Advertisement
Our editorial team is dedicated to finding and telling you more about the products and deals we love. If you love them too and decide to purchase through the links below, we may receive a commission. Prices were correct at the time of publication.

When is Ramadan 2024 and 7 common misconceptions about Ramadan

As plenty of Muslims around the world prepare for the holiest month in the Islamic calendar, let’s look into some of the common misconceptions that people tend to have about Ramadan and fasting.

Family celebrating Ramadan. (PHOTO: Getty Images)
Family celebrating Ramadan. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

This year, according to the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis), Ramadan begins on 12 March 2024 and the end of Ramadan will usher in Hari Raya Aidilfitri, also known as Hari Raya Puasa on 10 April 2024. For one entire month, Muslims devote themselves to self-improvement, reflection and commit to following the teachings of Islam more closely.

Following the start of Ramadan, we will see the return of bazaars. Ramadan bazaars are a staple in parts of Asia such as Singapore and Malaysia. Both Muslims and non-Muslims would converge to get their hands on delicious foods and one-of-a-kind food creations available once a year.

In Singapore, The Kampong Glam heritage precinct will hold its largest and longest-running bazaar a week before fasting starts until 5 April. The stalls will be spread out along Kandahar Street, Muscat Street and Baghdad Street. In addition, the Geylang Serai Ramadan Bazaar will run from 8 March to 10 April. Expect over 500 stalls selling food, drinks, homewares, fashion and more to shop from.

As plenty of Muslims around the world prepare for the holiest month in the Islamic calendar, let’s look into some of the common misconceptions that people tend to have about Ramadan and fasting.

1. Ramadan is only about abstaining from food and drink

Big no!

On the contrary, the entire month of Ramadan is dedicated to Muslims to be the very best versions of themselves — both physically and spiritually.

While fasting is a major part of Ramadan, Muslims are encouraged to abstain from habits that are not necessarily beneficial to them, like smoking and gossiping. Essentially, the entire month is viewed as an opportunity to reset and reflect.

In some parts of the world, like Indonesia, Javanese Muslims partake in a ritual bath called padusan to cleanse themselves in nearby lakes and pools. In parts of Malaysia, volunteers in villages may get up early to announce the start of the predawn meal through traditional instruments and songs.

2. Everyone has to fast

Another common misconception is that fasting is necessary for everyone.

The truth is that fasting needs only be performed by people who are physically and mentally fit and are actually physically able to. Those who are sick, menstruating, or travelling can forgo their fast for the day and “make up” for it by fasting on a different day.

Those experiencing long-term illnesses who cannot fast have the option of paying fidyah — a form of religious donation.

A Sahur meal. (PHOTO: Getty Images)
A Sahur meal. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

3. Ramadan starts on the same date every year

Much like the Lunar New Year and Diwali, Ramadan too follows a religious lunar calendar. What is consistent, though, is that Ramadan occurs on the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar.

4. Absolutely no food for 30 days, straight

Not exactly. There is a set number of hours for Muslims to follow when fasting; this usually occurs between the hours of sunrise and sunset. Outside of fasting hours, Muslims are allowed to eat.

However, what has to be noted is that because of the various time differences around the world, fasting hours can vary between 11 to 20 hours.

For example, in parts of Malaysia, fasting hours can go up to 13.5 hours, while countries like New Zealand and Australia fast for approximately 11.5 hours.

5. Brushing your teeth could break the fast

Not true. Cleaning your teeth, gargling, and using mouthwash is completely fine to do while fasting. Even if you do accidentally swallow some water or mouthwash, your fast is still considered valid.

(PHOTO: Getty Images)
(PHOTO: Getty Images)

6. Fasting is a great way to lose weight

Yes and no. For some, fasting helps them lost water weight easily. However, it has to be said that because you tend to eat two big meals at dawn and dusk respectively, you may just end up gaining weight.

7. It’s rude for non-Muslims to eat in front of people who fast

Not at all. The act of fasting and the entire spirit of Ramadan is about learning self-control, reflecting, and heightened devotion and worship to God. That being said, while it’s not rude to eat in front of Muslims, trying to persuade or force Muslims to give up their fast is.

While you're here, shop for dates as gifts for friends or loved ones:

Kimia Dates

S$40.40 at Amazon Singapore

Kimia Dates. (PHOTO: Amazon Singapore)
Kimia Dates. (PHOTO: Amazon Singapore)

Kimia dates are chewy with a sweet flavour. There are several ways to add dates to your diet. One popular way to eat them is as a natural sweetener in various dishes. They also make a great snack.

Bard Valley Natural Delights Medjool Dates

S$11.90 at Amazon Singapore

Bard Valley Natural Delights Medjool Dates. (PHOTO: Amazon Singapore)
Bard Valley Natural Delights Medjool Dates. (PHOTO: Amazon Singapore)

Whole Medjool dates are the true bounty of Bard Valley. It’s a grab­-and­-go whole fruit snack fit for everyone. And you can even find them in the fresh produce department too.

Premium Emirates Khudri Dates

S$20.50 S$25 at Lazada

Premium Emirates Khudri Dates. (PHOTO: Lazada Singapore)
Premium Emirates Khudri Dates. (PHOTO: Lazada Singapore)

These Khudri dates are imported from Saudi Arabia. These dates are high in quality and are natural sweeteners. Satisfied customers praised these dates for their "good texture", for having "the right sweetness level" and how "value for money" it is.

Eid Hampers Dates and Adult Turkey Prayer Mats

S$19.51 at Shopee

Eid Hampers Dates and Adult Turkey Prayer Mats. (PHOTO: Shopee Singapore)
Eid Hampers Dates and Adult Turkey Prayer Mats. (PHOTO: Shopee Singapore)

A thoughtful gift just for yourself or your loved ones. Buy this gift set that contains a soft and comfortable Turkey prayer mat that comes with a box of dates. One satisfied customer shared, "Have ordered here several times and always satisfied with the quality of the product and the price. Neat packaging and fast delivery."

Eid hamper Pashmina Dates

S$15.15 at Shopee

Eid Hamper Pashmina Set. (PHOTO: Shopee)
Eid Hamper Pashmina Set. (PHOTO: Shopee)

Looking for a fashionable gift? This gift set includes a box of dates and a pashmina shawl made of chenille material and sewn with tassels.

SG Telegram banner. (PHOTO: Yahoo Life Singapore)
SG Telegram banner.
Yahoo Shopping Southeast Asia
Yahoo Shopping Southeast Asia