The month of Ramadan begins today and is observed by all practicing and able Muslims around the globe.
For 30 days, an estimated 1.5 billion followers will refrain from eating, drinking, smoking, and any vices. Fasting also involves the avoidance of ill speech and unnecessary talk and is an opportunity to make these habits permanent if sustained.
Ramadan 2019 will begin upon sighting of the new moon, 5th May 2019 and will end on 4th June 2019 in the UK.
Muslims are required to fast from dusk til dawn.
Why do Muslims fast?
Ramadan is considered holy to Muslims who believe that it was in this month the Quran was revealed.
Believers take this opportunity to renew family bonds, carry out good deeds, exercise self-discipline, practice charity and exorcise addictions such as smoking and eating junk food.
It is also a time to increase spirituality and tranquility and many believers perform supererogatory prayers including Taraweeh (following Isha) and Tahajjud (the night prayer).
Benefits of fasting include reduced anxiety and depression, as well as minimizing the risk of dementia.
A study conducted in 1997 in the Annals of Nutrition Metabolism demonstrated that fasting lowered bad “LDL” cholesterol levels by 8 percent, triglyceride by 30 percent, and increased good “HDL” levels by 14.3 percent thereby protecting your heart from cardiovascular disease.Al Arabiya News
Fasting is considered compulsory except for the elderly, the infirm and those travelling. If fasting on food is likely to cause complications then it is not required.