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Dates of the start of Ramadan
Who observes the start of Ramadan?
Ramadan is the ninth month* of the Muslim calendar. It is during this month that Muslims fast.
It is called the Fast of Ramadan and lasts the entire month. Ramadan is a time when Muslims concentrate on their faith and spend less time on the concerns of their everyday lives. It is a time of worship and contemplation
During the Fast of Ramadan strict restraints are placed on the daily lives of Muslims. They are not allowed to eat or drink during the daylight hours. Smoking and sexual relations are also forbidden during fasting.
At the end of each day the fast is broken with prayer and a meal called the iftar. In the evening following the iftar it is customary for Muslims to go out visiting family and friends. The fast is resumed the next morning
During Ramadan, it is common for Muslims to go to the Masjid (Mosque) and spend several hours praying and studying the Quran. In addition to the five daily prayers, during Ramadan Muslims recite a special prayer called the Taraweeh prayer (Night Prayer). The length of this prayer is usually 2-3 times as long as the daily prayers. Some Muslims spend the entire night in prayer.
The holiday of Eid ul-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan and the start of the next lunar month, Shawwal. This day is declared when the crescent new moon has been sighted or if sighting of the moon is not possible due to the weather, the completion of 30 days of fasting.
The start of Ramadan (Awal Ramadan) is a public holiday in the Johor, Kedah and Melaka regions of Malaysia.
*The islamic calendar is based on the moon (Lunar) , while the solar calendar is based on the sun (Solar). The solar calendar months are made of 30 or 31 days except for February. The Lunar calendar months are made of 29 or 30 days. Ramadan can therefore last for either 29 days or 30 days.)
The start and end of the month is based on a combination of physical sightings of the moon and astronomical calculations. The practice varies from place to place, some places relying heavily on sighting reports and others totally on calculations. In the United States, most communities follow the decision of the Islamic Society of North America, which accepts bonafide sightings of the new moon anywhere in the United States as determining the start and end of the month.
With the Islamic lunar calendar, being 11 to 12 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar, migrates throughout the seasons. The entire cycle takes around 35 years. In this way, the length of the day, and thus the fasting period, varies in length from place to place over the years. Every Muslim, no matter where he or she lives, will see an average Ramadan day of the approximately 13.5 hours.