MUSLIMS have been fasting during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar for more than 14 centuries, but when are you able to eat during Ramadan?
Ramadan involves fasting between sunrise and sunset, which means more than 18 hours a day without eating, drinking, smoking. Each year, the months differ depending on the movement of the moon and this year people will fast from Wednesday, May 16 to Thursday, June 14.
At sunset, families or communities gather to break the fast with meal known as Iftar. People are advised to drink a lot of water before dawn to try to prevent thirst during the day. Showering or rinsing mouths and noses with small amounts of water is allowed as long as none is swallowed. Tasting food and then rinsing it away without swallowing is also permitted.
Choosing to eat or drink during sunlight hours will invalidate the fast, as well as vomiting on purpose. Injections for medical or nutritional reasons are accepted, along with using a suppository such as an enema or douche. Accidentally swallowing saliva or dust will not invalidate the fast.
The fasts take place as a mark of devotion towards the God and is a symbolic way to rid the self of worldly pleasures. Muslim children are expected to begin fasting when they have reached puberty, usually at the age of 14.
Women can choose not to take part in Ramadan if they are pregnant or breastfeeding and believe it will have an adverse effect on either them or their child. However, they must observe the fast after Ramadan is over or perform fidiya, which involves involves feeding someone each day it was missed. Similarly, people who miss fasting due to being old or unwell will perform fidiya at a later date and women who are menstruating or those who are travelling should also fast later on in the year.
Eid al-Fitr will follow on Friday, June 15 this year to mark the end of Ramadan.
Originally created from here.