More than 14 centuries of fasting, prayer and charity in the holy month of Ramadan. This year 1445 of the Hegira, 2024 AD, Muslims around the world are celebrating as a family and congratulating each other with Ramadan Mubarak

Ramadan: the unbreakable commitment of the Islamic world

Un artesano palestino fabrica los tradicionales faroles “fanous” mientras los devotos musulmanes se preparan para el comienzo del mes sagrado de ayuno del Ramadán, en la ciudad de Rafah, en el sur de la Franja de Gaza, el 6 de marzo de 2024 - PHOTO/SAID KHATIB/AFP
A Palestinian craftsman makes traditional "fanous" lanterns as devout Muslims prepare for the start of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah, 6 March 2024 - PHOTO/SAID KHATIB/AFP

Every year, Muslims around the world renew their wonderful commitment to Ramadan, the famous month of fasting (sawm) and spirituality. It is an annual event that calls for self-reflection, self-restraint, closeness to Allah and the most rewarding charity. 

  1. Ramadan tour around the world: fasting hours
  2. Ramadan, a month of love and solidarity
  3. Ramadan and The Quran
  4. The medicinal miracles of fasting and knowing how to break it
  5. Laylat al-Qadr, the night of destiny and power
  6. 11 Curiosities about Ramadan in Morocco

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, during which Muslims not only refrain from eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset, but also avoid lying, gossiping, fighting and other vices. Sexual intercourse is permitted on the nights of Ramadan, but forbidden throughout the fasting day. 

Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam. From the beginning of the month until the end, the gates of Paradise are opened, the gates of Hell are closed and the demons are driven away, according to Islamic culture.

The month of fasting begins the day after the crescent moon is sighted. This requires a lot of attention when there is mist or clouds. Ramadan 2024 will officially begin on Monday 11 March and end on 10 April. 

Like the lunar months, Ramadan lasts between 29 and 30 days. The end of the month is announced when the next new moon of Chawal is sighted. The fasting month culminates in a feast of Eid al-Fitr, three days of parades, gifts and charitable actions.

Un vendedor de dátiles espera a los clientes en un mercado del céntrico barrio de Sayyida Zeinab, en El Cairo, el 6 de marzo de 2024, antes del mes sagrado de ayuno del Ramadán – PHOTO/Khaled DESOUKI/AFP
A date vendor waits for customers at a market in Cairo's central Sayyida Zeinab neighbourhood on 6 March 2024 ahead of the holy fasting month of Ramadan - PHOTO/Khaled DESOUKI/AFP

Ramadan tour around the world: fasting hours

In Ramadan 2024, the daily fasting hours differ from country to country. The city of Puerto Montt in Chile will record the shortest day period of 12 hours and 44 minutes this year, while Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, will have the longest fasting duration with an average of 17 hours and 26 minutes.  

Kampala in Uganda will average 13 hours and 17 minutes, while in Nur-Sultan, the capital of Kazakhstan, it is 15 hours and 33 minutes. Moroni in the Comoros will experience an average fast of 13 hours and 4 minutes, while in Rabat people will fast about 14 hours and 23 minutes. 

Muslims will fast 14h37m in Madrid, 14h33m in Paris, 15h36m in London, 15h07m in Zurich, 14h43m in Ankara, 14h42m in Rome, 14h39m in Ottawa, 17h25m in Reykjavik, 17h09m Helsinki, 16h00m in Glasgow, and 14h52m in Sarajevo. 

“Feliz Ramadán” está escrito en un cartel que cuelga sobre una zona peatonal de Fráncfort, para conmemorar el próximo Ramadán – PHOTO/BORIS ROESSLER/DPA/dpa Picture-Alliance vía AFP
"Happy Ramadan" is written on a sign hanging above a pedestrian zone in Frankfurt to mark the upcoming Ramadan - PHOTO/BORIS ROESSLER/DPA/dpa Picture-Alliance via AFP

Ramadan, a month of love and solidarity

Ramadan reflects love, worship with its different manifestations. Ramadan is the month that reflects the essence of Islam, which consists of loving Allah, loving oneself and loving others. A love whose fruit is affection, compassion and solidarity. 

It is a celebration of faith that translates into tolerance and reconciliation and the strengthening of social relations, family ties and friendships. During this month, Muslims experience an atmosphere of harmony, peace, love, affection and mercy.  

The month of Ramadan is an occasion to do charitable deeds and help the less fortunate. It is the month that begins with mercy and ends with generosity.

Un grupo de personas compra verduras en el mercado central antes del mes sagrado de ayuno del Ramadán, en Túnez, el 6 de marzo de 2024 – PHOTO/FETHI BELAID/AFP
People shop for vegetables at the central market ahead of the holy fasting month of Ramadan in Tunis, Tunisia, 6 March 2024 - PHOTO/FETHI BELAID/AFP

Ramadan and The Quran

The month of Ramadan is the period each year that commemorates the revelation of Islam's holy book, The Quran, to the Prophet Muhammad by the angel Gabriel in 610 A.D. It is therefore the best time to read the Quran and reflect on its verses.  

The Quran is, in Islam, a sustenance for the soul like vitamins are for the body. By fasting, the soul reactivates its ties to spirituality through the atmosphere of the month of Ramadan, which encourages giving, forgiveness, sharing, meditation and reconciliation.  

The Quran is like the beneficial rain that waters the soul as if it were dry land, and the month of Ramadan is the propitious period that brings forth its flowers with every verse that the fasting person reads, meditates and feels. 

