This year, Ramadan starts on May 5 and Muslims all over the world are making preparations for it. It will most probably end on Tuesday 4 June, although the exact dates depend on the sighting of the moon.
Ramadan is the most sacred month of the year for Muslims — the Prophet Mohammed reportedly said, “When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of heaven are opened and the gates of hell are closed and the devils are chained.”
Ramadan is held during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is a time for spiritual reflection, acts of charity and spending time with loved ones.
All through the holy month, Muslims won’t eat or drink between sunrise and sunset, which is important to allow them to devote themselves further to their faith, ultimately becoming closer to Allah.
The reason why Muslims fast is because it is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, the other pillars being faith, prayer, charity and making the pilgrimage to Mecca – the Holy City.
Before sunrise, they will have a meal (suhoor) and another meal (iftar) after sunset. The only people that do not have to fast during Ramadan are children, the elderly, pregnant women and those who are travelling or who are ill.
At the end of the fast, there will be an Eid al-Fitr.
Eid al-Fitr is a festival and celebration that marks the end of Ramadan. This year, it will begin at the first sight of the new moon in early June.