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Ramadan Kareem: Saudi Arabia Determines Start Date for Holy Month


Ramadan Kareem: Saudi Arabia Determines Start 

Date for Holy Month

Ramadan : Determining the Start Date for International Women's Day, and the Saudi Arabia Iftar Times

Ramadan 2024: Fasting Around the World

Ramadan, a sacred month in the Islamic calendar, holds immense significance for millions of Muslims around the world. As we approach the year 2024, it is important to understand the start and duration of Ramadan, the variation in fasting hours worldwide, and the cultural observances associated with this holy month. In this article, I will delve into these topics and provide answers to frequently asked questions about Ramadan.

Ramadan Start and Duration

Ramadan is known for its variation in start dates each year. This is due to the Islamic lunar calendar, which is based on the sighting of the moon. In 2024, based on the announcement by the moon-sighting committee in Saudi Arabia, the first day of fasting will be Monday, March 11. The duration of fasting during Ramadan can be anywhere from 12 to 17 hours, depending on the geographical location of Muslims around the world.

Muslims believe that Ramadan is the month when the first verses of the holy book, the Quran, were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad more than 1,400 years ago. Fasting during this period involves abstinence from eating, drinking, smoking, and engaging in sexual relations from dawn until sunset. This practice is aimed at achieving greater "taqwa," or consciousness of God.

Why Ramadan starts on different dates

Ramadan begins approximately 10 to 12 days earlier each year. This is because the Islamic calendar follows the lunar Hijri calendar, which consists of months that are either 29 or 30 days long. As the lunar year is shorter than the solar year by 11 days, Ramadan shifts earlier in the Gregorian calendar each year.
For instance, in the year 2030, Ramadan will be observed twice – once beginning on January 5 and then starting on December 26.

The next time Ramadan will start after March 12 will be 33 years from now, in the year 2057. This constant shifting of Ramadan dates adds to the spiritual and cultural significance of the month.

Variation in fasting hours worldwide

The number of daylight hours during Ramadan varies across the world. Locations closer to the equator generally experience shorter fasting hours, while those farther away from the equator have longer fasting periods.
For example, Muslims living in southernmost countries like Chile or New Zealand will fast for approximately 12 hours, while those in northernmost regions like Iceland or Greenland will observe fasts of over 17 hours.

In the Northern Hemisphere, fasting hours will be slightly shorter in 2024 and will continue to decrease until 2031 when Ramadan will coincide with the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. After 2031, fasting hours will gradually increase until they reach the summer solstice, the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.
Conversely, in the Southern Hemisphere, the opposite will occur, with fasting hours gradually increasing in upcoming years.

In extreme northern cities like Longyearbyen in Norway, where the sun does not set from April 20 to August 22, Muslims follow the timings in Mecca or the nearest Muslim country. This exception allows Muslims living in regions with prolonged daylight to observe their fasts correctly.

Fasting Hours Across the World

Understanding the geographical variation in fasting hours during Ramadan sheds light on the diverse experiences of Muslims worldwide. Let's explore how daylight hours differ across different regions.

Northern Hemisphere vs. Southern Hemisphere fasting

In the Northern Hemisphere, fasting hours during Ramadan will be as follows:
Nuuk, Greenland: 16 hours

  • Reykjavik, Iceland: 16 hours

  • Helsinki, Finland: 15 hours

  • Oslo, Norway: 15 hours

  • Glasgow, Scotland: 15 hours

  • Berlin, Germany: 15 hours

  • Dublin, Ireland: 15 hours

  • Moscow, Russia: 15 hours

  • Amsterdam, the Netherlands: 15 hours

  • Warsaw, Poland: 15 hours

  • Astana, Kazakhstan: 15 hours

On the other hand, in the Southern Hemisphere, the fasting hours will be shorter. For example:
Brasilia, Brazil: 13 hours

  • Johannesburg, South Africa: 13 hours

  • Canberra, Australia: 13 hours

  • Puerto Montt, Chile: 13 hours

  • Christchurch, New Zealand: 13 hours

These variations exist due to the differing lengths of daylight hours in different parts of the world.

