Ramadan is a holy month for Muslims. What happens during Ramadan and what does it mean to millions of Muslims worldwide?

Do the preparation task first. Then read the article and do the exercises.

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is a very special time for Muslims all over the world. Observing Ramadan is one of the five 'pillars' of Islam. During Ramadan, all Muslims over the age of about 12, with some exceptions, are expected to fast between dawn and sunset.  

When does it take place?

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which follows the phases of the moon. This means the dates of Ramadan change each year. The month starts when the new crescent moon is first visible in the night sky. Fasting ends with the arrival of the next lunar month, which starts with the first glimpse of the new crescent moon.

How do people fast?

During Ramadan, the day starts early so that people can eat a pre-fast meal before dawn. This meal, called Suhoor, is important as it will keep them going through the day. During daylight hours, fasting Muslims cannot eat food or drink water or any other drinks. In late spring or early summer, this is particularly difficult as the day can be very long. People who live in polar regions, where daylight can last 22 hours or more, can choose to follow the dawn and sunset times in Mecca or a nearby country where the sky is dark at night.  

Are all Muslims expected to fast?

Not all Muslims are expected to fast. Children under the age of 12, people who are travelling, elderly people, pregnant women and others where it may affect their health are exempt. Those who can't fast for any reason can offer to feed poor people for each day they miss during Ramadan.

What happens at sunset?

People can eat and drink again once the sun has set. The traditional way to break the fast is by eating dates and drinking a glass of water. Then, the evening meal, Iftar, is a social event that can go on for hours. It is common for people to eat together in large groups of family and friends. Special foods are prepared and shared, and desserts are particularly popular. Muslims often include charity in Iftar as well, sharing Iftar with members of the community who cannot buy or make their own food. Across the Muslim world, mosques and aid organisations set up tents and tables for the public in poorer communities to eat free Iftar meals every night of Ramadan.

Why do people fast?

Muslims fast during Ramadan to bring them closer to God and to remind them of the suffering of people who are less fortunate than themselves. Fasting is an exercise in self-control. As well as not eating, drinking or smoking, Muslims try to avoid bad actions, like talking about people behind their backs or using bad language. Ramadan is a time for people to work on being more patient, more tolerant and more mindful of the people around them. It is a moment to reflect and work on being better people.

Many Muslims also donate money to charities during the month, and a lot of Islamic charities organise food packs for people in poorer countries or refugee camps. Giving donations to charity, known as Zakat, is particularly important during the holy month, and so is prayer, meditation and reading the Qur'an.

How is the end of Ramadan celebrated?

Eid ul-Fitr marks the end of the month of fasting. There are many Eid traditions, mainly centred around family, food, generosity and festivities. On Eid ul-Fitr, Muslims wake up early and dress in their finest clothes to attend the Eid prayers. After prayers, they wish each other a happy Eid ('Eid Mubarak' in Arabic) before spending the rest of the day with their extended families, enjoying good food and sharing gifts with children and loved ones.

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Submitted by meknini on Fri, 22/07/2022 - 02:17


Ramadan is joyously welcomed by my family every year. We look at this month as the month to improve ourselves. Usually, in the month of Syaaban which is immediately before Ramadan we would sit down and reflect on wat we have done and seek to see what are areas we would like to improve intrinsically or spiritually. Most of us nearly always think Ramadan is the month to do this since we're forbidden from conducting ourselves poorly, thus we're extra mindful of our behaviors. We have always bore in mind to be a different person once Ramadan ends and work hard to maintain the good traits we gained throughout the year before the next Ramadan arrive. All in all Muslims who are seriously observing Ramadan would progressively change throughout his life span. And, I sincerely believe this makes Ramadan very uniquely special.

Submitted by PiotrJan on Sun, 03/07/2022 - 13:51


I'm a Catholic and I really admire all Muslims who observe Ramadan. It's a great testimony for every one who is religious. Testimony about being ready to sacrifice something to God.

Submitted by jyoti Chaudhary on Fri, 22/04/2022 - 13:43


Do you observe Ramadan?

no, I didn't observe in my life because I'm Hindu but I respect all religions. one day I shall observe this.

Submitted by zinc-bromide on Wed, 20/04/2022 - 16:26


Ramadan has always fascinated me in some kind of way! It amazes me how it brings families closer to each other and closer to God. Fasting has always been and will always be only for our welfare. It distances humans from vices and health issues.
Many scientists discovered the secret healing power of fasting, but this is something no government or school will ever teach you.

Submitted by arsseldii on Mon, 18/04/2022 - 21:21


I am a muslim and I find Ramadan as one of the most valuable months for our religion.During this month we feel inside us the connection between us and God.It´s an obligation for us to fast during this month.Fasting is also healthy for humans.I found this article interesting and informative for all the readers.This is one of the most effective ways to tell the others the beautiful culture and the religion we have.

