Last updated on February 23rd, 2024 at 11:39 am

Ramadan is the month of fasting. That makes this month so special for Muslims. Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam. Though Muslims can fast in other months whenever they like, every adult Muslim must observe fasting consistently during Ramadan.

Islam does not impose on its believers something that is beyond its capacity, as explained in the first part of the last verse of Surah Al-Baqarah.

Translation – Allah does not require of any soul more than what it can afford. All good will be for its own benefit, and all evil will be to its own loss. (Surah Al-Baqarah, 286)

So, those who are ill or traveling are exempted from compulsory fasting during Ramadan, but with certain conditions. The 184th Verse of Surah Al-Baqarah explains these concessions and exemptions.

Translation – Fast a˺ prescribed number of days. But whoever of you is ill or on a journey, then ˹let them fast˺ an equal number of days ˹after Ramaḍân˺. For those who can only fast with extreme difficulty, compensation can be made by feeding a needy person ˹for every day not fasted˺. But whoever volunteers to give more, it is better for them. And to fast is better for you, if only you knew. (Surah Al-Baqarah, 184)

Significance of Ramadan Other Than Fasting

Apart from being a month of fasting, Ramadan has another unique significance. This was the month when the Quran was revealed on the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, in the year 610 CE, as narrated in the 185th verse of Surah Al Baqarah.

Ramaḍân is the month in which the Quran was revealed as a guide for humanity with clear proofs of guidance and the decisive authority. So whoever is present this month, let them fast. But whoever is ill or on a journey, then ˹let them fast˺ an equal number of days ˹after Ramaḍân˺. Allah intends ease for you, not hardship, so that you may complete the prescribed period and proclaim the greatness of Allah for guiding you, and perhaps you will be grateful.

Though it took more than 23 years for the complete revelation of the Quran, it started in Ramadan, as narrated in this verse. Simultaneously, this verse also explains who is exempted from compulsory fasting this month.

Further, in Surah Al Qadr, it is described that the Quran was sent down in the Shab-e-Qadr (the night of Glory). This Surah comprises of five verses, as translated here:

Indeed, ˹it is˺ We ˹Who˺ sent this ˹Quran˺ down on the Night of Glory.

And what will make you realize what the Night of Glory is?

The Night of Glory is better than a thousand months.

That night the angels and the ˹holy˺ spirit descend, by the permission of their Lord, for every ˹decreed˺ matter.

It is all peace until the break of dawn.

It is established in Hadith number 2017, Book 32, of Sahih Al Bukhari, that this night of glory falls on the odd nights during the last 10 days of Ramadan.

Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Search for the Night of Qadr in the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan.”

So, the month of Ramadan is a very special occasion for Muslims because:

  1. Allah showers His blessings on the believers as a reward for fasting this month.
  2. The Quran was revealed in the month of Ramadan.
  3. Laylatul Qadr (night of Glory) falls on the odd nights during the last ten days of this month.
  4. The First Ghazwa, known as the Battle of Badr, happened on the 17th of Ramadan.
  5. The Final Battle, the Conquest of Mecca also happened during this month.

When is Ramadan 2024?

The month of Ramadan falls at number 9 in the Islamic Calendar. Islamic date system in itself is a sort of blessing for mankind. The beauty of this date system is that it revolves around all weather. So, Ramadan keeps rotating between the hot and cold seasons.

After falling into the hottest part of the year for many years, this time, Ramadan is set to come in the pleasant month of March. Though the exact date cannot be predicted, we can expect that Ramadan will probably start between March 10, 2024 and March 12, 2024.

Islamic months start with new moon sightings, so the exact date is not fixed and can vary by 2 to 3 days. Ramadan in 2023 started on March 23 and given the pattern of the new moon, we can expect an 8 to 10 days gap this year – which will be around 10, 11 or 12 March 2024.

Ramadan 2024 in Pakistan Expected March 11, 2024
Ramadan 2024 in USA Expected March 10, 2024
Ramadan 2024 in Saudi Arab Expected March 10, 2024
Ramadan 2024 in UK Expected March 10, 2024
Ramadan 2024 in Australia Expected March 09, 2024
Ramadan 2024 in Canada Expected March 10, 2024
Ramadan 2024 in Europe Expected March 10, 2024

 

May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى) allow us to celebrate the upcoming month of Ramadan in its true spirit.

