is considered too small.
There is also a compulsory tax, known as Zakat, where eligible people donate a portion of their wealth to help vulnerable people.
What are the special days during Ramadan?
Ramadan is a month of special days.
The last ten days and nights of Ramadan are considered especially blessed, giving people a chance to repent and receive even greater rewards from Allah SWT for their efforts before the end of the holy month.
The most important day during Ramadan is Laylatul Qadr, or the Night of Power. This is the night the Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad PBUH, and it is considered to be more powerful than all the blessings of 1,000 months. The exact date of Laylatul Qadr isn’t known, but it falls on an odd-numbered night during the last ten days of Ramadan. It is celebrated with prayers, recitations from the Quran, and supplications to Allah (SWT).
Eid al-Fitr is a three-day festival to mark the end of Ramadan. Muslims celebrate by spending time with loved ones, sharing delicious meals, giving gifts to children, and attending prayers at mosques. In fact, people aren’t allowed to fast on Eid al-Fitr because it is a time for enjoyment and relaxation.
How do I wish someone a Happy Ramadan?
Ramadan Mubarak is how we wish people a Happy Ramadan. You might also say Ramadan Kareem, which translates to ‘have a generous Ramadan.’ Both of these greetings are used throughout the holy month. And of course, your wishes will be warmly welcomed if you simply say, Happy Ramadan!
On the last day of Ramadan, when fasting ends and Eid al-fitr celebrations begin, people wish one another Eid Mubarak, or Happy Eid.
May your Ramadan be blessed
Ramadan is a period of reflection, self-restraint, and heightened devotion and worship for Muslims around the world. We hope this article deepens your understanding of our most sacred month. It is an enlightening time, not just physically but also spiritually and emotionally. May you have a safe and blessed Ramadan!