Resting and relaxing in search of a greater connection with God is one of the aims of the voluntary Tarawih prayer, which is performed after the fifth night prayer (Isha) or before the dawn prayer (Fajr), reciting verses from the Qur'an in mosques adorned with lights. 

The medicinal miracles of fasting and knowing how to break it

In view of the good effects of fasting on health, every human being needs to fast, even if he is not ill, in order to get rid of the toxins that are found in food and medicines and accumulate in the body, decreasing its activity (intermittent fasting). 

When a human being fasts, he gets rid of all toxins and feels an unprecedented vigour. But breaking the fast does not have to be just any old way. Why break the fast by eating dates? 

Because dates are rich in glucose, they are the best food when breaking the fast: 

  • Their high carbohydrate content (between 75 and 85%).  
  • Glucose makes up 55%. 
  • Fructose makes up 45%. 
  • Proteins and lipids.  
  • Vitamins A, B2 and B12. 
  • Important minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sulphate, sodium, magnesium, zinc and others. 

It is worth remembering that they are usually eaten in odd quantities, as the prophet Mohammed did. 

Ramadán - PHOTO/FILE
Ramadan - PHOTO/FILE

Laylat al-Qadr, the night of destiny and power

Laylat al-Qadr, the night of all miracles, is one of the last ten odd-numbered nights of Ramadan. It is not known which one in particular, although in Morocco it is celebrated on the 27th of the holy month. It is the same night on which The Quran was revealed. 

The night of destiny is the emblematic moment of Ramadan which is equivalent to a thousand months. The night of absolute peace when believers are invited to keep vigil until dawn. A vigil to pray, read the Quran, and meditate on a night that can change a person's destiny. 


11 Curiosities about Ramadan in Morocco

1-Ramadan time  

It is the only time of the year when Morocco changes its time. The country's clocks go back one hour and then forward again at the end of Ramadan. This change takes place one Sunday before and one Sunday after the holy month.  

It is also an opportunity to adjust work schedules to the fast in order to maximise time for prayer, reflection and rest. In terms of business hours, some shops and businesses open and close earlier and others later. Cafes and restaurants often remain closed or work restricted hours. 

2-Family atmosphere and generosity everywhere

Moroccan families gather to share Iftar with their loved ones at home or elsewhere. It is the month when families and friends invite each other to break the fast and pray together in a friendly atmosphere full of affection and spirituality. Morocco is also known for Mawaiid Rahman (the tables of the merciful) in neighbourhoods, squares, old people's homes and orphanages organised by associations or volunteers who feed the homeless or those without families. In addition to the Ramadan basket (with essential foodstuffs for the month), which has become a tradition of helping the needy and vulnerable. 

3-The Moroccan Iftar table 

The Ramadan table is usually decorated with typical Moroccan dishes such as Harira (Moroccan soup) and the traditional sweet chebakia (similar to pestiños with honey), which is a must on fast-breaking tables, along with dates, briwats, eggs, pasties, savoury pies and authentic Moroccan tea.  

4-The Suhoor 

This is the pre-dawn breakfast, with food based on milk, dates, juices, Rghaif (pancakes), flan, yoghurt and, above all, tea. It is the meal that precedes Fajr, the first prayer of the day. 

5-Khatam Al-Kuran 

On the last days of Ramadan, Moroccan Muslims ask each other whether they have finished reading the Qur'an or how far they have come in Juz (part and there are 30) or Hizb (chapter and there are 60) or Sura (section and there are 114). It is the annual reading of the entire holy book in daily fragments.  

6-Visiting Morocco in Ramadan 

For an enthusiastic and curious tourist, Ramadan can be one of the best periods to visit Morocco. Tourists can experience fasting and enjoy a special Moroccan-style breakfast in a hotel restaurant or any restaurant that has this offer and experience the soothing moment of the adhan of Maghrib (the fourth prayer). 

Mercado en Marruecos - PHOTO/ATALAYAR
Market in Morocco - PHOTO/ATALAYAR

7-Eating on the sly: respect for fasting people  

The curious thing is that people who do not have to fast (travellers, menstruating women, pregnant or breastfeeding women, the elderly, the sick and children), out of politeness and respect for the fasting person, do not usually eat in the streets or in front of others, although it is not forbidden. 

8-The 27th day of Ramadan 

It is a very special day in Morocco. The night before, children sleep with the intention of fasting all morning or as long as they can. On this day, the children wear new traditional clothes (Caftan, Chilaba...), and if they complete the fasting day for the first time, the family celebrates it in a party by giving them presents, and making Hanna and Takhlila for the fasting princesses (typical traditional costume with jewellery).   

9-Ramadanese television programming  

At Iftar time, Morocco's two official TV channels compete to present the best sitcoms to accompany the family around the table with comic scenes that make them laugh and forget the stress of the day.  

10-The symphony of Adhan Almaghrib, the moment of meditation and reward  

More than 50,000 mosques in Morocco call believers to prayer, signalling that it is time to break the fast. Many of these mosques offer water and dates to the speakers.  

11-Zakat Alfitr: the donation that everyone wants to make 

This is a charitable donation given before the Eid prayer. The amount of Zakat Al Fitr is set at 20 dirhams per person, according to the Higher Council of Ulema. The person in charge of each house has to pay for the people who spend Ramadan with him, even if they are guests.