Ramadan, which always occurs in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, is a time for deep reflection and spiritual revelations among members of the Muslim community who practice the religion of Islam. During this holy month, observant Muslims take part in the practice of fasting, which means that they don’t eat or drink anything from sunrise to sunset.
This year, Ramadan commences at sunset on Friday, April 1, 2022 and ends at sunset on Sunday, May 1, 2022, but the specific dates change every year depending on moon sightings.
The most important (and only) meals of the day occur during Suhoor, the first meal pre-dawn, and Iftar, the last meal after dark.
Aside from young children, pregnant people, elderly folks, or anyone who may otherwise not reasonably be able to go 12 hours without food or drink, anyone who practices Islam is expected to fast.
“Ramadan has always been a really special time of year for me. Growing up, when I was too young to fast, I would try to wake up with my parents and older sister to eat our pre-dawn meal, Suhoor, with the intention to fast. More often than not, I'd get hungry and cave but this served as practice for when I would actually be old enough to fast,” says Tahsin Jahin, a software engineer for Food52.
So why do members of the Muslim community fast during Ramadan? Doing so is a way to understand what it feels like to go hours or days without consuming substantial food so that you may be more sympathetic towards the hungry. Plus, it removes distractions from the day so that you may be able to deepen your relationship with God and family.
“Ramadan is also the time of year when I start experimenting with different recipes for Iftaar, our meal when we open our fast. I watch an exorbitant amount of cooking videos throughout the day, while abstaining from food and water. Ultimately, I find that it has taught me self-discipline. As everyone in our home starts buzzing around in the kitchen a few hours every day before Iftar, I'm grateful for another month filled with food and family,” says Jahin.
A Ramadan fast also includes all forms of liquid—most notably, water. According to The Times of India, you cannot drink water during daylight hours of the holy month without breaking the fast.
“Ramadan for me is about fasting and keeping up with prayers most of the time. Fasting during Ramadan means abstinence from all food or drink, including water and chewing gum, from dawn to sunset. I keep myself hydrated at night and eat all high-protein food,” says Sohana Saiyed, a reporting specialist for Schoolhouse.
If you do break the fast, you are expected to either make up the day at the end of Ramadan or donate a meal to someone in need, according to Vox.
What Can You Eat During Ramadan?
Muslims who practice fasting will typically eat a high-protein meal and drink a lot of water in the early morning and late at night to sustain themselves throughout the forthcoming days. Here are 25 Ramadan recipes to make during the month including Jerk Chicken Kebabs and a side of Tahini Roasted Broccoli, or this satisfying Morning Date Smoothie to drink for Suhoor.
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