What is Ramadan, the holy month of Islam, how long does it last and what can and cannot be done?

(CNN Spanish) — Muslims celebrate Ramadan as the month in which the Prophet Muhammad received the first revelations that form the Quran, Islam’s holy scripture.

It is the ninth month of the Muslim year, the beginning of which is determined by observing the new moon (although the exact date often depends on each country’s clerics). In 2024 it will begin at sunset this Sunday, March 10, and end on April 9.

Ramadan is a holy month of fasting during which Muslims cannot eat or drink during daylight hours. Devotees abstain from all food or drink, including water, and sexual relations from morning to evening.

They are encouraged to eat before sunrise and break their fast immediately after sunset.

Traditionally, the fast is broken by eating dates and drinking water.

The end of Ramadan, called Eid al-Fitr, is a day of celebration.

(During that day, Muslims gather in large open spaces or mosques to perform a special prayer called Salat al-Eid, usually followed by a small breakfast, their first day of fasting in a month.) There is a meal. Gifts are often exchanged and it is also customary to give alms. Another tradition is to wear new clothes on the day, which symbolizes spiritual renewal).

fundamental pillars of islam

Fasting in Ramadan is one of the five pillars or basic institutions of Islam:

1. Shahdah: Claim that there is no deity except God and that Muhammad is his messenger.

2. salat: Pray five times a day.

3. Zakat: donate.

4. som: Keeping fast in the month of Ramzan.

5. Hajj: Make a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in your life.

What to do and what not to do if you are not a Muslim?

The beginning of Ramadan usually brings with it the question of what is right and what is not right to do for those who do not believe in Islam, but live, work or just spend time with those who celebrate this holy month. Let’s share. Here are some tips to keep in mind, according to CNN’s Saeed Ahmed.

Yes, you can eat in front of those fasting

For the next 30 days, Muslims around the world will abstain from eating and drinking during the day. This does not mean that you should not continue as before.

you can attend iftar

Iftar is the breaking of the fast after sunset. Ahmed writes, “We love this one big community meal. You should come.”

Be flexible with dates

The way you determine when Ramadan starts is admittedly the old fashioned way: you have to physically look at the moon (even though apps exist for that). So if your coworker says, “Starting tomorrow, can I start work early so I can leave earlier?” Try to adjust.

You can say “Ramadan Mubarak”

It means “Happy Ramadan.” Your Muslim colleague will appreciate it.

With reporting from Doug Criss, Saeed Ahmed and the CNN investigative team.

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