 

Ramadan Timetable

Find the Suhoor and Iftar timings for Ramadan 2024 by visiting the Ramadan Timings webpage at MuslimandQuran.com. You can download the PDF of the Ramadan timings to access the Ramadan timetable offline.

Why is Ramadan so Blessed?

Fasting in the month of Ramadan is a religious obligation that simultaneously carries huge blessings. It is mentioned in the Quran in different verses, such as in the 183rd verse of Surah Al-Baqarah; it is narrated that fasting is not only made compulsory for the Muslims but was made obligatory for all previous Ummahs as well:

Translation – O believers! Fasting is prescribed for you—as it was for those before you—so perhaps you will become mindful ˹of Allah˺.

So, in the light of the above Quranic Verse, the purpose of Fasting, especially in the month of Ramadan, is to make one realize and understand his obligations and duties towards his Creator Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى). Hence, fasting not only fulfills one’s religious duty, being a compulsory part of one’s faith, but also is a source of strengthening faith in Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى). It is a source of purification of the body and the soul. It brings the believers closer to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى) so that his sins and wrongdoings be forgiven.

The 186th verse of Surah Al-Baqarah narrates how Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى) takes care of His true believers and simultaneously what He expects from them:

Translation – When My servants ask you ˹O Prophet˺ about Me: I am truly near. I respond to one’s prayer when they call upon Me. So let them respond ˹with obedience˺ to Me and believe in Me, perhaps they will be guided ˹to the Right Way˺.

The month of Ramadan is the best time for a believer to fulfill his obligations and seek forgiveness for all his previous wrongful acts and sins. It is also the best time to approach the Almighty Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى) for the fulfillment of our needs.  The blessings of Ramadan are further explained in the unique style of the Quran in the 35th verse of Surah Al-Ahzab:

Translation – Surely ˹for˺ Muslim men and women, believing men and women, devout men and women, truthful men and women, patient men and women, humble men and women, charitable men and women, fasting men and women, men and women who guard their chastity, and men and women who remember Allah often—for ˹all of˺ them Allah has prepared forgiveness and a great reward.

Here, Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى) assures all His believers, including all those who fast, that He has arranged forgiveness and special rewards for them. The Blessings of Ramadan are manifold, as quoted in authentic Hadith Collections. Hadith 1899 of Sahih Al-Bukhari narrates the significance of Ramadan.

Translation – Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of the heaven are opened, and the gates of Hell are closed, and the devils are chained.”

Another Hadith, as quoted in Abi Dawud at serial number 429, narrates the importance of Ramadan as follows:

Translation – There are five things, if anyone observe them with faith, he will enter Paradise. He who prays the five times prayer regularly, with the ablution for them, with their bowing, with their prostration and their (right) times; keeps fast during Ramadan; performs Hajj (pilgrimage) to the House (Ka’bah), provided he has the ability for its passage; pays Zakat happily; and fulfills the trust (he will enter Paradise). People said: Abu al-Darda’, what is fulfilling the trust? He replied: Washing because of sexual defilement.

The Concept of Multiplied Rewards in Ramadan

It is a common belief that the rewards are multiplied by 70 times in Ramadan. However, this is not proven by any authentic Hadith, some weak hadiths support this concept. The majority of the Scholars believe (based on their research derived from various Hadiths) that rewards are many times greater in the month of Ramadan, though no authentic Hadith can be quoted in favor of this concept.

What are the Benefits of Ramadan?

The blessings and virtues of Ramadan are manifold. It carries huge benefits for those who fast during the month of Ramadan, both the Spiritual and the Physical. These benefits are listed below:

Spiritual Benefits of Ramadan

Fasting during Ramadan is a religious duty and, hence, carries unlimited spiritual benefits, provided it is done with purity of intention. Some of the spiritual benefits are summarized here:

  • Spiritual Purification

Fasting is a rich source of spiritual purification of the mind, body, and soul of a person. It also enhances self-discipline, which ultimately helps purify one’s heart and soul. A person keeps him away from food and water to please Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى). That enhances his self-control and discipline.

  • Enhancement of Taqwa

As explained above, fasting brings one closer to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى), so his belief and trust in Him is increased. So, one needs to ensure that Fasting is done to please Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى) and get His mercy and forgiveness as a reward.

