When is Ramadan 2020 and what are the UK fasting and prayer times?

Every year, Muslims around the world celebrate the holy month of Ramadan.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and traditionally begins with the sighting of the crescent moon. Because of this, the date varies every year – depending on the lunar cycle.

The month is a time for reflection, fasting and to be with family and friends.

Fasting during Ramadan – which is one of the five pillars of Islam – takes place from sunrise to sunset.

Suhur is a meal consumed early in the morning before the fajr prayer. Once Suhur has been eaten, individuals fast for the whole day and then break it with Iftar.

Here’s what to know about the sacred, month-long observance…

When is Ramadan 2020?

This year, Ramadan starts on the evening of Thursday 23 April and ends on Saturday 23 May.

Some countries and communities begin Ramadan when the crescent Moon is first seen. For example, the United Arab Emirates’ moon-sighting committee meets tonight to look for the crescent moon to mark the start of Ramadan.

But in some areas, weather conditions hide the moon – so the start is delayed.

Others go off the date and time of the New Moon known in advance – even if it is not visible to the eye on the night.

Why does it change every year?

Charity Muslim Aid explains: ‘The Islamic calendar is based on the lunar cycle, and as a result of this, the Holy month of Ramadan rotates by approximately 10 days each year.’

UK variations relative to London (Time Fast Begins, Time Fast Ends)

Birmingham: (8 minutes later, 6 minutes later)

Bradford: (9 minutes later, 8 minutes later)

Cardiff: (13 minutes later, 12 minutes later)

Glasgow: (22 minutes later, 40 minutes later)

Leeds: (7 minutes later, 4 minutes later)

Liverpool: (12 minutes later, 9 minutes later)

Manchester: (10 minutes later, 7 minutes later)

Middlesbrough: (8 minutes later, 14 minutes later)

Muslims perform five daily prayers – known collectively as the Salat. The Fajr takes place before sunrise, the Zuhr happens after noon, the Asr is observed in the late afternoon, the Maghrib occurs after sunset and the Isha is the final one at night.

Will coronavirus affect Ramadan?

During Ramadan, Muslims usually attend mosques for prayers every day but, due to social distancing measures, these have been moved online.

There’s also guidance on fasting for those who are vulnerable to coronavirus and for anyone working long hours as key workers.

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