Ramaḍān, in Islam, is the ninth month of the Muslim calendar and the holy month of fasting. It begins and ends with the appearance of the crescent moon.
The month of Ramadan comes 10 days before the English calendar. As per the Islamic beliefs, God forgives the past sins of the devotees who prays and fasts with faithful intentions.
This year Ramadan is expected to begin from the evening of Monday, April 12, and will conclude on Tuesday, May 11. Eid al-Fitr will take place on Thursday, May 13, 2021.
Ramadan was the time when the Qur’an was revealed to the prophet Muhammad.
To celebrate the revelation of the holy scriptures, fasting is compulsory for all adult Muslims – except in special circumstances – on every day of this holy month.
Fasting is undertaken from early morning to sunset each day.
So, here are the rules of Ramadan. What can you and can not do?
The 22 Rules of Ramadan 2021: Do’s and Dont’s for Muslims during the holy month
1. What fasting means
Fasting means no food or drink and also abstaining from bad habits and sins such as smoking, swearing, gossiping, arguing, fighting, or being disrespectful, cruel, or selfish.
2. When to eat in Ramadan?
Fasting runs each day between a pre-dawn meal (known as suhoor) and a meal after sunset (iftar).
3. Who fasts during Ramadan?
All male and female adults (meaning anyone who has undergone puberty) must take part in fasting.
4. Exceptions during Ramadan
There are exceptions. Anyone who is ill or traveling during Ramadan and who doesn’t take part in the fasting must make up the days of fasting later.
Women who are pregnant, menstruating, or breastfeeding don’t have to fast. If you begin your period during Ramadan fasting, the fast is broken and you must make up for it later.
6. Elderly or ill
The elderly and chronically ill (including diabetics) are exempt from fasting, along with the severely mentally ill. Doctors can give advice on whether you are fit and well enough to fast.
7. What happens instead
Those with permanent health conditions instead help the poor to compensate for not fasting.
8. Making it up (Fidyah)
When someone cannot fast in Ramadan and can’t make up the lost days afterward (for example, due to being elderly or because of ill health, women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or menstruating), then they should pay for someone else to be fed. This is known as fidyah.
9. Atonement (Kaffarah)
Kaffarah (meaning ‘penance’) is the compensation you should pay if you deliberately miss or break a fast in the month of Ramadan without a valid reason.
To atone for the missed/intentionally broken fast, a person must fast continuously for 60 days.
10. Forgetting to fast
The fasting is still valid if it’s unintentionally broken when someone eats or drinks in a moment of forgetfulness, or if they are coerced into doing so.
11. Vomiting during Ramadan
The fast is broken if you make yourself vomit deliberately, but not if it’s done suddenly or involuntarily. Do not swallow the vomit or that will definitely break the fast.
If you have sex during the fast, then you have broken the fast and must perform kaffarah (see no 9 above).
Prepubescent children are not required to fast but some of them do it for some days, or parts of days, to train themselves in readiness for Ramadan as an adult.
14. Brushing teeth during the holy month
You can brush your teeth and rinse your mouth but it’s not permitted to swallow any water, or you would invalidate the fast.
It’s also fine to swim, bathe or shower – again, as long as you don’t swallow any water.
If you need injections for medical reasons, it’s perfectly acceptable to continue these and the fast will not be broken.
Accidentally swallowing food or dust (such as airborne particles of sieved flour) or your own saliva will NOT invalidate the fast. You can also deliberately taste food, for instance, if checking the seasoning when preparing a meal for the iftar later, as long as you don’t swallow the food.
You must not be in a state of janaba. This is an Islamic term meaning impurity after sex, ejaculation or the completion of the menstrual cycle. A person in this state must wash so that they can become ritually pure and take part in Ramadan fasting and prayers the following day. The full-body cleansing ritual they must undertake is known as ghusl.
Eyeliner and eye drops are allowed, and drops MUST be continued if someone is suffering glaucoma. The advice is to use drops before and after the fasting and use a technique to stop the fluid from draining down into the throat.
20. Donate and reach out to those in need
Reach out to those in need as Ramadan encourages compassion and brotherhood. Offer Zakat (a percentage of your wealth) to charitable causes. This is also one of the Five Pillars of Islam.
21. Offer prayers five times a day
Prayers must be observed five times a day. During Ramadan, a day starts with Fajr (during dawn), followed by Zhuhr (midday), Asr (afternoon), Maghrib (evening), and concludes with the Isha (night).
22. Do recite the Quran
Muslims are expected to read the Holy Quran (Holy books of the Muslims) during the month of Ramadan. As stated above, Allah’s (God) teachings came from heaven to the earth in the form of the Quran and were first revealed to Prophet Muhammed during this month.