We have only just found our feet in the year 2020 and already it feels as though time is passing us by rather quickly. Among some upcoming events this year, 23 April 2020 is an important day for Muslims all around the world as it signifies the start of the Ramadan fasting period.
For those who are new to Ramadan, Ramadan is a 30-day long tradition (lasting the entirety of a lunar month in the Islamic calendar) when Muslims fast during daylight hours.
The fast is one of the most commonly known aspects of Ramadan, which leads into Eid-al-Fitr, known as the Festival of Breaking the Fast.
Are you aware of what Muslims abstain from during the hours of the fast?
Here, we have compiled a list of what is not permitted during the dawn to sunset fast.
Food is probably the most widely known item that is given up during the month of Ramadan (with Muslims waking up early to eat before sunrise and only breaking the fast after sunset with a meal known as Iftar). It is a tradition for the fast to be broken by eating dates before the meal.
While many are aware that Muslims do not eat during daylight hours during Ramadan, some do not know that liquids are also off-limits. This means that, in some areas of the world; Muslims are not allowed to drink water for as long as 21 hours, leaving just a three-hour window between sunset and sunrise in which to nourish themselves. It is important to note that there are exceptions for this; as anyone who is of ill health, children who have not yet reached puberty, and women who are menstruating, are not expected to fast.
Medicine, such as over the counter headache tablets, are also not allowed during daylight hours but there are exceptions to this. As we have already covered, those of ill health is not expected to partake in the fast, but this is more in the realms of serious illnesses rather than a simple headache. That means if you take an aspirin, even without water, your day’s fast is obsolete and will not count and you will have to make up for it at another time in the year.
Smoking is also prohibited during the fast, making Ramadan a popular time for Muslims to give up the addiction. Doctors claim that it takes a similar amount of willpower to give up cigarettes during fasting hours than it does to completely give up on smoking altogether.
As well as giving up food and water during the fast, Muslims must also abstain from sexual relations during daylight hours. It is also obligatory that following intercourse or ejaculation, Muslims perform a full-body purification known as Ghusl.
What Else Do Muslims also Participate in During Ramadan?
As well as giving up several luxuries, Muslims do continue to show their faith by devoting more time to prayers and donating to charitable causes (see this for more information) during Ramadan.
Many also see this month as the opportune time to donate their zakat as they believe that the rewards that come with the payment are enhanced during this time of the year.
Now that you are aware of what your Muslim friends, colleagues and family members abstain from during the month of Ramadan; you can be really supportive towards them by being sensitive, respectful, and even fast alongside them.