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Ramadan: That is why we fast

When is Ramadan?

Ramadan is the month of fasting in Islam. It lasts 29 or 30 days and falls every year at a different time - in 2021 on April 12th to May 12th 2021. From May 12th to 13th, 2021 the festival of the breaking of the fast, also known as the sugar festival, will take place. Since Islam is based on the lunar calendar and not on the sun and the Gregorian calendar, the Islamic festival year has 354 days instead of 365 days. Thereby Ramadan moves forward ten or eleven days a year and so gradually goes through all the seasons. As the ninth month of the lunar calendar the fasting month of Ramadan begins with the new moon. That is why the beginning of Lent is also known as the "birth of the new moon".

What is ramadan

Ramadan recalls the time when the Archangel Gabriel revealed the Koran to the Prophet Mohammed. He is considered a particularly holy time and is the month in which God speaks to people and the believers have the opportunity to deal intensively with their faith. Fasting in Ramadan belongs to the so-called five pillars of Islam. They are the main rules of the Islamic faith and the main duties of a Muslim. These five pillars are:

  • Public Creed
  • The prayer
  • Fasting
  • The compulsory social contribution
  • The pilgrimage to Mecca

According to Islamic tradition, the Prophet Mohammed was the first Muslim to fast in Ramadan. He serves as a model for the Muslims; fasting symbolizes the believer's bond with his Creator. During Lent, body and soul should be cleansed. But Community and solidarity with the weak and poor are also particularly important this month.

Why do Muslims fast?

Fasting is supposed to happen for Allah's sake and means that the Muslim or the Muslim woman no food from dawn to sunset be allowed to take. Believers are not allowed to eat or drink anything smoke and should also abstain sexually. In addition to this "outer" form of fasting, fasting also has an "inner" dimension. This states that believing Muslims keep away from sin even more than usual, say you shouldn't talk, hear or do anything bad. For Muslims, fasting in Ramadan also means recognizing that as a believer one is solely dependent on God. For many Muslims, Ramadan is a very conscious time-out for body and mind, in which they can find peace and deal intensively with their faith. Fasting means focusing on the essentials and to forego the superfluous. Many Muslims think a lot about God and themselves, pray intensely and read the Koran. Ramadan is not just about deepening one's relationship with God and faith. The month of fasting has also a social aspect. The deficiency felt in their own body is intended to motivate Muslims to help others and to develop understanding for poor and starving people.



Fasting begins daily before the so-called Fajir prayer at about five in the morning. It ends at around 9 p.m. with the evening prayer and the subsequent iftar. The whole family gathers for this festive dinnerto break the fast together after sunset. Traditionally, dates are served with water or milk as the first dish to break the fast.

Ramadan: Duties and Exceptions

Fasting in Ramadan is one of the religious duties of Muslims enshrined in the Koran. In some Islamic states, non-compliance with the obligation to fast is prohibited by the state. To participate in Ramadan are however obligated only those Muslims who are physically and mentally able to do so. Menstruating, pregnant or breastfeeding women, the sick, the elderly and children are exempt from fasting. They have the option of catching up on the fast or providing a replacement service, for example by feeding those in need. Even those who have to do physically strenuous work are exempt from the obligation to fast.

Sugar Festival: The festival of breaking the fast

The end of Ramadan is also the day of the Ramadan festival and is the most important Islamic holiday for Muslims after the Feast of Sacrifice. Depending on the region, the Eid al-Fitr, the festival of the breaking of the fast, lasts two to three days. In Turkish it is also called Sugar Festival (Seker Bayrami)because children get sweets for free.

With the festival of the breaking of the fast, Muslims express their joy at having mastered the hardships of Ramadan and ask Allah to acknowledge their prayers and efforts. This is an important religious duty of the Sugar Festival Festive prayer on the morning of the first day of the festival. In addition, the believers dress in festive clothes and meet in the mosque to pray together. Then they make donations for needy parishioners. Most Muslims spend the festive season with relatives, friends and extensive meals.

Ramadan: You should consider that as a vacationer

Your vacation or your Semester abroad During Ramadan in Islamic countries such as Egypt, Morocco, Turkey or Tunisia, you should note that many restaurants and stalls are closed. You also need to consider what behavior is appropriate: Some Muslims don't mind if vacationers eat or drink during the day. Others, however, find drinking and eating in public as a nuisance. If in doubt, you should hold back in this regard and Be considerate of the customs of the country.

Fasting in Ramadan: how healthy is it?

Fasting is not just religious. Meanwhile is Fasting is a real nutritional trend, which is celebrated in the form of therapeutic or intermittent fasting. But fasting in Ramadan in particular is repeatedly criticized. The main reason for this is the lack of fluids, which can lead to circulatory problems, headaches and concentration problems, especially on hot days. That's why nutritionists recommend drink plenty of fluids before daybreak. People with health problems should discuss fasting with a doctor.

Fasting in other religions

The practice of fasting is thousands of years old and firmly rooted not only in Islam, but also in other religions. Christians observe the fast in preparation for Easter, the feast of the resurrection of Jesus. The Christian Lent lasts from Ash Wednesday to Easter and is a sign of repentance, sadness and inner purification.

The Jews have several days of fasting. The strictest day of fasting is Yom Kippur, the day of atonement. Here the believers are not allowed to eat or drink for a whole night and the day after. But material things are also dispensed with.

Unlike Islam, Christianity or Judaism, Buddhism knows no fixed fasting period. Nevertheless, doing without plays a major role here. Above all, it serves for inner contemplation. The Hinduism also has no uniform fasting times. Some Hindus fast on Shiva's day of honor, others on Krishna's birthday. Again others follow the example of Mahatma Gandhi in giving up food and want to make a political statement with it. A ritualized extreme form of fasting is the so-called Prayopavesa, which means the Suicide by fasting. However, it is only reserved for people who no longer have any obligations in life.

At a glance: The most important rules in the fasting month of Ramadan

  • Eating and drinking is completely prohibited from sunrise to sunset
  • Muslims should fast, pray more and donate to charity in Ramadan.
  • Travelers, children, the elderly, the sick and pregnant women as well as breastfeeding and menstruating women are exempt from the obligation to fast.
  • People who do strenuous work do not need to fast during Ramadan.
  • Smoking is prohibited during the day.
  • Sex is also forbidden.