Submitted by dejankraja on Thu, 14/04/2022 - 20:56


Ramadan is the beautifulest month of the year. I always fast during Ramadan as long as i am healthy. Its a tradition of all muslims to fast during Ramadan. This article shows to different people of different religions how beautiful Ramadan is. It gives a brief idea of how we celebrate during the month. Thanks to the one who wrote this article, very informative.

Submitted by Thinthinmyoe on Sat, 05/06/2021 - 13:25

Although I'm not a Muslim,I respect to other religions.

Submitted by Jawed_3 on Thu, 08/04/2021 - 09:18

Ramadan is a very important month for all people, not only for Muslims, because Allah's particular mercy descends in Ramadan.

Yeees, Ramadan is a special month in which Muslims (as human beings that consist of two sides, physically and spiritually), rise spiritually and try to thank Allah as much as possible for everything Allah has given to us. This Mubarak month reminds us of the purpose of human creation: Knowing and worshiping Allah. Thank you Britishcouncil for giving us the opportunity to express our feelings about this blessed month.

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Submitted by danisep on Wed, 27/01/2021 - 16:33

No, I'm not Muslim I'm Christian and I have taken somedays to fast I think that is good to improve self-control and help with some health affairs. I see with good eyes when we try to help others, I think that is something that we must do with more frequently.

Submitted by cittàutopica on Tue, 12/01/2021 - 18:10

I think the question "Do you observe Ramadan?" isn't correct, because it presupposes all people are muslim. In my opinion a more appropriate espression had been: "If you are muslim, do you observe Ramadan?".

Hello cittàutopica,

The question is fine. It doesn't assume anything and the answer can quite easily be 'No, I don't because I'm not Muslim'.


It's not necessary to preface questions like this with an 'If you are...' clause. For example, neither of the questions below make any presuppositions:

Do you celebrate New Year?

Do you celebrate Christmas?



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Marey Saad on Tue, 10/11/2020 - 19:26

I am a Muslim, and I am a bit surprised by the accuracy of the information. It is a holy month for us and I wouldn't say it is a Muslim tradition because it is a religious value more than a normal tradition, and by the way many scientific researches proved that fasting is very very beneficial for the human body, and we as Muslims believe that Allah wouldn't command us to do something unless it comes back with benefits to us. This is the Islamic religion dear, Thanks a lot, British Council.
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Submitted by ALMOND on Fri, 29/05/2020 - 07:43

I've been fasting for 6 years each Ramadan month .. it's something amazing believe me !

Submitted by Muhammad Bagir on Mon, 18/05/2020 - 04:52

yes, i'm living in the largest moslem country in the world.

Submitted by Ahmadshah Heshaam on Sun, 10/05/2020 - 10:02

A Muslim when arrived to the eagles of puberty should observe this month and as I'm a Muslim, l also observe Ramadan and I'm happy. Ramadan is the best month for us, during this month there is a lot of opportunity for forgiveness. Now I'm fasting and I feel powerful and hopeful of getting rewards. Happy Ramadan to all...

Submitted by raxmatovdilmurod on Thu, 23/04/2020 - 10:10

I amn't always observe Ramadan. Because of illness I had to drink some drugs during a day

Submitted by Nuha1993 on Mon, 25/11/2019 - 12:49

Ramadan is the from most important months of Islamic calendar. In this months the door of heaven is open . all people feel comfort because most of community sharing to help each other . The night of Ramadan is very different about others day al mosque is crowd with people pry and then is finish at 11 pm back home still wake up until 6 am after finish suhoor.
Hi Nuha you have some mistake and I'd to correct it if you don't mind, first this sentence "Ramadan is the from most important months of Islamic calendar" I don't know why you wrote (from) I think it's better without it. the second line you wrote months this just one not many you should write month without s. In the second line, you should write like this (All people feel comfortable). thanks and have a nice day.

Submitted by olo on Wed, 13/11/2019 - 08:12

I am not a religious person but I know some people who fasting during Ramadan. In my opinion fasting is very good for healthy because organism have rest from food and regenerate. In my life I also fasting but not of religious reason but healthy reason. So I think fasting is very useful to regenerate physical and mind conditions.

Submitted by parisaach on Wed, 21/08/2019 - 05:31

In my country some people fast in Ramadan, It is a rule that people can't eat and drink during Ramadan and people don't obey this rule will be punished. many people don't obey that rule because they can't stay hungry and thirsty during this long time and some of them don't Believe Ramadan. In my country girls should fast after 9 years old and boys should do it after age 15. I think it is not fair a 9 years old girl which is just a child considered grown up while a 15 years old boy is really grown up. Here resturants should be closed during Ramadan but in many offices people eat and drink during Ramadan though in governmental office it is not allowed, so if you can't fast you should find a place to eat and drink secretly. ok maybe for you from outside it is really beautiful and meaningful but for me here is just a hell and there is no meaning to fast or anything imagine when don't drink 20 hours everyday what happened to you? you'd better edit your article

