ramadan Questions

The 5 Rules of Ramadan that All Muslims Must know about!

Last Updated : Feb 26, 2024 @ 11:02 am

Do you know the 5 Rules of Ramadan?

About 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide celebrate Ramadan every year. It is an important sacred event in the life of a Muslim, as it marks the time when God first revealed the Qur’an to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). It is also a time for self-reflection, giving to the needy and drawing closer to Allah by abiding the various Rules of Ramadan.

During this holy month, it is also common to hear Muslims exchange greetings like Ramadan Mubarak (in Arabic means “Blessed Ramadan” or "Have a Blessed Ramadan") or Ramadan Kareem (in Arabic literally means “Generous Ramadan” or "May God be Generous to You this Ramadan"). Some even use Ramadan quotes to sent as email or text messages to one another. 

So what exactly is Ramadan?

Ramadan (or sometimes known as "Ramzan"), in Arabic, means “scorching hot”. It refers to the ninth month in the lunar Islamic Calendar. Muslims believe that in 610AD, in the last 10 days of the month of Ramadan, the Angel Jibril (translated in English as “Gabriel”) gave Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) the first verses of the sacred texts of the Qur’an while praying in a cave at Mount Hira.

The night when he was given the first verse of the Qur’an was known as “The Night of Power '' or Laylat al-Qadr in Arabic. The exact date of the Laylat al-Qadr is unclear but scholars believed it occurred on the last 3 days before “Eid ul-Fitr”. 

Did You Notice?

Muslims often address the name of the Prophet Muhammad with either “SAWS” or “PBUH”.

“SAWS” are abbreviations in Arabic - “sallallahu alayhi wa salaam” which translates as “May God’s blessings and peace be with him”.

PBUH” are abbreviations of “peace be upon him

Read More

When does Ramadan Start and End this year?

In 2022, the 30-day Ramadan Starts on Saturday 2 April and Ends on Monday 2 May 2022 with the celebration of "Eid al-Fitr", the "Feast of Breaking Fast". 

But this date may defer from country to country because of how the crescent moon is sighted in different countries.

Check out the other dates of Ramadan in the next 55 years.

rules of ramadan

What does the Qur'an say about Ramadan?

The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur'an, a guidance for mankind, and clear proofs of the guidance, and the Criterion (of right and wrong). And whosoever of you is present, let him fast the month, and whosoever of you is sick or on a journey, (let him fast the same) number of other days. Allah desireth for you ease; He desireth not hardship for you; and (He desireth) that ye should complete the period, and that ye should magnify Allah for having guided you, and that preadventure ye may be thankful.” - Surah Al-Baqarah  2:185

Hence the need for Muslims to fast during the month of Ramadan as directed by the Qur'an.

praying mulsim

The Muslim faith is built on the 5 pillars of Islam and Fasting during Ramadan is just one of the five.

So What are the 5 pillars of Islam?

  • Shahada (Declaration of Faith)
  • Salah (Prayer)
  • Zakat (Almsgiving)
  • Sawm (Fasting)
  • Hajj (Pilgrimage)

Muslims hope to achieve maximum blessings by performing as many pillars of Islam during the month of Ramadan. How does fasting help a Muslim in his/her spiritual growth?

O believers! Fasting is prescribed for you—as it was for those before you—so perhaps you will become mindful of Allah" - Surah Al-Baqarah 2:183

As the fourth pillar of Islam, Muslims believe that Sawm (30-day fasting during Ramadan) helps the individual to self-reflect on their dependence on Allah, build resilience, self-control and a reminder to help those who are suffering and in need.

OK. Let's broadly review the important Rules of Ramadan governing fasting and prayer during this Holy month.


#1 What do Muslims Do Before Sunrise during Ramadan?

  • Muslims wake up before sunrise at about 4.00am to 4.30am to consume “Suhur” (in Arabic means “pre-dawn meal”) or “Suhoor” or  “Sehri”. The Prophet Muhammad considered Suhoor as a blessing as it helps strengthen the individual and resist hunger during the day.
  • In order to help Muslims retain fluid and energy during their fast, it is recommended that Suhoor should contain high-fiber meals to sustain satiety over longer periods, fruits and vegetables to maintain electrolytes in the blood, and plenty of fluids to maintain hydration. Muslims should also limit fried foods and sugary sweets during Suhoor.
  • Following Suhoor (pre-dawn meal), Muslims will offer the “Fajr Salaah” or “Dawn prayers” just about 1.5 hours before sunrise. The timing of sunrise depends on the geographical locations and is normally determined by the sighting
  • Fajr Salaah is one of the 5 compulsory prayers offered daily by Muslims and is offered just before sunrise. The 5 prayers or “Salaah” (which is also the second pillar of Islam) are offered during the day at different timings as below:
    • Fajr (before sunrise)
    • Zuhr or Dhuhr (midday)
    • Asr (afternoon)
    • Maghrib (sunset)
    • Isha (night)
  • During the day of Ramadan, Muslims are encouraged to perform charity and good deeds which constitutes the third pillar of Islam - Zakat.

