In this blog, we explain when Ramadan 2019 is, why Ramadan changes every year and everything you need to know about the month.
Why does Ramadan change dates each year?
Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, which has 12 months. But unlike the Western (Gregorian) calendar the Islamic calendar is based on lunar (moon) cycles rather than a sun cycle. This means the Islamic year is slightly shorter – usually 354 or 355 days, compared to a Western calendar which has 365 days per year.
This means the Islamic calendar is 10 or 11 days shorter than the calendars based on sun cycles, so each year Ramadan starts a little bit earlier. By 2028 it’ll be in January. It will next overlap with the Christian holiday of Christmas in 2031, when Ramadan is expected to take place from 15th December 2031 to 13th January 2032.
When is Ramadan 2019?
Ramadan 2019 is predicted to start on Monday, 6th May 2019. However, in the Muslim calendar a new month begins on the sunset of the previous day, so most Muslims will consider the beginning of Ramadan 2019 as being on the Sunday evening, upon sighting of the crescent moon.
Thanks to modern astronomy techniques, we can work out the lunar cycle and when a moon sighting is likely to happen. However, Islamic dates are determined by the sighting of the first crescent of the new moon. Many say the moon has to be seen with the naked eye before it can be officially announced.
If Ramadan 2019 does indeed occur on the evening of Sunday, 5th May, then it will finish on Tuesday, 3rd June 2019, with Eid ul Fitr taking place on Wednesday, 4th June.
Sighting of the new moon
There is some debate about whether using modern techniques for moon predictions is enough versus those who believe the moon should still be seen with the naked eye. The second option can be problematic, for example if there is a lot of cloud coverage.
Some people refer to the nearest large Muslim country and wait for them to announce the moon sighting. Others automatically defer to Saudi Arabia, as this is the country where Mecca is situated.
The Arabic word Hilal or Al hilal refers to the crescent moon being sighted, marking the beginning of a new month.
Why will Muslims be fasting during Ramadan 2019?
Ramadan is a very special month for Muslims because it was during this month that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) received his first message from Allah, when the Quran was revealed to him.
Each Ramadan, Muslims fast during the daylight hours, in accordance with a commandment recorded in the Quran. Followers of Islam believe Allah commanded people to fast so they could strengthen their faith and become more spiritual.
Fasting is one of the Five Pillars of Islam and is obligatory for adult, healthy Muslims. Women who are pregnant, young children and people who are ill/elderly are exempt from fasting.
During Ramadan 2019, Muslims will have their last meal (sehri) before fast early in the morning. They then fast throughout the day before breaking fast in the evening, when the sun has set. The meal after sunset is known as the iftar.
Fasts are often broken with families and friends sharing an evening meal together.
How can I find out more about Ramadan 2019?
Ramadan 2019 will be a very important event in the READ Foundation calendar. Please continue to check our website for updates and blogs.