Hello parisaach

Thank you for sharing your experience and opinion. We did quite a bit of research for this article and had it checked by colleagues who also know Ramadan first hand. I'm sorry that what it relates does not reflect your experience.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

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Submitted by BRAHIM ABOULOUAFA on Mon, 03/06/2019 - 14:09

Nice practice and Eid mubarak for all :) !!!
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Submitted by Shahd Shawaf on Sat, 01/06/2019 - 16:25

Yes I do. Ramadan is my favourite month. I always fast during Ramadan every year as long as I'm in a healthy condition. I really feel tired but It's ok as it bring us closer to God. Eid will be in 4 days so I wish a happy eid for all muslims around the world.
Hello Huda A. The phrases are similar in meaning. ~ We use the phrase 'an exercise in...' to mean 'a test of...' In the text, fasting is described as an exercise in self-control because it is a test of self-control: without self-control, you cannot succeed in this. ~ The phrase 'the exercise of...' means 'using...' You could say, therefore, that 'fasting requires the exercise of self-control'. ~ Peter The LearnEnglish Team
I kindly request to bbc to write a magazine about world famous chariot festival in india,Odisha ,puri

Hello Udaya kumar

Thanks for your suggestion! I have added it to our list of festivals and special days to consider for future articles.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by pointofnoreturn on Sat, 18/05/2019 - 17:25

I have understood clearly. Thanks for introduction :)

Submitted by Amalotb on Thu, 16/05/2019 - 04:15

yes, I observed Ramadan and I am Muslim I know the feeling of being fast it wondful feeling .It is the time to be come a butter Muslim to ask god forgivness and all good things in the life and after death . I hope you all try the feeling of being flying in the sky .

Submitted by Amalotb on Thu, 16/05/2019 - 03:19

yes, and I am so happy to feel that and to try to be more closer to god and ask for good things in the life and after death to telling god I am so thankful for every thing love you my god .

Submitted by DOC MAZY on Mon, 13/05/2019 - 11:14

I’m not a Muslim, I’m a Christian. But I admit that I was pleasantly surprised by the virtues of the Muslim religion, especially the sense of sharing during the month of Ramadan.

Submitted by abdurrahman boyraz on Sun, 12/05/2019 - 19:57

Ramadan is very important mount for all Muslims. I'm Muslim. I am fasting. I think Ramadan is useful for our healty.

Submitted by irwina eka deraya on Sun, 12/05/2019 - 13:00

yes. hai. we are fasting now, for Muslims all over the world.

Submitted by ayabm on Thu, 09/05/2019 - 10:19

Ramadan is great month for me and all Muslims . All people are fasting (rich and poor ) . All people pray together .
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Submitted by soodi on Sun, 05/05/2019 - 15:36

The sick person should not fast.

Submitted by nasr-edine drai on Thu, 02/05/2019 - 12:13

it's a good practice for health and the mind
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Submitted by Liz on Wed, 01/05/2019 - 13:05

I reecntly discovered what Ramadam means, i 'have some friends who show me their traditions and I really appreciate that they share it with me.

Submitted by Hang_Nga on Wed, 01/05/2019 - 11:05

Teacher! Could you show me mistakes in that comment, please!!!!!
Hello Hang_Nga If you have a question about a specific word or phrase in your comment, please feel free to ask us, but otherwise I'm afraid we don't provide corrections of texts -- we simply don't have enough time for it! All the best Kirk The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Hang_Nga on Wed, 01/05/2019 - 11:00

Ramadan I have never obsersed Ramadan but i have ever heard about it upon my teacher. He is a Muslim. When we had an English training course together, we recognized he had quite diffirent lifestyles. I began to look into his religion. That was very special! Knowledge about Islam helped us more and more understand each other. That was a great and memorable training course!!!

Submitted by Ayman Hosny on Wed, 01/05/2019 - 00:36

Ramadan Mubarak to all here. And I wish peace, quietness and save to go through the whole world.

Submitted by shah Abdullah … on Tue, 30/04/2019 - 17:54

very nice article
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Submitted by Eri Hariyandi on Tue, 30/04/2019 - 10:55

Ramadan is beautiful's month for me and my extended families. We always miss to meet this holy month each year. And i always wish i can be better person especially my faith.

Ramadan is one of the 5 pillars of Islam.In Ramadan you get closer to Allah and you be thankful for what you have,you also get rid of bad actions(like:talking behind back,using bad language or doing haram things).This is the time you have to be more patient,tolerant,and work hard to be a good person and also try to give your best in your obligations.We also get together with our extended families at iftar time and have always a good time and a lot of fun.May this month be your best and Allah forgive all your mistakes:))

Submitted by cadu on Mon, 29/04/2019 - 22:19

I didn´t observed the Ramadam , but I think that is beatifull tradition of the muslim religion. The fast sounds like a the best opportunity to be greatfull with god for all the things in our lives. I want to make the fast and be generous with the less fortunate people, because it will be better for all.