#2 Is Fasting during Ramadan Compulsory for All Muslims?

Yes. Fasting is compulsory for all medically fit adult Muslims during the month of Ramadan.

However, there are some exceptions. According to the Qur'an, the following need not fast during Ramadan :

  • Children who have not reached puberty. Signs of puberty include menstruation for girls (10-14 years) and growth of pubic hair for boys (12-16 years).
  • Elderly
  • Those with disability (mentally or physically) who are incapable of fasting
  • Pregnant ladies and breast-feeding mothers (some exceptions)
  • Long distance Travelers
  • Women who are menstruating (or bleeding following childbirth)
  • Those who are sick

In summary, the overall principle of Sawm (fasting) is that all medically fit Muslim adult is obliged to fast unless there are reasons that the fasting will cause harm to self or to an unborn child or that they are not capable of fasting physically or mentally.

#3 What will Break the Fast during Ramadan?

Fasting Muslims should observe the following rules or risk breaking their fast:

  • Abstain from food or water of any kind (external substance to be eaten into the body)
    • Chewing gum is considered breaking fast since there are content or substances found in the gum which enters the body
    • Saliva is permitted to swallow as it is produced from the body
    • Accidentally eating food and stopping the act immediately does not invalidate the fast 
  • Abstain from desire & pleasure 
    • Smoking is not permitted whether during or out of the fasting month as it harms the body. Smoking is considered as Haram meaning “forbidden by Islamic Law”
    • Sexual intercourse between married couples (permitted only after iftar (breaking of fast) until dawn, the next day)
    • Masturbation will break fast (but only if no ejaculation occurs and the person repents then the fast is valid)
    • Activities that promote bad thoughts eg watching pornography or even cursing another
    • Improper behaviour and speech is not permitted
  • Do Not perform activities that cause things entering/exiting the body like :
    • Blood transfusion (donor’s fast is invalidated)
    • Receiving needle eg with drip (with exchange of nutrients)
    • Kidney dialysis (exchange of nutrients)
    • Vomiting deliberately
    • Nose bleeding does not break fast as it occurs naturally
  • Medical or health-related reasons (as long as there is no addition of nutrients into the body) DO NOT invalidate fasting. Examples are:
    • Applying medication eg eye-drops, ear-drops, cream absorbed through the skin, tooth extraction and fillings or cleaning of the teeth so long as you avoid swallowing anything that reaches the throat and treatment of injuries do not invalidate the fast.
    • Medical tablets placed under the tongue to treat asthma attacks so long as no residue is swallowed do not invalidate the fast. 
    • Insertion of medical instruments into the vagina/womb eg speculum or IUD or the doctor’s fingers for the purpose of medical examination and diagnosis do not invalidate the fast. 
    • Medical instruments entering into the urinary tract/stomach/intestines/brain/spinal cord of a male or female, such as a catheter tube, or medical scopes, or needles or fine tubes or opaque dyes inserted for the purpose of x-rays for diagnosis, endoscopy, or a solution to wash the bladder, as long as there is no administration of solutions into the body, do not invalidate the fast. 
    • Rinsing the mouth, gargling, sprays etc. so long as nothing is swallowed through the throat, does not invalidate the fast.
    • Inhaling oxygen or anesthetic gases for medical purposes, as long as no nourishment of any kind was provided to the patient, does not invalidate the fast. 

In summary, the overall guideline for Sawm (fasting) is to abstain from desire, improper behaviour and food (anything entering or leaving the body is not allowed). Almost all medical procedures do not break fast as long as there is no administration of solutions/nourishment entering into the body.

#4 What do Muslims Do at Sunset during the Month of Ramadan?

  • Muslims break fast together as a family and consume the iftar (evening meal) just after the call to maghrib prayer, which takes place around sunset.
  • Iftar is a time to replenish individual’s energy levels, hence it is recommended that fasting Muslims to consume healthy foods during Iftar like:
    • fruits and vegetables for fiber and vitamins
    • complex carbohydrates like rice or whole grains for energy
    • meat, fish, low fat dairy and beans for proteins
  • After which just before midnight, Muslims will complete the Ishar prayers.
  • Some Muslims practiced breaking fast with dates and water, similar to how the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) broke fast during his time. 

