Fast Facts About Ramadan

This year, the month of Ramadan runs from March 10 to April 9. Learn more about charitable giving during the holiest month of the year for 1.9 billion people.


Q: What is Ramadan?

A: Ramadan is a holy month observed by Muslims. During this month, Muslims fast, meaning they do not eat or drink from sunrise to sunset every day. Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam, which also include faith, prayer, a pilgrimage to Mecca, and giving to charity. Islam follows the lunar calendar instead of the Gregorian calendar, which is why the start date for Ramadan changes every year. The dates of Ramadan are determined by visual sightings of the crescent moon.

Q: What is Islam?

A: Islam is the world’s second-largest religion practiced by more than 1.9 billion people worldwide.

Q: How do people celebrate Ramadan?

A: People practice acts of generosity during the holy month of Ramadan. Families prepare for the day by eating suhur, the morning meal, together. In the evenings, people invite family and neighbors to break the fast together at sunset, usually starting with dates and water. This meal is called iftar. After the month of fasting, there is a three-day holiday called Eid ul-Fitr where communities celebrate with food and festivities.

Q: What is zakat?

A: Zakat is another one of the five pillars of Islam. It is the practice of charitable giving to support poor and needy people. Muslims who are able are required to give 2.5% of their wealth to zakat.

Q: How do people give back during Ramadan?

A: Volunteering and charitable giving are highly encouraged. According to the Charity Commission, Muslims in the UK gave £100 million to charity during Ramadan in 2016 alone. Many Muslims support nonprofits around the world and in their local communities throughout Ramadan.

Q: What can I do for Ramadan?

A: Support a nonprofit you care about! Many people around the world, especially refugees, may not have the means to feed their families. During Ramadan, you can help ease someone’s suffering by donating to a community-led nonprofit.


Featured Photo: Self-Defense Training for Refugee Women on Lesvos by Starfish Foundation

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