It’s another year again, as Ramadan has been highly anticipated. Ramadan is the most sacred month of the year of Muslims. Ramadan commemorates the month God sent down the Quran for the guidance of humanity.
In this short piece, we are sharing with you the Ramadan rules and all you need to know about the holy fasting.
When is Ramadan 2022?
The first night of Ramadan will begin after sunset on Friday, April 1. It will end on the evening of Sunday, May 1.
It is always held on the 9th month of the Islamic lunar calendar — a calendar that is based on the phases of the moon.
The 12 months of this calendar add up to 354 days: 11 days shorter than the standard Gregorian calendar.
Because of this, the Islamic Lunar calendar moves backwards 11 days each year.
So, every year, the first day of Ramadan falls 11 days earlier.
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is the most sacred month of the year for Muslims.
During its 29 to 30 days, Muslims fast every day from sunrise to sunset.
When the sun sets, there is a communal meal called Iftar where you break your fast, typically with your family or friends.
But the month of Ramadan is about more than just fasting.
Doing good deeds such as charity, increasing your generosity and abstaining from sinful acts, such as gossip, are all important traits of Ramadan.
It is a month of self-reflection and a way for Muslims to develop positive habits that can be continued and encouraged once Ramadan is over.
What do Muslims do during Ramadan?
Ending a month of fasting, Muslims celebrate with a three-day festival called Eid al-Fitr, or Festival of Breaking the Fast, and wish each other “Eid Mubarak” meaning: “Have a blessed Eid”.
During Eid, Muslims have family, friends and neighbours over, indulging them in a feast and eating traditional foods only made during this time.
What are the Ramadan rules?
During Ramadan, Muslims don’t eat food or drink any liquids from sunrise to sunset.
Those participating will usually wake up early to eat a big meal so that they won’t be hungry throughout the day.
And those who don’t wake up early have a big dinner before going to bed.
It’s important to note that not every Muslim will fast this Ramadan. Young children and the elderly are exempt from fasting, along with those who are:
- Travelling long distances
But what happens if you miss a fast? You can make up for it by fasting at a later date.
If you can’t fast because of health reasons, it is encouraged you donate food or money to the poor instead.
What happens if you break the rules of Ramadan
Muslims who break the rules of Ramadan are expected to obey the rules of Kaffara.
What is kaffara?
Kaffara (expiation) provides an opportunity to recompense for individuals who deliberately miss or break a fast during Ramadan without a valid reason. In the Hanafi school, if a person misses a day of fasting unnecessarily, he or she should either fast for 60 consecutive days or feed 60 poor people.
Who should pay kaffara?
Kaffara is paid by any adult Muslim who misses a fast or makes their fast invalid during Ramadan without a good reason and if they cannot fast at a later time for 60 continuous days. Below is a list of examples of how a fast can be broken or made invalid:
- Intentionally eating or drinking during fasting hours
- Sexual intercourse or masturbation during fasting
- Intentionally making yourself throw up
- Planning or intending to deliberately miss fasts
- Deliberately hurting yourself or any other person or animal
What is the required payment?
To atone for the intentionally missed/invalidated fast, a person must fast continuously for 60 days. If they are unable to do that, they should feed 60 poor people. Kaffara is due for each individual fast which has been intentionally missed/ invalidated.
In the UK, this is at a rate of £5 per person (the average cost of two meals in the UK). This amounts to, £300 kaffara for each missed/ intentionally broken fast.
As with fidya, kaffara is only valid if one will never be able to fast for 60 consecutive days. In circumstances where someone regains their health and can fast later in life, the kaffara they paid will be considered as charity, and they must then make up the fasts miss
Can I eat in front of someone who is fasting?
Yes, you can eat and drink in front of someone fasting for Ramadan during the day.
They’ll most likely turn down your invite to brunch, but you can have dinner together when they break their fast.
Inviting a person to break their fast with you is a big part of the celebration, given that Ramadan is about coming together.
The practise of fasting for Ramadan serves spiritual and social purposes.
It allows you to see what it feels like to be hungry and thirsty so that you feel compassion and a duty to help those less fortunate.
How can I wish my Muslim friends a happy Ramadan?
You’re welcome to say, “Happy Ramadan” or “Happy Eid”.
You can also say “Ramadan Mubarak”, which means: “Have a blessed Ramadan”.
Another popular greeting is “Ramadan Kareem”, which means: “Have a generous Ramadan”.
And no, you don’t have to be participating in Ramadan to say these greetings.
It’s helpful to think of them as festive greetings in the same way as “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Hanukkah”.