During the month of Ramadan, many Muslims fast from the time before the sun peeks over the horizon to the time the sun dips below the horizon. It’s not a complete fast all day and night for 30 entire days. Food and drink is consumed during the hours when the sun is not up. And most Muslims celebrate the breaking of the fast each day with loved ones in a meal called Iftar.
Here are five other things to know about fasting & Ramadan for allies.
1. During the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast during daylight house. It’s not a complete fast all day and night, but for 30 days Muslims don’t ingest anything when the sun is in the sky - that includes water. Most Muslims celebrate the breaking of the fast each evening with a meal called Iftar.
2. Ritual fasting is about discipline and introspection. Like many other religions, fasting for Muslims is about building character, examining oneself, and cleansing body and soul.
3. Fasting is not not unhealthy. Our modern, western eating patterns of three meals a day plus snacks were not common for most of human history. Intermittent fasting can be healthy and helpful for the body.
4. Those whose health or growth would be harmed by fasting are not required to fast. That includes:
- The sick, elderly and young
- Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers have the option not to fast
- Women who are menstruating do not fast.
- People who have chronic health problems
- People who are traveling have the option to fast or not to fast.
5. Ramadan moves from year to year by approximately 10 days relative to the Gregorian calendar. That’s because it’s based on when the new moon is sighted for the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. Because of the moving month, everyone gets to experience Ramadan in different seasons of the year.
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