  • Source of Huge Rewards for the Day of Judgment

Ramadan is a unique event in Islam. The whole daily life pattern of a Muslim is transformed into purely a Muslim way of life. Hence, the opportunities for supplications and worship are relatively more during this month. The more you worship in this month, the more you invest for the life hereafter. The rewards gathered in this month will save you from the severity of the Day of Judgment.

  • Enhances self-control on Ill Desires

Ill desires or Animalistic desires are commonly referred to as “Nafs” in Islamic theology. Islam wants its believers to control such ill desires. The month of Ramadan is perhaps the best time to control one’s Nafs. Renowned scholar Imam Ghazali is of the view that Nafs get weakened when a person is fasting; hence, he remains protected from so many wrongful acts and sins. The logical impact of the weakening of Nafs would, therefore, be the strengthening of one’s soul. When the ill desires are weakened, the person gets more chance of getting closer to righteous deeds. The sense of getting closer to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى) during Ramadan also enhances your power to do good.

  • Calmness of Emotions

A fasting person often sets into a state of emotional calmness. His thoughts and emotions are concentrated towards the reality of life here and life hereafter. His worldly desires are pushed back, and he entirely concentrates on the life hereafter. That results in a state of calmness in his thoughts and emotions. Perhaps this is one of the most essential spiritual benefits of Ramadan, which often goes unnoticed. One should try to keep himself in the same state of mind, even after Ramadan.

Physical and Health Benefits of Ramadan

There are so many physical and health benefits of fasting during Ramadan, which are also proven medically and scientifically. Some of these benefits are summarized below:

  • Weight loss, which ultimately protects from various potential diseases and disorders.
  • Improvement of Metabolism in the human body.
  • Fasting improves the digestive system.
  • Fasting helps reduction of toxins in the body. When fasting, the body starts using the fats already stored in the body, which helps get rid of toxins accumulated in the fats.
  • Contrary to the common perception, fasting helps control blood sugar levels. It is a wrong perception that a person having blood sugar issues should not fast. It is medically proven that fasting, in fact, helps control blood sugar.
  • Fasting helps control and reduce the Blood Pressure.
  • Fasting can also improve the immune system through the process of Autophagy, where damaged immune cells are replaced with fresh, new and healthy cells. That significantly improves the human immune system.
  • Fasting improves the sleep pattern by reducing the cortisol level (a stress hormone). Simultaneously, fasting also enhances the production of the sleep hormone known as melatonin.
  • Fasting during Ramadan also helps control the low density of Lipoprotein (LDL), commonly referred to as bad cholesterol.

Length and Purpose of Fasting

Length of fasting is variable; it depends on what part of the world you are living in and in which month of the year Ramadan falls in your locality. Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic Calendar. Islamic Calendar is based on the lunar system. The Islamic months start with the sighting of the new moon, most commonly referred to as “Ruet-e-Hilal” in Islam.

Hence, the Islamic months keep on revolving throughout the Gregorian calendar. That means a particular Islamic month, such as Ramadan, will revolve around all the 12 months of the Gregorian calendar, from January to December. That’s why the length of a fasting day keeps on changing with the month in which it falls. If it falls in the month of June, the length of a fasting day will be at its maximum in most parts of the world. But if it falls in the month of December, the duration of fasting will be at its minimum.

Length of a Fasting Day

The duration of fasting, whether in Ramadan or out of Ramadan, is from the time of Fajr Prayer till the time of Maghrib Prayer. In other words, the fasting day starts at dawn and ends at dusk. The length of a fasting day varies with the local timings of the rising of the sun and the setting of the sun. Therefore, the length of a fasting day can be different from city to city within the same Country.

Similarly, the start and end times of the fasting day also vary with the sunrise and sunset times of a particular locality. For example, if the first Ramadan of 2024 falls on the 12th of March, the fast will start at 4:58 AM and end at 6:14 PM in Islamabad, whereas it will be from 5:27 AM to 6:41 PM in Karachi, Pakistan. That shows how the length of a fasting day may vary from city to city.

For more precise and accurate Sahar and Iftar timings in your locality, click here

Length of the Month of Ramadan

Like other Islamic months, the length of the month of Ramadan also varies between 29 to 30 days, based on the sighting of Ramadan and the Shawwal moon. The 1st Ramadan depends on sighting or otherwise, the Ramadan moon on the evening of the 29th of Sha’aban. Similarly, the end of Ramadan will depend on sighting or, otherwise, the Shawwal moon on the evening of the 29th of Ramadan.

