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What is Ramadan? Can you drink water while fasting?

Muslims all over the world have begun observing Ramadan, a holy month dedicated to prayer, spiritual reflection, and fasting from sunrise to sunset.

Ramadan: A time for prayer, reflection, and purification

The holy month of Ramadan begins at the first sighting of the crescent Moon in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar based on the lunar Hijri calendar. Devout Muslims all over the world observe fasting (sawm) one of the five pillars of Islam, the others being faith (shahada), prayer (salat), alms (zakat) and pilgrimage (hajj).

The month honors the first time that the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, with the book serving as guidance for humanity, including criteria for what is right and what is wrong.

Ramadan follows the lunar calendar

This period of prayer and spiritual reflection takes place on the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and lasts for 29 to 30 days, depending on the sighting of the moon. Its exact date changes from country to country, depending on when the first sighting of the crescent Moon.

Aside from prayer, reflection, and reading the Quran, Ramadan also promotes generosity and giving to worthy causes.

During this span of time, Muslims observe the practice of abstaining from food, drink, and other physical needs such as smoking and sexual relations during daylight hours.

Ramadan: Can you drink water while fasting?

The fast begins at sunrise after taking the pre-dawn meal called Suhoor, and is broken at sunset with a meal called Iftar. Traditionally, one breaks the fast with dates or something light before the daily evening prayer, after which the devote eat the full Iftar meal.

The practice of fasting aims to develop self-discipline, self-control, and empathy for the less fortunate. It is also meant to bring a person closer to God and to purify the soul.

Since the fast requires that nothing whatsoever is consumed in between dawn and dusk, Muslims are not allowed to drink even water during the day. As such, it is important for those who are fasting to stay hydrated during non-fasting hours to stay healthy. It is permissible to drink water during the evening meal and before the fast begins at daybreak.