Doing any of those things "invalidates" your fast for the day, and you just start over the next day. To make up for days you didn't fast, you can either fast later in the year either all at once or a day here and there or provide a meal to a needy person for each day you missed. Muslims are also supposed to try to curb negative thoughts and emotions like jealousy and anger, and even lesser things like swearing, complaining, and gossiping, during the month.
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Some people may also choose to give up or limit activities like listening to music and watching television, often in favor of listening to recitations of the Quran. During Ramadan, Muslims wake up well before dawn to eat the first meal of the day, which has to last until sunset.
This means eating lots of high-protein foods and drinking as much water as possible right up until dawn, after which you can't eat or drink anything. At dawn, we perform the morning prayer. Since it's usually still pretty early, many go back to sleep for a bit before waking up again to get ready for the day I certainly do. Muslims are not supposed to avoid work or school or any other normal duties during the day just because we are fasting.
In many Muslim countries, however, businesses and schools may reduce their hours during the day or close entirely. For the most part, though, Muslims go about their daily business as we normally would, despite not being able to eat or drink anything the whole day. When the evening call to prayer is finally made or when the alarm on your phone's Muslim prayer app goes off , we break the day's fast with a light meal — really more of a snack — called an iftar literally "breakfast" , before performing the evening prayer.
Many also go to the mosque for the evening prayer, followed by a special prayer that is only recited during Ramadan. This is usually followed by a larger meal a bit later in the evening, which is often shared with family and friends in one another's homes throughout the month. Then it's off to bed for a few hours of sleep before it's time to wake up and start all over again.
Note: There are good reasons for only having a small snack to break your fast before performing the evening prayer and then eating a bigger meal later. Muslim prayers involve a lot of movement — bending over, prostrating on the ground, standing up, etc. Doing all that physical activity on a full stomach after not having eaten for 15 hours is a recipe for disaster. Just trust me on this one. Some of you may be thinking, "Wow, that sounds like a great way to lose weight! I'm going to try it!
That's because eating large meals super early in the morning and late at night with a long period of low activity bordering on lethargy in between can wreak havoc on your metabolism. But if you're careful, you can avoid putting on weight, and you may actually lose a few pounds. One meta-analysis of scientific studies on the effects of Ramadan fasting on body weight found that "[w]eight changes during Ramadan were relatively small and mostly reversed after Ramadan, gradually returning to pre-Ramadan status.
Ramadan provides an opportunity to lose weight, but structured and consistent lifestyle modifications are necessary to achieve lasting weight loss. So just like with any other extreme diet plan, you may lose a few pounds, but unless you actually make "structured and consistent lifestyle modifications," you're probably not going to see major, lasting results.
For religious matters, Muslims follow a lunar calendar — that is, one based on the phases of the moon — whose 12 months add up to approximately days. That's 11 days shorter than the days of the standard Gregorian calendar. Therefore, the Islamic lunar calendar moves backward approximately 11 days each year in relation to the regular Gregorian calendar. So that means that the first day of the month of Ramadan, which is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, moves backward by about 11 days each year.
This has a large impact on how people experience Ramadan from year to year. When Ramadan falls in the winter, it's much easier to fast: the days are shorter, which means you don't have to fast as long, and it's colder out, so not being able to drink water all day isn't as big of a deal because you're not sweating as much. Conversely, when Ramadan falls in the summer, fasting can be brutal.
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In many Muslim countries in the Middle East and Africa, summer temperatures can reach levels usually reserved for the deepest bowels of hell. And in some Northern European countries such as Iceland, Norway, and Sweden where, yes, there are Muslims , fasting can last an average of 20 hours or more in the summer. And in a few places above the Arctic Circle, the sun never actually sets in the summer.
In these cases, Muslim religious authorities have decreed that Muslims can either fast along with the closest Muslim country or fast along with Mecca, Saudi Arabia. There's a reason "Ramadan start date" is one of the most-searched phrases every single year. That's because Muslims around the world do not know when exactly Ramadan is actually supposed to start.
If you Google it, you'll see there's a little disclaimer under Google's answer that says "Dates may vary":. That also has to do with the moon — as well as disagreements about science, history, and tradition, plus a bit of geopolitical rivalry. General Knowledge of the Quran and Islam!
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