The holy month of Ramadan is upon us and Muslims throughout the world are preparing for a month of fasting.
For a full month, no food or drink can be consumed between sunrise and sunset while many Muslims also look to give up bad habits such as smoking and swearing.
The event is celebrated throughout the ninth month of the Islamic Calendar as a commemoration of Muhammad's first revelation, when the prophet was visited by an angel who revealed what would become the Qur’an.
Fasting also makes one of the five pillars of Islam along with faith, prayer, charity and the pilgrimage to the Kaaba in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
Fasting this year begins on April 2 and will end on May 1.
The end of the fasting period is marked with Eid al-Fitr – the breaking of the fast – and it is used as a celebration, a chance to offer time and money to charity, time to gather with friends and family as well as community prayer. This can last up to five days.
Why do the dates of Ramadan change every year?
Unlike the Gregorian calendar which is used by the majority of the world in everyday life, the Islamic calendar is based on cycles of the moon, with the ninth month starting when the new moon first appears in the night sky.
Why do Muslims fast during Ramadan?
The fast throughout the day is used as a way to show thanks to God and give an opportunity to reflect on the teachings of the Qur'an.
How can I support my friends and colleagues during Ramadan?
There are numerous things which can be done to support those fasting for Ramadan, with one of the top considerations for those working with colleagues being to schedule meetings for the mornings. This way workers are still likely to have energy from their meal before sunrise.
As is expected, further tips include to not taunt those who are fasting with food, and simply continue with regular eating patterns as you usually would.