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Ramadan is an Islamic holy month of fasting, introspection and prayer. It is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad according to Islamic belief. This annual observance is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam. The month lasts 29–30 days based on the visual sightings of the crescent moon, according to numerous biographical accounts compiled in the hadiths.

All About Ramadan, Islam's Holy Month

Fasting, dates, history, customs, and more

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, observed by practicing Muslims as a month of fasting, reflection, and prayer. It commemorates the first revelation of Muhammed and, as such, observance of the month is considered one of the five pillars of Islam.

When Is Ramadan? 

As part of the Islamic lunar calendar, Ramadan's dates vary according to the lunar cycle. In 2021, Ramadan begins on the evening of Monday, April 12 and ends at sundown on Tuesday, May 11. The observance of the new crescent moon marks the official start of Ramadan.

Ramadan lasts 29 or 30 days, depending on the year. The holiday of Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan and the beginning of the next lunar month. 

Ramadan History 

Ramadan celebrates the date in 610 CE when, according to Islamic tradition, the Quran was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. During the month, Muslims the world over are called upon to renew their spiritual commitment through daily fasting, prayer, and acts of charity. Although the fasting elements are perhaps the most noticeable parts of observation, Ramadan is much more than abstaining from food and drink. It is a time to purify the soul, refocus attention on God, and practice self-discipline and self-sacrifice.


Fasting during the month of Ramadan, called the sawm, is considered one of the five pillars of Islam that shape a Muslim's life. The Arabic word for fasting means "to refrain," not only from food and drink but also from evil actions, thoughts, or words.

The physical fast takes place on a daily basis from sunrise to sunset. Before dawn, those observing Ramadan will gather for a pre-fast meal called the suhoor; at dusk, the fast will be broken with a meal called the iftar. Both meals may be communal, but the iftar is an especially social affair when extended families gather to eat and mosques welcome the needy with food.

Ramadan Worship and Prayer 

During Ramadan, prayer is an important element for much of the Muslim faithful. Muslims are encouraged to pray and attend a mosque for special services. Nightly prayers called tarawill are common, as is rereading the Quran over the course of the month, often in the form of an epic prayer. At the end of Ramadan, before the final fast is broken, Muslims also recite a prayer called the takbeer, which gives praise to Allah and acknowledges his supremacy.


The practice of charity or zakat is another of Islam's five pillars. Muslims are encouraged to give regularly as part of their faith (zakat), or they may make a sadaqah, an additional charitable gift. During Ramadan, some Muslims choose to make particularly generous sadaqahs as a demonstration of their faithfulness. 

Eid Al-Fitr 

The end of Ramadan is marked by the Islamic holy day of Eid Al-Fitr, sometimes just called Eid. Eid begins on the first day of the Islamic lunar month of Shawwal, and the celebration may last as long as three days.

According to custom, observant Muslims must rise before dawn and begin the day with a special prayer called the Salatul Fajr. After that, they must brush their teeth, shower, and put on their best clothes and perfume or cologne. It's traditional to greet passersby by saying "Eid Mubarak" ("Blessed Eid") or "Eid Sain" ("Happy Eid"). As with Ramadan, acts of charity are encouraged during Eid, as is the recitation of special prayers at a mosque.

More About Ramadan 

Regional variations on how Ramadan is observed are common. In Indonesia, for example, Ramadan celebrations are frequently observed with music. The length of the fast also varies, depending on where you are on the planet. Most places have 11 to 16 hours of daylight during Ramadan. Unlike some other Islamic observances, Ramadan is held in equal reverence by Sunni and Shiite Muslims. 

1. **Islamic Websites and Organizations:**

   - Provides comprehensive information on Ramadan, including prayer times, fasting rules, and articles on various aspects of Ramadan.

   - The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA): Offers resources on Ramadan, including educational materials, articles, and community events.

   - Al Jazeera English - Ramadan Section: Features news articles, opinion pieces, and videos related to Ramadan and its significance.

   - Muslim Aid: Provides information on Ramadan, charity initiatives, and guides on how to make the most of the month.


2. **Educational Websites and Portals:**

   - Khan Academy: Offers articles and videos explaining the significance of Ramadan and its practices from a cultural and historical perspective.

   - BBC Religion & Ethics - Islam: Provides articles and videos on Ramadan, including its traditions, practices, and contemporary significance.

   - Oxford Islamic Studies Online: Offers academic articles and resources on Ramadan, including its history, rituals, and cultural impact.


3. **Social Media Platforms:**

   - Instagram: Follow hashtags like #Ramadan or #Ramadan2024 for updates, inspirational quotes, and insights shared by individuals and organizations.

   - Twitter: Follow scholars, Islamic organizations, and hashtags like #RamadanTips or #RamadanPrep for advice, reminders, and discussions on Ramadan.

   - Facebook: Join Ramadan-focused groups or follow pages of Islamic scholars and organizations for educational content, live sessions, and community discussions.


4. **YouTube Channels:**

   - The Merciful Servant: Provides Islamic videos on various topics, including Ramadan preparation, fasting tips, and spiritual guidance.

   - Bayyinah Institute: Offers lectures and discussions by renowned scholars on Ramadan-related topics such as Quranic reflections, fasting, and spiritual development.

   - Islamic Relief: Shares videos on Ramadan initiatives, charity work, and inspirational stories from around the world.


5. **Mobile Apps:**

   - Muslim Pro: Offers features like prayer times, Quran readings, and fasting trackers to help Muslims observe Ramadan effectively.

   - Ramadan Legacy: Provides tools for goal setting, daily reflections, and habit tracking to make the most of Ramadan spiritually and personally.

   - Hadith of the Day: Delivers daily hadith reminders related to fasting, charity, and spiritual growth during Ramadan.


6. **Podcasts:**

   - Productive Muslim Podcast: Offers episodes on productivity tips, spiritual reflections, and practical advice for maximizing the benefits of Ramadan.

   - The Mad Mamluks: Features discussions on various aspects of Ramadan, including spirituality, community, and contemporary challenges.


7. **Online Courses:**

   - SeekersGuidance: Offers free and paid courses on Islamic topics, including Ramadan-specific courses on fasting, spirituality, and Quranic studies.

   - Al-Maghrib Institute: Provides online seminars and courses on Ramadan-related subjects taught by qualified instructors and scholars.


8. **Virtual Events and Webinars:**

   - Eventbrite: Search for virtual Ramadan events, webinars, and workshops organized by Islamic centers, universities, and community organizations.

   - Zoom: Keep an eye on webinars and online gatherings hosted by Islamic scholars, speakers, and community leaders during Ramadan.


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