Cities with longest and shortest fasting hours

Amongst the cities worldwide, some experience longer fasting hours during Ramadan. The cities with the longest fasting periods include Nuuk, Greenland; Reykjavik, Iceland; and Helsinki, Finland, all with fasting durations of 15 to 16 hours.

Conversely, certain cities have shorter fasting hours:
Doha, Qatar: 13-14 hours

  • Dubai, UAE: 13-14 hours

  • Cairo, Egypt: 13-14 hours

  • Islamabad, Pakistan: 14 hours

  • Beijing, China: 14 hours

  • London, UK: 14 hours

These variations offer a glimpse into the diverse experiences of Muslims during Ramadan worldwide.

International Iftar Times

Iftar, the meal to break the fast after sunset, holds immense significance during Ramadan. The timing of iftar varies based on the geographical location of different cities worldwide.

Similar iftar times for cities along the same longitude

Cities situated approximately along the same longitude tend to have similar iftar times due to their proximity.
Conversely, cities on opposite sides of the globe will experience different meal times. This unique aspect of Ramadan showcases the global unity among Muslims as they break their fasts together.

To visualize this phenomenon, refer to the infographic below, which displays cities having suhoor while others have their iftar.

[Infographic goes here]

Ramadan Cultural Observances

During Ramadan, Muslims across the world engage in various cultural observances that are deeply rooted in tradition and spirituality. Let's explore some of these practices.

Ramadan greetings in different languages

As Ramadan is celebrated globally, various Muslim-majority nations have their own personalized greetings in their native languages. The most common greetings exchanged during this period are "Ramadan Mubarak" and "Ramadan Kareem." The former is used to wish others a blessed month, while the latter conveys the hope for a generous month.

Significance of fasting in Ramadan

Fasting during Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, which are the fundamental acts of worship for Muslims. Muslims observe fasting from dawn until sunset to achieve Taqwa, a state of increased consciousness and closeness to God. The practice of fasting helps individuals develop self-discipline, empathy, and gratitude, while also reminding them of the importance of charity and community.

Recommended activities during Ramadan

Apart from fasting, Muslims engage in various practices to enhance their spiritual experience during Ramadan. These activities may include increased prayer (Taraweeh), recitation and study of the Quran, acts of charity (Zakat), and spending time with family and friends.
Moreover, many Muslims choose to reflect, seek forgiveness, and engage in introspection to strengthen their connection with God.


To address common questions about Ramadan, let's examine some frequently asked queries related to the start and celebration of Ramadan in the year 2024.

When is Ramadan 2024 expected to begin in Saudi Arabia?

Based on the official announcement by the moon-sighting committee, Ramadan is expected to begin in Saudi Arabia on Monday, March 11, 2024.

What is the significance of Ramadan in Saudi Ara- bia and around the world?

Ramadan holds deep cultural and religious significance in Saudi Arabia and around the world. It is a time for introspection, self-discipline, and spiritual growth. The month is also marked by increased acts of charity and community engagement.

Where can I find the Ramadan timetable for 2024 in Saudi Arabia?

The Ramadan timetable for 2024 in Saudi Arabia can be found on local Islamic organizations' websites, mosques, and through official religious authorities.

What are the important dates to remember during Ramadan in 2024?

Aside from the start of Ramadan on March 11, 2024, there are several other dates of significance. These include Laylat al-Qadr, the Night of Power, which is considered the holiest night of the year. It is believed to be the night when the first verses of the Quran were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. Additionally, Eid-al-Fitr, the festive celebration marking the end of Ramadan, falls on April 9, 2024.

As we approach Ramadan 2024, let us embrace this sacred month with gratitude and reflection. It is a time to deepen our spiritual connections, engage in acts of kindness, and foster unity among all individuals. May this Ramadan bring peace, blessings, and fulfillment to all Muslims around the world.

To explore this topic further and access related content, please visit the source websites mentioned below:


  1. Ramadan 2024: Fasting hours and iftar times around the world

  2. The date of Start of Ramadan for the years 2024‑2034 -

  3. Ramadan 2024 Fasting Hours Around the World - Y20 India