This month sees the start of Ramadan - fasting month for Muslims

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam and marks the month that the Quran (muslim holy book) was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammed. For many Muslims it means a month of fasting from sunrise to sunset, forgoing food and water, smoking and sexual activity during daylight. When fasting, Muslims will have one meal before sunrise, called 'suhoor', and share another meal with friends and family after sunset, called 'iftar'.

Why do Muslims fast?

​Ramadan is a period of reflection, patience, self-restraint and generosity that is intended to bring Muslims closer to God.

Fasting during Ramadan is required for all Muslims from when they reach puberty, generally between the ages of 12 and 14, though some families start their children fasting at the age of 10. Those exempt from fasting are those who are too ill to fast, the elderly, those suffering from a mental illness, those who are travelling, and women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or menstruating. People who would normally be able to fast but have been unable to due to travelling long distances or being ill are required to complete their fast at a later date.

When is Ramadan?

Ramadan started on the 17 May this year and lasts until 14 or 15th June this year. The start of the month of fasting will be determined by the sighting of the new moon.

Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, which is based on a lunar calendar where each month begins at the start of a new moon. As lunar months are shorter than solar months it means the Islamic calendar does not correspond with the Gregorian calendar followed in the West. It means Ramadan occurs around 11 days earlier each year.

The start of Ramadan also varies from country to country by about a day, depending on when the new moon is sighted.  

Ramadan and Sport

Sporting Equals have produced a guidance factsheet for people who are engaged in fasting and service providers in relation to sport and phyical activity during Ramadan, the resource can be downloaded through the following link; Ramadan Factsheet