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Ramadan FAQs: Everything you need to know about the holy month

Ramadan FAQs: Everything you need to know about the holy month

Ramadan is expected to begin on May 27 this year

As Muslims across the world prepare for Ramadan – expected to begin this weekend – here is what you need to know about the holy month.

What is Ramadan?

The ninth month of the Islamic calendar, Ramadan is a time when Muslims around the world abstain from eating, drinking or smoking between sunrise and sunset.

Lasting about a month, it marks the time when the Qur’an was first revealed to the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). Extra tarawih prayers are performed at the mosque throughout Ramadan and each evening 1/30th of the holy book is recited. By the end of Ramadan, many observers have read the entire Qur’an.

Why is Ramadan so important to Muslims?

Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam, which are the foundation of the religion. The pillars are the framework by which Muslims everywhere live, and Ramadan is considered the holiest time in the Islamic calendar. It is a time for prayer, reflection and religious devotion, to cleanse past sins and to focus on Allah through good deeds.

Why do Muslims fast?

Fasting, or sawn, loosely translates as ‘to refrain’. So during Ramadan Muslims commit to not eating, drinking, smoking or even chewing gum during daylight hours. But sawn isn’t just about physical restraint, it also refers to bad thoughts, actions and words.

Many people assume that Ramadan is about deprivation, but in Islam it’s often a time to spend with family, breaking fast at sunset over iftar. The fast itself is intended to help Muslims learn about self-discipline and restraint, and enable them to empathise with those who have less.

Does everything close during the day?

Many cafés and restaurants remain open during Ramadan, but may have shorter or different opening times so it’s best to call before. The places that are open during the daytime are likely to have curtains or panels in place to conceal people eating and drinking from those fasting.

Also read: Ramadan daytime dining 2017

Everything tends to happen much later in the day during Ramadan. The malls close even later than usual, with many staying open well after midnight.

Do I need to do anything differently during the day?

It’s important for everyone to dress and behave appropriately during the holy month. Even those who aren’t fasting should make sure that their clothes are modest, covering shoulders, chest and knees. Keep music levels down to a minimum when you’re driving and, of course, no public displays of affection.

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