Ramadan Quick Facts - GB

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2024 Date10 March 2024
2025 Date1 March 2025

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Ramadan History

Ramadan is a holy month for Muslims worldwide which involves fasting, prayer, reflection and community. It is one of the Five Pillars of Islam and is considered a time of spiritual purification and progress. During Ramadan, from dawn to sunset, Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, smoking, and engaging in sexual relations. The fast is broken each day with the evening meal known as Iftar, typically started with dates and water or fruit juice followed by a traditional meal. The day begins again with a pre-dawn meal, Suhoor.

Historically, Ramadan marks the month in which the Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad. In terms of importance to British Muslims, it means adhering to the same practices of fasting and prayer, even in a non-Muslim majority country. It’s a time for compassion and generosity; many Muslims in the UK increase their charitable giving during this month. This aspect is particularly emphasized amidst the diverse cultural and socio-economic contexts existing in the UK, including supporting the local communities and the less fortunate.

In the United Kingdom, Ramadan is observed through community Iftars, prayer in mosques and homes, and many also engage in increased reading of the Quran. Community centres often accommodate large community Iftars, particularly for those who may be fasting alone. The timings for Ramadan in the UK are dictated by the lunar calendar and thus change each year. Due to the geographical location of the UK, fasting hours can vary greatly, with up to 18 hours of fast in the summer months when Ramadan coincides with longer daylight hours. The beginning and end of Ramadan are officially confirmed by sightings of the moon, which are then disseminated through mosques and Islamic groups across the country.

Facts & quotes about Ramadan

  • According to Islamic tradition, menstruating women, women who are experiencing bleeding after giving birth, people who are sick (either with short term or long term illnesses), and travelers are exempt from fasting. Pregnant women also have the option of skipping fasts.
  • According to Sunnah belief, the Prophet Muhammad once said, There is no conceit in fasting.
  • O who believe, fasting is decreed for you as it was decreed for those before you; perchance you will guard yourselves (Quran, 2:183)
  • In London, the largest gatherings for the nightly Taraweeh prayers are held at the East London Mosque, which accommodates more than 7,000 worshipers each night.
  • Due to the UK's geographic location, the duration of fasting times can vary greatly. In the summer, it can be up to 18 hours or more, from dawn until sunset.

Top things to do in the UK for Ramadan

  • The fast is usually broken in a family setting, where traditional foods are served. Most Muslims begin their meal with a few dates and a glass of milk because the Prophet Muhammad used to do the same. The high sugar content of the dates sends energy to weary fasting Muslim, while the fiber in the dates and the protein in the milk fills them up and prevents nausea.
  • During Ramadan, Muslims congregate every night in the mosque to pray Taraweeh prayers in congregation. In the United States, in between sets of prayers, the Imam gives a brief sermon and encourages people to give to charity.
  • Visit Bradford: Comprising a significant Muslim population, Bradford has an extensive Ramadan Bazaar with a variety of food items. Exploring the local mosque, particularly the Bradford Grand Mosque is a must.
  • Read a book to learn more about Ramadan in United Kingdom:
    Ramadan and Id-ul-Fitr - by Khadijah Knight
    Celebrate Ramadan - by Deborah Heiligman
    Understanding Ramadan: A Guide for Non-Muslims - by Terence P. Noble

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