Ramadan is the 9th month in the Islamic calendar. During this month, Muslims from all around the world refrain from eating, drinking, using bad language, gossiping and backbiting. They have to be on their best behaviour.
Who has to fast?
Muslims who have reached the age of puberty and are well and healthy. It is a personal commitment.
Can you drink water?
No, you are not allowed to drink or eat between sunrise and sunset.
Who does not have to fast?
If you are ill, need to take medication during the day, mentally unwell, travelling long distances, under the age of puberty (although some parents encourage their children to participate partially), women who are on their menstrual cycle and women who are pregnant.
How Long is Ramadan?
It lasts for 29 or 30 days, depending on the cycle of the moon. At the end of the month Muslims celebrate Eid, where plenty of food and gifts are shared with family and friends.
The fast commences at the start of sunrise and finishes at sunset. For example, Muslims in the UK will get up at 3am in the morning to eat some food before the sun rises and they will not eat until 9pm in the evening. Muslims in the UK will be fasting nearly 19 hours without food or drink.
It is one of the five pillars of Islam which means Muslims believe it is a commandment from God (Allah). It teaches you important lessons such as self-restraint, patience and forces you to be morally upright. It also helps you understand how the poor and needy feel.
Is it not dangerous?
No, 1.7 billion Muslims fast every year and in some countries the heat is over 40 degrees. If you feel unwell you are allowed to break your fast and make it up later when you feel better.
What happens if you break your fast?
If you knowingly break your fast you must make it up at the end of the month or give some money to charity to make up for it. If you break it unintentionally then it is ok you can carry on.