Ramadan 2019 dates: Ramadan is a holy month for Muslims across the world. The community has for generations practised the ritual of keeping a dawn-to-dusk fast (sawm) and offer prayers during this period. Ramadan 2019 dates have been announced, and according to the International Astronomical Centre, the holy Ramadan month is likely to begin on Monday, May 6 in most Islamic nations.

Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic (Hijri) calendar. And as per the Hijri calendar, the Ramadan dates shift back by around nine days every year. In 2018, Ramadan had begun on May 17. May 6 is however a tentative date for the beginning of the Ramadan month in 2019 as the actual date depends on the sighting of the Ramadan moon.

While the Ramadan month should start from Sunday, May 5 according to the Hijri 1440 calendar, the International Astronomical Centre has said sighting of the crescent moon with naked eyes would be impossible in many nations, especially in the East and Southeast Asia as well as Southern Europe and most of the Arab countries, on May 5.

Ramadan 2019 will hence start from May 6 and end tentatively on Tuesday, 4 June with the sighting of the next crescent moon ahead of Eid ul Fitr.

The length of the Ramadan month varies from 29 days to 30 days, depending on when the Shawwal moon is sighted, leading to the celebration of Eid ul Fitr on the first day of Shawwal.

Ramadan history and significance

Also known as Ramzan, Ramadhan, or Ramathan, the month of Ramadan is called one of the Five Pillars of Islam. It is said the word Ramadan comes from Arabic “ramida”. Roughly translated, it means “scorching heat”.

All adult Muslims are supposed to keep the Ramadan fast. The ritual was made mandatory in the second year of Hijri.

Who are exempted from keeping Ramadan fast?

While keeping a fast is obligatory for all adult Muslims, Islam exempts some people from the ritual. These are elderly people, pregnant women, patients of diabetes, those chronically ill, menstruating or breast feeding women, and people who are travelling. While children are exempted too, many try and keep a fast on as many days as possible to prepare themselves for the practice to be undertaken in adult life.

Ramadan fast rules

The Ramadan fast is to be kept from dawn to sunset, with the timing depending on the region an individual is residing in. People are not supposed to eat or drink anything during this time. They also can’t smoke or engage in sexual relations. Any sinful behaviour such as lying or cursing is prohibited.

Any food can be eaten only and water consumed only before sunrise and after sunset. The food eaten before sunrise is called Suhoor, while the one consumed after sunset is known as Iftar.

Muslims are encouraged to spend generously during this time to ensure the whole community, especially the poor, gets food. It is said the rewards of all good deeds, such as prayers and charity, get increased Ramzan if done during the Ramadan month. This Hadith says: “When Ramadan arrives, the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of hell are locked up and devils are put in chains.”