Again, the length of the month of Ramadan may vary with the locality. However, to streamline the performance of this most important religious activity, a centralized moon sighting mechanism is in place in almost every Country at the Government level, like the Ruet-e-Hilaal Committee in Pakistan or the Crescent Department of the Supreme Court of Saudi Arabia. Likewise, all Muslim Countries have their own mechanism in place to decide on the sighting of the Ramadan moon.

Purpose of Fasting

The purpose of Ramadan or fasting in Ramadan is mainly to please Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى). While it is a religious duty of a Muslim to fast during the month of Ramadan, it is highly beneficial for him in many ways. As explained above, with reference to various Quranic Verses and Hadiths, the purpose of fasting in the month of Ramadan is to purify the body and soul of a person.

Here, we can quote another Hadith which makes clear the very purpose of fasting. Hadith number 6057 of Sahih Al-Bukhari explains the essence of fasting:

Translation – The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Whoever does not give up false statements (i.e. telling lies), and evil deeds, and speaking bad words to others, Allah is not in need of his (fasting) leaving his food and drink.”

Another Hadith with a similar interpretation is quoted in Sunan Ibn Majah at serial 1690, is as follows:

Translation – There are people who fast and get nothing from their fast except hunger, and there are those who pray and get nothing from their prayer but a sleepless night.

So, these Hadiths clearly define the purpose of fasting. It has to be aimed at getting away from sins and wrongful deeds and acts and getting closer to the Almighty Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى), by adopting the righteous way of life, as stipulated in the Islamic teachings.

What is Not Allowed During Ramadan?

The basic requirement of fasting during or outside of Ramadan is to abstain from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk. But that is not the only restriction. Fasting also requires a person to keep away from sins and wrongdoings as well as from bad and wrong emotions and thoughts.

Hadith 1151a of Sahih Muslim narrates what should be the etiquette of fasting:

Translation – When any one of you gets up in the morning in the state of fasting, he should neither use obscene language nor do any act of ignorance. And if anyone slanders him or quarrels with him, he should say:” I am fasting, I am fasting.”

So, this Hadith, along with other Hadiths, as quoted above, clearly tells us what is not allowed during fasting:

  • Eating and drinking from dawn to dusk is not allowed for a person while in a state of fasting.
  • Lying is prohibited during fasting
  • Loose talk or obscene talk is not allowed during fasting.
  • Swearing is also prohibited for the person with fast.
  • Sexual activities are not allowed during the state of fasting.
  • Unnecessary argumentation should be avoided when fasting.
  • Abusing others is not allowed during fasting.
  • Fighting should also be avoided when you are fasting.
  • One should also abstain from bad thoughts and emotions while fasting.

What Happens if You Accidentally Drink Water During Ramadan?

Eating or drinking is strictly prohibited during the fasting hours. In fact, the basic requirement of fasting is to desist from eating and drinking. Hence, if a person willfully or intentionally eats or drinks during the fasting hours, his fast will stand broken and he will have to repeat this fast as prescribed in Islamic teachings.

On the other hand, if someone drinks water erroneously or accidentally, the matter is quite different from doing so intentionally or willfully. Islam is a religion that is very close to nature, and more importantly, it facilitates believers to perform their religious duties with ease and without any unnecessary burden. The same principle applies in this case.

In the last verse of Surah Al-Baqarah, Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى) assures that if some prohibited act has been done by mistake or by forgetfulness, He will pardon the defaulting person.

Translation of relevant part –˹The believers pray,˺ “Our Lord! Do not punish us if we forget or make a mistake. Our Lord! Do not place a burden on us like the one you placed on those before us. Our Lord! Do not burden us with what we cannot bear. Pardon us, forgive us, and have mercy on us. You are our ˹only˺ Guardian. So grant us victory over the disbelieving people.

Similarly, in the last part of the 5th Verse of Surah Al-Ahzab, the same assurance is repeated in a different context:

Translation of relevant part – There is no blame on you for what you do by mistake, but ˹only˺ for what you do intentionally. And Allah is All-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

So, in the light of the above-quoted verses of the Quran, it is believed by the majority of the Scholars and Quran Commentators that if someone accidentally drinks water, his fast will not be broken, and he must continue the fast for the remaining part of the day.

