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This article forms part of the series
Vocabulary of Islam
Five Pillars
Profession of faith
Prayer · Alms · Fasting
Pilgrimage to Mecca
Prophets of Islam
Caliphs · Shia Imams
Companions of Muhammad
Holy Cities
Mecca · Medina · Jerusalem
Najaf · Karbala · Kufa
Kazimain · Mashhad · Samarra
Hijra · Islamic calendar · Eid ul-Fitr
Eid ul-Adha · Aashura · Arba'in
Mosque · Minaret · Mihrab · Kaaba
Islamic architecture
Functional Religious Roles
Muezzin · Imam · Mullah
Ayatollah · Mufti
Interpretive Texts & Practices
Qur'an · Hadith · Sunnah
Fiqh · Fatwa · Sharia
Sunni: Hanafi · Hanbali · Maliki · Shafi'i
Shi'a: Ithna Asharia · Ismailiyah · Zaiddiyah
Others: Ibadi · Kharijite · Murjite · Mu'tazili
Sufism · Wahhabism · Salafism
Non-Mainstream Sects / Movements
Ahmadiyyah · Nation of Islam
Zikri · Druze
Related Faiths
Babism · Bahá'í Faith · Yazidi

Ramadan or Ramadhan (Arabic: رمضان ) is the ninth month of the Islamic year. Siyam or Saum ("fasting" in English) is the fourth of the Five Pillars of Islam and involves fasting during Ramadan.


The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, and months begin when the first crescent of a new moon is sighted. Because the Islamic calendar has no correction for the fact that the lunar year is 11 to 12 days shorter than the solar year, Ramadan migrates throughout the seasons.

What is prohibited?

The prohibitions only extend during daylight hours. Traditionally this begins at dawn from the moment a white line can be seen at the horizon and ends at sunset, when the sun's disk sinks below the local horizon. These times are known as Fajr and Maghrib, respectively.

The Siyam are intended to teach the believers patience and self-control, and to remind them of the less fortunate in the world. The fast is also seen as a debt owed by the believer to God. Faithful observance of the Siyam is believed to atone for personal faults and misdeeds, at least in part, and to help earn a place in paradise. It is also believed to be beneficial for personal conduct, that is, to help control passions and temper. The fast is also meant to provide time for meditation and to strengthen one's faith.

Fasting in other religions

The Christian Lent and the Jewish Yom Kippur are also times of fasting. These relate to that be mentioned in Quran 2:183, ".. Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you..", fasting is prescribed to Muslims as it was prescribed to those before you, e.g. Christian and Jewish, although the fasting's practice of each religion might be different one another.

Last updated: 02-07-2005 07:34:47
Last updated: 03-18-2005 11:16:12