Ramadan: People gather for prayers in Afghanistan
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For Muslims, Ramadan is a period of reflection on the world and their faith. During the month of Ramadan, it is believed the Islamic holy book, the Quran, was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and the month has special significance for Muslims.
During the month of Ramadan, Muslims will fast every day from dawn to sunset.
Depending on where they live in the world, some Muslims will fast for some 11 hours, while others may fast for more than 18 hours.
The northernmost countries will fast for the longest in 2021.
According to Al Jazeera, Muslims living in Scotland could expect to fast for 18 hours and 36 minutes on May 12, which is the longest day of Ramadan in the Northern Hemisphere.
Muslims in London can expect to fast for between 16 and 17 hours.
Muslims hope to achieve greater “taqwa”, or consciousness of God, by abstaining from eating, drinking, smoking and sexual relations during this time.
Fasting during the month of Ramadan is considered one of the Five Pillars of Islam.
However, some Muslims may not fast during Ramadan in some circumstances, such as pregnancy or for medical reasons.
When does Ramadan begin?
The exact date Ramadan begins and ends changes every year.
The Islamic calendar is based on lunar cycles, unlike the Gregorian calendar, which stays the same every year.
The month of Ramadan starts 10 to 12 days earlier each year.
The exact date Ramadan begins will be dependent on the sighting of the new moon.
This year, the date is expected to fall on the evening of Monday, April 12.
Ramadan lasts for 30 days and is therefore expected to end on Wednesday, May 12, 2021.
The month of Ramadan comes to an end when the next new moon is sighted.
When does fasting start?
Fasting begins at sunrise after Suhur, which is consumed in the early hours of the morning and finishes at sunset with Iftar.
The exact times fasting begins and ends will differ across the UK.
However, according to the Ramadan timetable published by the East London Mosque, the Suhur will end at 4.34am on Tuesday, April 13 in London.
A full timetable for Ramadan can be found on the website of charity Muslim Hands HERE.
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