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How Long Do Muslims Fast ?

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How Long Do Muslims Fast?

Fasting is one of the most important practices in Islam, especially during the holy month of Ramadan. But how long do Muslims fast and what are the rules of fasting? In this blog post, we will answer these questions and provide some information about the significance and benefits of fasting.

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, which follows the phases of the moon. It is believed that in this month, God revealed the Quran, the holy book of Islam, to Prophet Muhammad. Therefore, Ramadan is a time of spiritual devotion, reflection, and gratitude for Muslims.

During its 29 to 30 days, Muslims fast every day from sunrise to sunset. When the sun sets, there is a communal meal called Iftar where you break your fast, typically with your family or friends. Before dawn, Muslims have another meal called Sahur to prepare for the next day of fasting.

Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam, which are the basic acts of worship that every Muslim should perform. The other pillars are: declaring faith in God and His Prophet (Shahada), praying five times a day (Salat), giving charity to the poor (Zakat), and making a pilgrimage to Mecca once in a lifetime (Hajj).

Why Do Muslims Fast?

Fasting has many purposes and benefits for Muslims. Some of them are:

  • Fasting is a way of obeying God’s command and showing gratitude for His blessings.
  • Fasting is a way of purifying the soul and attaining closeness to God.
  • Fasting is a way of developing self-control and discipline over one’s desires and impulses.
  • Fasting is a way of empathizing with the poor and needy and sharing their suffering.
  • Fasting is a way of enhancing one’s health and well-being by detoxifying the body and mind.

What Are the Rules of Fasting?

Fasting in Islam has some rules and conditions that must be followed by those who are able to fast. These are:

  • Fasting is obligatory for every adult Muslim who is sane and healthy, except for those who have valid excuses such as illness, pregnancy, menstruation, breastfeeding, travel, etc. They can postpone their fasting until they are able to do it or make up for it by feeding a poor person for each day they miss.
  • Fasting starts from dawn until dusk, which means abstaining from food, drink, smoking, sexual activity, and any kind of immoral behavior or speech.
  • Fasting ends with the appearance of the crescent moon that marks the beginning of the next month, which is Shawwal. The first day of Shawwal is celebrated as Eid al-Fitr, the festival of breaking the fast.
  • Fasting is not valid if one intentionally breaks it without a valid excuse. In that case, one has to repent to God and either make up for it later or pay a penalty (kaffara) by freeing a slave, fasting for 60 consecutive days, or feeding 60 poor people.

How Long Do Muslims Fast?

The length of fasting depends on the location and season of the year. Since Ramadan follows the lunar calendar, it moves back about 10 days every year in relation to the solar calendar. This means that Ramadan can fall in any season throughout a 33-year cycle.

The duration of fasting varies from place to place depending on the sunrise and sunset times. For example, in some countries near the equator, fasting can be around 12 hours long throughout the year. In some countries near the poles, fasting can be very short or very long depending on whether it is summer or winter.

According to some calculations, in 2024 Ramadan will start on March 9 and end on April 7. The shortest fasting time will be in Buenos Aires, Argentina with about 11 hours and 40 minutes. The longest fasting time will be in Reykjavik, Iceland with about 20 hours and 20 minutes.


Fasting is a spiritual practice that has many benefits for Muslims. It teaches them to be grateful, humble, compassionate, disciplined, and healthy. It also brings them closer to God and their fellow human beings. Fasting during Ramadan is not only a duty but also a joy for Muslims who look forward to this blessed month every year.

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