Ramadan: Tez Ilyas reveals how people 'confuse' fasting
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Ramadan is the month in which the first verses of the Quran, the Islamic holy book, were revealed to Prophet Muhammad more than 1,400 years ago. Throughout the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from just before sunrise, or Fajr, prayer to the sunset prayer, called Maghrib. The fast means abstaining from eating, drinking, smoking and sexual relations in an effort to achieve greater consciousness of Allah, or ‘taqwa’. Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam, along with the Muslim declaration of faith, daily prayers, charity and performing the Hajj pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca if physically and financially able to. In many Muslim-majority countries, working hours are often reduced and a number of restaurants close during the fasting hours.
When is the first fast of Ramadan in 2021?
The first fast of Ramadan in 2021 will coincide with the first sighting of the new moon.
This year, this date is expected to fall on Tuesday, April 13, in the UK and other European countries.
To declare the official start of Ramadan, Saudi Arabia and other Muslim-majority countries depend on the testimonies of local moon sighters.
Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are all expected to follow in Saudi Arabia’s sighting of the new moon.
Other countries around the world have their own moon sightings.
Indonesia, Lebanon, Morocco and Syria, however, are all likely to start fasting on Tuesday, April 13 as well.
Ramadan, as always, will last for 30 days, expected to end on Wednesday, May 11, 2021.
The celebratory days of Eid-al-Fitr will begin on Thursday, May 13, it’s expected, with the final Iftar happening on the evening of May 12.
Who takes part in the fasting?
All Muslims who have reached puberty age are expected to fast during the holy month of Ramadan.
However, as with anything, there are some exceptions to who abstains from eating and drinking.
Women who are menstruating or pregnant, and those suffering from illnesses, don’t have to fast.
Muslim children are expected to begin participating in Ramadan once they’re about 14 years old.
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There is no national law that stops young children or teenagers from fasting, however, and it’s usually at the discretion of the families.
The NHS in the UK advises against children under the age of eight from fasting, however.
Advice from the Health Service reads: “It’s a good idea to make children aware of what fasting involves and to practice fasting for a few hours at a time.”
Ramadan is usually prime time for Islamic communities to gather and commemorate the month-long event together.
However, this year, as with the last year too, the COVID-19 pandemic will likely put plans on hold.
While mosques were closed last year, they’re open in 2021 but things will undoubtedly still feel different.
Mosques will open for limited numbers of people and shorter services, and to attend prayer, people will need to register in advance.
Any children under 10 years old, adults aged 60 and over, and those with COVID-19 symptoms or underlying health conditions should not attend.
Worshippers should also bring their own prayer mat and wear face masks, while social distancing will continue to be in place.
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