At the end of the 30-day fast, Muslims all over will celebrate a 3-day “Eid ul-Fitr” which means “Feast of Breaking Fast”. This falls on the first day of “Shawwal which means to “lift or carry”.

During this celebration, it is customary for Muslims to donate money to charity to help the poor and needy so that they too can celebrate “Eid ul-Fitr”.

#5 How do Muslims celebrate “Eid ul-Fitr”?

Generally, it is a time for feasting as it marks the end of fasting during the month of Ramadan. No Muslim is allowed to fast during the festival of Eid ul-Fitr. Muslims would wear new clothes, offer prayers at the mosques, visit families and relatives, cook and feast. 

In Asian countries like Singapore, Muslims celebrate the festival of “Eid ul-Fitr” known as “Hari Raya Aidilfitri” in Malay, which translates as “Big day of rejoicing” or “Hari Raya Puasa” with “Hari Raya” which translates as “day of celebration” and “Puasa” meaning “fasting”.

Similar to the Chinese custom of giving red packets during Chinese New Year, Muslims in Singapore give money in green packets to the young and elderly as a form of zakat (donation for charitable causes) which is the third pillar of Islam.


Dates for Ramadan for the next 55 years

Muslims determines the start date of Ramadan based on the sighting of the new crescent moon on the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Since the new moon is not in the same state at any time globally, different countries will have different dates for Ramadan, normally within a difference of ± 1 day. 

Below is the list of calculated dates for the start and end of Ramadan for the next 55 years!

Information was compiled from https://www.al-habib.info/islamic-calendar/global-sighting.htm

Dates for Ramadan (2022 to 2077)

1442 Monday 12/04/2021 Wednesday 12/05/2021
1443 Saturday 02/04/2022 Monday 02/05/2022
1444 Wednesday 22/03/2023 Friday 21/04/2023
1445 Sunday 10/03/2024 Tuesday 09/04/2024
1446 Friday 28/02/2025 Sunday 30/03/2025
1447 Thursday 19/02/2026 Friday 20/03/2026
1448 Monday 08/02/2027 Wednesday 10/03/2027
1449 Friday 28/01/2028 Sunday 27/02/2028
1450 Tuesday 16/01/2029 Thursday 15/02/2029
1451 Saturday 05/01/2030 Monday 04/02/2030
1452 Thursday 26/12/2030 Friday 24/01/2031
1453 Tuesday 16/12/2031 Wednesday 14/01/2032
1454 Saturday 04/12/2032 Monday 03/01/2033
1455 Wednesday 23/11/2033 Friday 23/12/2033
1456 Sunday 12/11/2034 Tuesday 12/12/2034
1457 Thursday 01/11/2035 Saturday 01/12/2035
1458 Tuesday 21/10/2036 Wednesday 19/11/2036
1459 Saturday 10/10/2037 Monday 09/11/2037
1460 Thursday 30/09/2038 Friday 29/10/2038
1461 Tuesday 20/09/2039 Wednesday 19/10/2039
1462 Saturday 08/09/2040 Monday 08/10/2040
1463 Wednesday 28/08/2041 Friday 27/09/2041
1464 Sunday 17/08/2042 Tuesday 16/09/2042
1465 Thursday 06/08/2043 Saturday 05/09/2043
1466 Tuesday 26/07/2044 Wednesday 24/08/2044
1467 Sunday 16/07/2045 Monday 14/08/2045
1468 Thursday 05/07/2046 Saturday 04/08/2046
1469 Tuesday 25/06/2047 Wednesday 24/07/2047
1470 Saturday 13/06/2048 Monday 13/07/2048
1471 Wednesday 02/06/2049 Friday 02/07/2049
1472 Sunday 22/05/2050 Tuesday 21/06/2050
1473 Friday 12/05/2051 Saturday 10/06/2051
1474 Tuesday 30/04/2052 Thursday 30/05/2052
1475 Sunday 20/04/2053 Monday 19/05/2053
1476 Thursday 09/04/2054 Saturday 09/05/2054
1477 Tuesday 30/03/2055 Wednesday 28/04/2055
1478 Saturday 18/03/2056 Sunday 16/04/2056
1479 Wednesday 07/03/2057 Thursday 05/04/2057
1480 Sunday 24/02/2058 Tuesday 26/03/2058
1481 Friday 14/02/2059 Saturday 15/03/2059
1482 Tuesday 03/02/2060 Thursday 04/03/2060
1483 Sunday 23/01/2061 Monday 21/02/2061
1484 Thursday 12/01/2062 Saturday 11/02/2062
1485 Monday 01/01/2063 Wednesday 31/01/2063
1486 Friday 21/12/2063 Sunday 20/01/2064
1487 Tuesday 09/12/2064 Thursday 08/01/2065
1488 Sunday 29/11/2065 Tuesday 29/12/2065
1489 Friday 19/11/2066 Saturday 18/12/2066
1490 Tuesday 08/11/2067 Thursday 08/12/2067
1491 Sunday 28/10/2068 Monday 26/11/2068
1492 Thursday 17/10/2069 Friday 15/11/2069
1493 Monday 06/10/2070 Tuesday 04/11/2070
1494 Friday 25/09/2071 Saturday 24/10/2071
1495 Wednesday 14/09/2072 Thursday 13/10/2072
1496 Sunday 03/09/2073 Tuesday 03/10/2073
1497 Friday 24/08/2074 Saturday 22/09/2074
1498 Tuesday 13/08/2075 Thursday 12/09/2075
1499 Saturday 01/08/2076 Monday 31/08/2076
1500 Wednesday 21/07/2077 Friday 20/08/2077

