Ramadan Duration: When Does Ramadan Last?
When does Ramadan start and end?
Ramadan is one of the one of the biggest and most captivating events that happen around the world.
It is an event that requires Muslims to fast for a full month – from dawn to sunset.
Ramadan is a unique observation that involves fasting, consistent prayer, reflection, and purification, and for this quality, it earned huge respect for the Muslim communities.
As we all know another month of Ramadan is coming, Ramadan 2024 is fast approaching and one the raging questions that have surfaced online in recent days is when Ramadan will commence, how long it will last, and when it will end.
In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss everything you need to know concerning Ramadan, as well as when it will start, how it is observed, and when it is expected to end.
- Ramadan is a Holy month for Muslims to reflect their devotion and believe in God through fasting, prayer, purification, and giving alms to the needy.
- Ramadan is observed every ninth month of the lunar calendar (Hijri).
- The exact start and end date of Ramadan are not fixed as they are based on the sighting of the moon.
Traditions of Ramadan: What is Ramadan All About?
Ramadan, which can also be regarded as a holy month of fasting (sawm) is observed in every ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar and it requires the Muslims to fast from dawn till dusk.
This holy month also involves other activities which include intense prayer, purification, giving alms (zakat), and more. Some of the other traditions include the exemption of children below the puberty age, ill people, pregnant/menstruating women, travelers, and elderly people who do not have the strength to indulge in fasting.
Ramadan begins with a meal that will be consumed at pre-dawn, this meal is called suhoor. After this meal, neither eating nor drinking is allowed till dusk/sunset (iftar). Muslims who are fasting have to abstain from food and drink during the hours between suhoor and iftar. At the end of the month of fasting, Eid al-Fitr follows – a celebration to mark the end of Ramadan.
The Islamic Lunar Calendar
What is the Islamic lunar calendar?…. Unlike the Gregorian calendar, which is widely used around the world, the Islamic calendar, known as the Hijri calendar, is based on lunar months. In the usual Gregorian calendar which has months with 30 days, 31 days, and 28 -29 days for February, if you can vividly remember the Thirty Days Hath September poem. The month of the lunar calendar is approximately 29.5 days long.
This makes the Islamic year shorter than the Gregorian year by about 10 to 12 days. So instead of the regular 365/366 days of the Gregorian calendar, the lunar year may end at either 354 or 355. Let’s not bore ourselves trying to understand things surrounding Ramadan, let us get down to the real deal!
When Does Ramadan 2024 Start?
As the Islamic calendar is based around the lunar cycle, the Holy month of Ramadan rotates by approximately ten days each year. Ramadan officially begins when the month of Shaban, the eighth month of the Islamic (Hijri) calendar, ends. This in the light means that Ramadan is observed at the beginning of the month of Shawwal which will be four months to this time.
The 2024 Ramadan is speculated to begin in the evening of Saturday, 9th of March 2024, since the 2023 Ramadan was observed March 22, 2023, and ended on Thursday, April 20, 2023.
Why is Ramadan Based on Moon Sighting
This is where it gets really interesting, the Ramadan commence date is not just announced regarding a fixed date. Its exact timing is based on the sighting of the moon, also known as the “hilal”. Many of us are familiar with this aspect, whereby we wait for news on moon sightings for Ramadan to commence.
A quick throwback to the Stone Age where there is neither technology nor a calendar to know exactly when the month begins and when it ends. The moon was the perfect guide of knowledge in knowing when a new month begins and when it ends.
As many of us know Islam implies maintaining ancient practices and traditions, the use of the moon to determine Ramadan is therefore made important and permanent. The crescent moon holds a huge religious significance in Islam.
When Will Ramadan 2024 End?
After the observation of the month of Ramadan, the Eid al-Fitr celebration follows. Eid al-Fitr is the second day that follows the last day of Ramadan fasting, and its purpose is to mark the success of the end of the month of Ramadan. Ramadan 2024 is speculated to end on Monday, the 8th of April 2024, following the sighting of the moon to be sure the month is fully committed without omission.
The Hilal Controversy
It’s crucial to know that there are times when the Muslim community disputes the veracity of hilal sightings. To establish when Ramadan begins, some people may rely on observations in the area, while others may use astronomical calculations. As a result, the beginning and ending dates of Ramadan may differ slightly depending on the location. Most importantly, all Muslims worldwide are to begin and end Ramadan on the same day, so keeping up with trusted Islamic news channels can be helpful.
In conclusion, the duration of Ramadan is determined by the sighting of the hilal, which marks the beginning of the month. It typically lasts for either 29 or 30 days, depending on when the new moon is sighted. As a result of the lunar calendar’s ever-changing nature, the start and end dates of Ramadan vary each year, adding an element of anticipation and surprise to this sacred and spiritually enriching month.