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Ramadan in Saudi Arabia: Everything You Need to Know

Are you interested in celebrating Ramadan in Saudi Arabia? Ramadan is the holiest month of the year for Muslims, so it is an important time in the Kingdom.

It is expected to begin on Thursday, March 22, 2023, though this will be confirmed the night before based on the sighting of the new moon.

When the crescent moon (called hilal) coincides with the astronomical new moon, Ramadan begins.

The moon sighting committee in Saudi Arabia determines the exact date. This is a gathering of astronomers and Muslim advisors to search for the new crescent moon. Ramadan begins the next day after the moon is sighted using advanced equipment.

Riyadh Night View

What exactly is Ramadan?

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Hijiri calendar and is considered the holiest month because the Quran is said to have been revealed to the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) during this time.

During Ramadan, Muslims refrain from eating or drinking between the hours of dawn and sunset, which are marked by the morning fajr and evening maghrib prayers. The fast can be broken once maghrib prayers begin.

Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) broke his fast with water and a date, and most people still do so to respect the Sunnah (practices of the Prophet), before proceeding to a light meal. A break in eating is then advised so that the stomach does not become overly full too quickly before having another light meal.

In addition to fasting from food, Muslims use the month for introspection, charity, and gratitude for what they have.

The Moon Sighting Committee reconvenes the day before the 30th day of Ramadan to look for the new crescent moon. If they see it, the following day will be the start of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the month-long celebration.

Why is it important to fast during Ramadan?

It's a self-control exercise meant to remind people of those less fortunate and to give those who fast a chance to detoxify their bodies and minds. It allows people to concentrate solely on their faith. Fasting is one of Islam's five pillars, Iftar breaks the fast and is followed by suhoor, a pre-dawn meal to get people through the day. Non-Muslims are permitted to eat during the day, but only in a concealed location.

Is it permissible to publicly break the fast in certain circumstances?

People with medical conditions, pregnant women, and menstruating women are exempt from fasting. They must, however, follow the same rules as everyone else, such as not eating or drinking in public places and using designated screened-off areas in public that are well hidden from view.

What exactly are iftar and suhoor?

Iftar is a meal served after sunset to break the fast. Before going to evening prayer, most people will eat dates, dried apricots, and juice. Following that, large meals, usually with family and friends, became the norm.

Suhoor is a meal eaten just before sunrise before the fasting day begins. Many hotels offer smaller buffets, traditional activities, and other amenities until dawn during Ramadan.

What are the working hours in Saudi Arabia during Ramadan?

According to the Ministry of Human Resources, the official number of working hours is five, with work beginning at 10 a.m. and ending at 3 p.m.

In Saudi Arabia, are school hours different during Ramadan?

Yes, but the times will most likely vary from school to school.

Are restaurants and cafés open during the day in Saudi Arabia during Ramadan?

Restaurants in Saudi Arabia will be open later in the day during Ramadan. Buffets in hotels and restaurants typically serve traditional Saudi food and bites to break the fast, as well as dates, juices, and other beverages.

Are stores and shopping malls open?

Malls and stores will be open as usual, however, a few of them may be closed during the Iftaar, Suhoor, and Salah times. In Saudi Arabia, supermarkets and pharmacies will remain open throughout Ramadan.


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