We're just a few weeks away and the question on everyone's lips is: when does Ramadan start?
This year, Ramadan will begin on Saturday 27th May and continue for 30 days until Sunday 25th June.*
As the ninth month of the Islamic lunar based calendar, Ramadan begins with the sighting of a new moon. The advantage of the lunar based calendar is that everyone can easily observe the coming of the months. Once the new moon has been sighted, the lunar month will be either 29 days or 30 days depending on the angle and the height at which the new moon is sighted. Allah tells us in the Holy Qur'an:
'They ask you about the new moons. Say: these are signs to mark fixed periods of time for mankind and for the pilgrimage.' (2:189)
Within the Islamic calendar, Ramadan is the holiest month in which many Muslims (except children, the sick and the elderly) abstain from food, drink, and certain other activities during daylight hours as directed by Allah (swt):
'The month of Ramadan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur'an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey - then an equal number of other days. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful.' (Qur'an 2:185)
In relation to the Gregorian solar calendar, which differs from the Islamic lunar calendar, Ramadan moves approximately 11 days every year. Dates also vary between difference countries depending on whether the moon has been sighted or not.
When does Ramadan end?
Ramadan ends when the first crescent of the new moon is sighted again, marking the new lunar month’s start. The end of Ramadan is then marked with the celebration of Eid-al-Fitr when we give thanks to Allah (swt), we celebrate having fasted the holy month and we also give charity to the poor and needy.
The Muslim Hands team would like to wish everyone a happy, healthy blessed Ramadan 2017. May Allah accept all of our fasts, dua's and sadaqah, ameen. Ramadan Kareem!
*Please note: these dates are provisional and are subject to change.