AH (Latin: Anno Hegirae) - "in the year of the Hijrah (Islamic Calendar)"

Note:  start dates are subject to the sighting of the crescent moon.

OK. That's all we have today.

So What are your BEST moments of Ramadan? Let me know in the comments below.

Have a Blessed Ramadan!!


Common Questions relating to the Rules of Ramadan

Q1. Can I eat chewing gum during Ramadan?

A1. Chewing gum contains nutrients and sugar, hence is not permitted to be chewed during fasting unless you do not swallow the saliva when it is mixed with the gum. You may chew gum during Suhoor (pre-dawn meal) or after Iftar (sunset meal).

Q2. Can I eat meat during Ramadan?

A2. Yes. Meat that is halal can be consumed only outside of the fasting hours ie before sunrise and after sunset. Muslims are encouraged to consume meat which provides proteins to keep your body healthy.

Q3. Can I drink alcohol and smoke during Ramadan?

A3. Both drinking alcohol and smoking (in any form) are considered as haram (prohibited) as they are harmful to the body. More so, you cannot even smoke during fasting because inhaled smoke contains particles that enter into your stomach.

“... And do not kill yourselves [or one another]. Indeed, Allah is to you ever Merciful." - Quran 4:29

Q4. When is the start and end of Ramadan?

A4. Ramadan starts on the sighting of the crescent moon on the ninth month of the Hijri (Islamic calendar). Ramadan ends on the next sighting of the crescent moon which marks the first day of the tenth month called Shawwal, where Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr ("the festival of Breaking of Fast") to mark the end of the 30 day fast.

Make sure you check out the dates of Ramadan for the next 55 years!

Q5. What is the difference between Ramadan and Ramzan?

A5. The word "Ramadan" has its roots in Arabic and is commonly used by most Muslims. "Ramzan" has its roots in Parsee (Persian) and is commonly used by Muslim in countries that do not use Arabic, like Pakistan and India.

Both "Ramadan" and "Ramzan" refer to the same ninth month of the Islamic Calendar.

Q6. Why do Muslims have to fast during Ramadan?

A6. The Qur'an directed all Muslims to fast during Ramadan. Fasting helps Muslims in the following :

  • self-reflection on the dependence on Allah
  • builds self-control and resilience
  • with prayer, brings one closer to Allah
  • appreciate what you have and a reminder to help those worse off and in need

Q7. When is Eid al-Fitr?

A7. "Eid al-Fitr" is the "Festival of Breaking Fast" and marks the end of the 30-day fast and the beginning of Shawwal, the tenth month of the Islamic calendar. The date is determined by the sighting of the crescent moon. Make sure you check out the end dates of Ramadan which is the date of Eid al-Fitr.

Q8. When are the dates for Ramadan? (most requested)

2023 - Wednesday 22 March 2023

2025 - Friday 28 February 2025

2026 - Thursday 19 February 2026

Note : 2030 will see two days of Ramadan.

2030 - Saturday 5 January 2030 (AH 1451)

2030 - Thursday 26 December 2030 (AH1452)

2032 - Saturday 4 December 2032

Make sure you check out the Dates for Ramadan!

Q9. Can I kiss and swallow my wife's saliva during Ramadan?

A9. You may kiss your wife on the lips during Ramadan. However, as in the general guidelines, you cannot swallow any liquids into the body. In most cases, a simple kiss only offers wetness to the lips/mouth. So you cannot swallow your wife's saliva or any other liquid.

Q10. Can I have sexual intercourse during Ramadan?

A10. Yes but only if it meets the following two conditions:

  • Sexual intercourse can only be performed out of fasting hours (after sunset and before sunrise)
  • You must be legally married to the person you are having sex with. Sex outside marriage is Haram (forbidden). Both parties would have committed zina (immorality which includes illegal sexual intercourse) if they are not legally married.

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