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What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is the name of the ninth month in the Islamic lunar calendar. The original meaning of the word Ramadan is "scorching heat". Muslims abstain from any eating or drinking during all of the daylight hours. The precise start date each year is confirmed in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by the sighting of the new moon.

How long do Muslims abstain from eating and drinking?

Muslims abstain from the break of dawn until sunset throughout each day for the entire month. From sunset until the break of dawn of the following day, Muslims can eat and drink.

Why do Muslims go through the hardship of fasting?

Muslims do not see the month as one of hardship, but as one of opportunity. Ramadan provides an opportunity to connect to one’s creator; to feel the hunger pains of the less fortunate who do not have the means to eat on a regular basis; to reconsider one’s priorities; to practice discipline and to cleanse one’s body of impurities; to draw closer to both family and one’s community.

Do children, sick and old people need to fast?

A major condition for fasting is reaching puberty, being healthy and sane. Therefore, children who have not reached puberty and sick people are exempted from fasting. The same goes for the elderly who cannot cope with the rigors of fasting. However, those who are temporarily sick must refast for the days that they may have missed after Ramadan.

Who is exempt from fasting?

Women who are having their menstrual period or who are experiencing post-partum bleeding should refrain from fasting as it could be harmful to them. People who are traveling may also break their fast if they feel that keeping it would harm them. In addition, if pregnant or nursing women feel that fasting can harm them or their infants, they can break their fast. However, all the cases mentioned above must re-fast for the days that they may have missed after Ramadan.

How can non-Muslim co-workers help their fasting colleagues?

They can refrain from eating, drinking or smoking in public during the day. They can dress conservatively and speak softly. When they are at the gym, they should discreetly drink their water. They should put away coffee cups, water bottles, etc., to avoid bringing forth the thirst and hunger to fasting Muslims.

What else should we know about Ramadan?

Here in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, life changes over the course of one month, not only for the Muslims but also for the non-Muslims. Working hours and the pace of living changes. Attention is refocused and yes, the energy levels of Muslim colleagues may begin to flag as the month progresses.

Is there a certain greeting for Ramadan?

The traditional greeting during the Holy Month of Ramadan is “Ramadan Mubarak” or “Ramadan Kareem”, which means have a Blessed or Generous Ramadan.

What’s Eid al-Fitr?

The name Eid al-Fitr means “feast of the fastbreaking”. It takes place on the first day of the month that follows Ramadan. The traditional greetings are “Eid Mubarak” or “Eidkum Mubarak”, which means “have a blessed Eid day”.