1. When does Ramadan start?…2. WHO DECIDES WHEN A NEW MOON BEGINS?

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by Askimam.org

1.    When does Ramadan start?
3.    What happens at  Ramadan ?What is the meaning behind it?
4.    What is the aim  of  fasting?
5.    Do Muslims pray more often during Ramadan?
6.    Will restaurants be closed at Ramadan?
7.    Will working hours be affected?
8.    Will shops  close?
9.    Can I drink alcohol during  Ramadan?
10.    Are  there exceptions to  fasting?
11.    How  should I  dress  during Ramadan?
12.    What is  ifter ?can non Muslims attend an iftar  banquet?
13.    Ramadan culminates  in Eid. What  is  this?


In the name of Allāh, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Assalāmu ῾alaykum wa Rahmatullāhi Wabarakātuh


Hereunder is an article on Ramadān, followed by answers to your questions.

1- Article

Every well awaited thing is valued and appreciated. By nature, man does not appreciate and value divine favors, because it comes his way without any effort from his side. First and foremost, we should turn our gaze and ask Allah Ta’ala to grant us the opportunity to witness the great and auspicious month of Ramadān. Secondly, we should make a firm intention to reform our lives and make this Ramadān a turning point in our lives.

Preparation for Ramadān

The month of Sha’bān is a stepping stone to Ramadān. The prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) should not fast in any other month besides Ramadān as much as he should fast during Sha’bān. In order for us to prosper spiritually, we need to remove the evil element of sin totally from our lives. If there is a hole at the bottom of a bucket, it will never get filled. Similarly, if we do not abandon sins from our lives, we will never reach the heights of spiritual success irrespective of the amount of good we do.

The Holy Qurān

The Qurān was revealed during the month of Ramadān, hence, there is a special connection between Ramadān and the Holy Qurān. We should remove our Qurāns from the shelf and start reciting the Qurān. In this way, we will connect ourselves with Allah and develop the habit of reciting the Qurān. For every letter of the Qurān a person recites, Allah Ta’ala will grant him ten rewards. Imagine the reward he will receive for reciting a complete Surah or a Juz of the Qurān. If we can start reciting Qurān now, it will not be difficult for us to find time to recite Qurān in Ramadān, infact we will be able to increase the amount we were reciting before Ramadān.

Sighting the Moon

Ramadān commences after the crescent of Ramadān is sighted. The Dua to recite when looking at the crescent is:

اللَّهُمَّ أَهِلَّهُ عَلَيْنَا بِاليُمْنِ وَالإِيمَانِ ، وَالسَّلاَمَةِ وَالإِسْلاَمِ ، وَالتَّوْفِيقِ لِمَا تُحِبّ وتَرْضَى ،رَبِّي وربُّك الله

O Allah! Let this new moon appear to us with prosperity, faith, safety, and Islām and with hope of success to do deeds which you would like and approve of. My lord and your lord (O moon) is Allah.

(Sunun Tirmizi, Vol.2, Pg.183, HM Saeed)

Dua at the approach of Ramadān

Ubādah bin Sāmit (radiyallahu anhu) reports that Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) used to teach the Sahābah (radiyallahu anhum) the following Dua at the approach of the blessed moth of Ramadān:

اللّهُمّ سَلِّمْنِي لِرَمَضَانَ وَسَلِّمْ رَمَضَانَ لِي وَسَلِّمْهُ لِي مُتَقَبَّلاً

O Allah! Protect me for observing (the fast of) Ramadān, make the month of Ramadān clear for me and protect me from sins so that my acts of worship are accepted.

(Kanzul Ummāl, Vol.8, Pg.584)

Fasting (Saum)

Fasting refers to abstention from eating, drinking, and conjugal rights whilst having made the intention to fast that day. The fasting day commences at Subhus Sādiq (approximately 90 minutes before sunrise) and ends at senset.

Fasting during the month of Ramadān is compulsory upon every Muslim who is sane, mature, healthy and a resident (not a traveler).

Purpose of Fasting

Almighty Allah says:

“O you who believe, Fasting has been prescribed upon you as it was prescribed upon those before you, so that you practice self-restraint” (2:183).

The very essence of fasting is to inculcate the quality of Taqwa and to suppress our desires. If we are able to abstain from lawful things whilst fasting, all the more easy it will be to abstain from unlawful things during and after Ramadān. Care should be taken to protect one’s eyes, ears and speech from all types of Harām and unlawful things.

Virtues of fasting

Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said:

“Every good deed of the child of Adam is increased (in reward) from ten to 700 times”. And Almighty Allah says: “Except fasting, for verily it is for me and I will reward it. The fasting person abstains from desire and food for my sake”

(Sunan Ibn Mājah, Pg.119, Dārul Qurān wal Hadith)

Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) mentioned:

“Whoever fasts in Ramadān with Imān and hoping for reward from Allah, all his past sins will be forgiven”.

(Mishkāt, Vol.1, Pg.173, Deoband)

Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) mentioned:

There are two occasions of joy for a fasting person, a) pleasure at the time of breaking the fast and b) at the time when mhe will meet his Rabb.

(Sunun Tirmizi, Vol.1, Pg.159, HM Saeed)

Virtues of Ramadān

Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) mentioned:

“Whoever does any good in Ramadān, he will get the reward of doing a Fard act out of the month of Ramadān and whoever does a fard act in Ramadān, he will get the reward of doing 70 Fard acts.

 (Mishkāt,Vol.1, Pg.173, Deoband)

This is a privilege exclusive to the month of Ramadān. We should firstly fulfil all our fard duties and do as many voluntary acts as possible and draw maximum from the Month of Ramadān.

Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) mentioned:

“and it (Ramadān) is such a month, the first ten days are the days of mercy, the middle ten days are the days of forgiveness and the last ten days are the days in which many are emancipated from the fire of Jahannam”.

(Mishkāt, Vol.1, Pg.173, Deoband)

Tarāweeh Salāh

Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) mentioned:

“Whoever stands in Ramadān (i.e. Tarāweeh) with Imān and hoping for reward from Allah, all his past sins will be forgiven”.

(Sunun Tirmizi, Vol.1, Pg.167, HM Saeed)

It is Sunnah Muakkadah for Males and females to perform 20 Rakāts of Tarāweeh Salāh. A person will be sinful for omitting it.

Laylatul Qadr

Hazrat Salmān (radiyallahu anhu) narrates that during the last day of Sha’bān, Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) addressed the Sahabah (radiyallahu anhum): “O people, an auspicious month has dawned over you. A month in which there is one night which is more superior than a thousand months i.e. ibādat in this night is superior to the ibādah rendered in a thousand months”.

(Mishkāt, Vol.1, Pg.173, Deoband)

It is the wisdom of Allah, that the exact night of Laylatul Qadr is unknown. In this manner we will spend many more nights in Ibādah (worship) searching for this auspicious night. If the exact night was known, we would only spend one night Ibādah and there will be no hope for those who missed that night.


Hadhrat Ali bin Husain (rahimahullah) narrates from his father that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said:

“He who observes the ten days of I’tikāf during Ramadān will attain the reward of two Hajj and two Umrah”.


Hadhrat Abdullah bin Abbass (radiyallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said:

“Whoever for Allah’s sake sat for one day in I’tikāf, Allh will keep him away from Jahannam by trenches”.


A person who intends sitting for Sunnah I’tikāf during the last ten days of Ramadān should enter the Musjid before sunset on the 20th Ramadān and only leave after the moon for Eid has been sighted. During I’tikāf, a person may only exit the Musjid to answer to the call of nature, Fard Ghusal and to make wudhu. If he leaves the musjid boundaries without a valid reason, his Sunnah I’tikāf will terminate and he will have to make Qadha of one days I’tikāf (24 hours) in the state of fasting (during the day) in or after Ramadān.

How to terminate the month of Ramadān

Indeed the value of Ramadān only comes to the fore once the month has terminated or will only be realized on the day of Qiyāmah. We should beg Allah Ta’ala to accept the little Ibādah we have done in Ramadān, for that act which is accepted by Allah holds lots of merit and significance.

Hadhrat Abu Umāmah (radiyallahu anhu) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said:

“Whosoever observes the two nights of Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adhā with worship and devotion, his heart will be alive on the day of Qiyāmah”.

(Sunan Ibn Mājah, Pg.128, Dārul Qurān wal Hadith)

Sadaqatul Fitr

Sadaqatul Fitr is Wājib on the following persons: a) that person upon whom Zakāt is compulsory,
b) that person upon whom Zakāt is not wājib but has wealth equal to the nisāb of Zakāt over and above his basic needs. This is irrespective whether the wealth is for the purpose of trade or not and irrespective whether he had it in his possession for a complete year or not. This Sadaqah has to be paid on or before the day of Eid. If he does not discharge his Sadaqatul Fitr, it will remain as a debt on him and will have to be discharged.

Hadhrat Ibn Abbās (radiyallahu anhu) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) decreed the Sadaqatul Fitr to purify the fasts of vain talk and as a provision for the needy. Whoever discharges it before the Eid Salāh, it will be accepted and whoever discharges it after the Eid Salāh, it will be regarded as general charity.

(Sunan Abi Dawud, Vol.1, Pg.227, HM Saeed)

6 Fast of Shawwal

Hadhrat Abu Ayub (radiyallahu anhu) reportes that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said:

“Anyone who has kept the fasts of Ramadān and follows them up with six (optional) fast of Shawwal then (he will get the reward for the fast of a whole year, but if he does that always) it is as if he fasted all his life.

(Sunan Abi Dawud, Vol.1, Pg330, HM Saeed)

Hadhrat Saubān (radiyallahu anhu) reportes that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said:

”Joining six days of the fasts of Shawwal is equal to the fast of the whole year. Each good act is equal to ten such acts”.

(Sunan Ibn Mājah, Pg.124, Dārul Qurān wal Hadith)

The reward of each good deed is multiplied at least ten times. Therefore, thirty days of fast in Ramadān equals three hundred days and the six fast of Shawwal equal sixty. Thus, totaling to three hundred and sixty days, which is the total amount of days in a lunar year.


    2- Answers

1) Ramadān commences once the crescent of Ramadān is sighted or after completing 30 days of Sha’bān.

2) It is not decided by any person/ committee. It depends whether the moon has been sighted or not.

3) Refer to the above article.

 4) Refer to the above article.

5) Tarāweeh is an additional Salāh exclusive to Ramadān. However, a person is at liberty to perform as much optional Salāh as he wishes in and out of Ramadān, as long as he does not perform it in the prohibited times.

6) It is not necessary for restaurants to close during the day in Ramadan.

7) Under usual circumstances, working hours are not affected during Ramadān.

8) It is totally upon a person whether he wishes to open his business during Ramadān or not.

9) It is not permissible for a muslim to consume alcohol in or after Ramadān.

10) A person will be excused from fasting due to sickness or he is a Musāfir (undertakes a journey more than 78 km).

11) A Muslim should always dress according to the Sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam).

12) Iftār is to partake a meal and open the fast immediately after sunset. It is Sunnah to open the fast with dates or water.


And Allāh Ta῾āla Knows Best
Wassalāmu ῾alaykum 

Ml. Rayhaan Docrat,
Student Dārul Iftā

Checked and Approved by:
Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Dārul Iftā, Madrasah In῾āmiyyah

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