Muslims across the world will commence this year’s fast in the holy month of Ramadan, Thursday, March 23, 2023.
The Holy month, which is the ninth on the Islamic lunar calendar, commences and ends at the sighting of the new moon.
It is the month in which fasting is obligatory for every Muslim (except those whose age, health conditions and other challenges will enable them to undertake the exercise) to fast from dawn to sunset as espoused in the teachings of the Holy Quran, Chapter 2 verse 183, which states “O you who believe, Siyam (fasting) is prescribed onto you as it was prescribed for those before you so that you may have piety (fear of Allah).
The faithful fast between 11 to 16 hours daily depending on the time of the year for a period of 20 to 30 days as a means of drawing closer to Allah and nurturing self-control, gratitude and compassion for the less fortunate.
Fasting in the month of Ramadan is also one of the five pillars of Islam and Muslims welcome the month as an opportunity for self-reflection, and spiritual improvement, and to grow in moral excellence. Ramadan is also a highly social time as Muslims invite each other to break their fast together and meet for prayers at the mosque.
During this period, Muslims are to forgo food and drink, abstain from sex during the day and all social vices.
“For Muslims, it is a time to train themselves both physically and spiritually by avoiding any negative acts such as gossiping, backbiting, lying or arguing. It is also an opportunity for self-reflection, spiritual improvement and to grow in moral excellence.”
After the 29 to 30 days fast, the Festival of Eid Al-Fitr, or the Festival of Fast-breaking, is celebrated to mark the end of Ramadan.