The sacred month of Ramadan is just around the corner and Muslims across the world are gearing up to practice self-restraint as they observe 30 days of fast from dawn to dusk. With the month of spiritual reflection and increased devotion and worship almost here, make sure you have the obligatory rules of fasting sorted.

When is Ramadan 2019?

According to the reports by astronomers at the International Astronomical Center (IAC), the fasting is likely to begin from May 6, 2019. While the final announcement will be made by the moon sighting committee, the director of the IAC, Mohammad Shaukat, has reportedly conveyed that the moon will be sighted on May 5 in all likelihood, in the East and South-East of India, southern Europe and the Arab nations.

Given this prediction, the crescent moon will reportedly be sighted on May 5 around 2.46 am (UAE) which means that the first fast will be observed on May 6. The moon sighting committees in India and Saudi Arabia will also declare the last day of fasting, that is the day of Eid, in the same manner on the 28th or 29th evening of fasting after the crescent moon is sighted post the Maghrib prayer.

What are the rules of fasting in Ramadan?

Apart from offering the five daily prayers at the time of Fajr (dawn), Dhuhr (noon), Asr (afternoon), Maghrib (evening), and Isha (night), the rozedaars (or as the people who keep fasts are called) should not eat or drink anything intentionally and abstain from smoking or else the fast will become invalid. However, consumption of any food item due to forgetfullness or by mistake will not have any negative effect on one’s fast. In such a case, the fast will remain valid.

Giving alms to the needy or Zakat (as the charity obligatory in Islam is called) is a must during the holy month. The amount to be given out in Zakat is a fixed percentage of one’s savings that is required to be given to the poor. Sadaqah or voluntary charity is the amount rozedaars give above and beyond what is required from the obligation of zakat.

Physical intimacy like indulging in sex is not allowed during Ramzan as Muslims are supposed to channel their spirituality as they seek forgiveness while letting go of the worldly pleasures during these 29 or 30 days when they observe fast with their family and friends.

During their menstrual cycle or post-childbirth bleeding, a woman is not obliged to observe fast. However, the missed fasts need to be compensated later. Same applies for those chronically ill, pregnant, breastfeeding, or diabetic.

For the old and sick, whose health defies performing the obligatory rituals of fasting should compensate by performing Fidiya which is done by feeding a poor person on every day of Ramadan or every day of missing one’s fast.

Refraining from false speech, insulting, cursing, lying and fighting is also observed so as to not negate the reward of fasting.