The same concept is also narrated in various Hadiths. Hadith number 2045 of Sunan Ibn Maajah narrates that Allah forgives the mistakes and forgetfulness:

Translation – Allah has forgiven my nation for mistakes and forgetfulness, and what they are forced to do.

In another Hadith quoted at 115 in Sahih Al-Muslim, it is clarified by the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ that eating or drinking by forgetfulness does not break the fast:

Translation – If anyone forgets that he is fasting and eats or drinks he should complete his fast, for it is only Allah Who has fed him and given him drink.

Hence, if you drink water mistakenly or accidentally, your fast doesn’t break; rather, it remains valid, and one should continue his fast without any doubts.

Can I Break My Fast if I Feel Weak?

Islam is often called “Deen-e-Fitrat,” which can be translated as “the religion close to nature.” It means that Islam only requires from its believers that is workable. It further means that Islam does not impose something on its believers that is not attainable. In support of this concept, we often quote the last verse of Surah Al-Baqarah, where it is specifically mentioned that Allah does not want from His believers that is beyond their capacity.

Fasting is a religious obligation during the month of Ramadan. At the same time, fasting is relaxed or even exempted for some specific categories of people, such as the sick and the travelers, as specifically mentioned in the 184th verse of Surah Al-Baqarah. While seriously ill persons are clearly exempted from fasting with the obligation to make up the missed days of fasting, later on, this exemption can also be applied to a person who is not sick but feels so weak during a fasting day that it may result in serious medical conditions or even death.

Apart from various other restrictions, the observer of the fast is not allowed to eat or drink during the fasting hours. Now, if a person, as referred to above, feels weak or faints while fasting and there’s a possibility that he may die, he can; rather, he should opt for breaking the fast to save his life. This is a well-considered opinion of almost every religious scholar. Saving one’s life is the top priority, per the teachings of Islam. It is also believed that one can even eat Haram food if there’s a fear of death due to hunger, as narrated in the 3rd verse of Surah Al-Ma’idah:

Translation – Forbidden to you are carrion, blood, and swine; what is slaughtered in the name of any other than Allah; what is killed by strangling, beating, a fall, or by being gored to death; what is partly eaten by a predator unless you slaughter it; and what is sacrificed on altars. You are also forbidden to draw lots for decisions. This is all evil. Today the disbelievers have given up all hope of ˹undermining˺ your faith. So do not fear them; fear Me! Today I have perfected your faith for you, completed My favour upon you, and chosen Islam as your way. But whoever is compelled by extreme hunger—not intending to sin—then surely Allah is All-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

In that context, it is quite logical to break the fast if a person gets fainted or feels so weak that it may result in serious medical conditions or possible death.

What Happens if You Don’t Fast During Ramadan?

Fasting in Ramadan is a religious compulsion for every adult Muslim. Hence, refraining from fasting during this month without any valid excuse is a severe sin. The persons exempted from fasting are clearly mentioned in the 184th verse of Surah Al-Baqarah. These are the persons who are seriously ill or are traveling and those who can only fast with extreme difficulty. These three types of people are exempted from this prime religious obligation.

There may be two situations where a person fails to fast during Ramadan:

  • Missed Fasting Due to A Valid Reason

If someone has skipped fasting due to a valid reason permissible, such as sickness or traveling, he will have to make up these missed fasting days. This has to be done as soon as possible but before the start of Ramadan. But if one has broken his fast before the prescribed time, then he will have to pay expiation (Fidya) and make up for the missed or broken fast.

  • Skipped Fasting Intentionally or Without A Valid Reason

Since fasting during Ramadan is compulsory, one has to do it invariably. Not fasting without a valid reason is, therefore, a major sin. Hence, the only remedy available for such a person is repentance and making up the missed fasting days. It is just like the five regular prayers. Offering five prayers a day is an obligation; not doing so is a sin.

The majority of Islamic Scholars agree on this very sensitive religious issue. They think that since it is an intentional act of a person to skip obligatory fasting, the person doing so will be held accountable, having committed a major sin. Hence, he must make up for the missed fasting days and also repent for this sin.

However, some scholars have a different opinion on this religious debate. They refer to it as worship in the month of Ramadan and do not need to make up for the missed number of days of fasting because the time of this worship has lapsed. But the majority favor making up the missed days of fasting.