Here’s this year’s Ramadan timetable - and how lockdown could impact celebrations
This year, Ramadan will begin on the evening of Thursday 23 April, and end a month later on the evening of Saturday 23 May 2020.
The Islamic calendar is based on the lunar cycle, and therefore the dates of Ramadan change each year. The Ramadan timetable varies slightly due to the time that the sun sets, depending on your location in the UK.
Here’s what you need to know about the Ramadan timetable during 2020.
Sawm, which is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, will begin a few hours after the sighting of the moon at sunrise and continue until sunset.
The other four pillars are faith, prayer, charity and making the pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca.
However, Muslim Aid adds that “it is essential to familiarise yourself with the dates and times for Ramadan 2020 with our timetable, as anyone who is still eating their pre-dawn meal (suhoor) following the completion of the call to prayer (Fajr) is disqualified from that day’s fast.”
The day’s fast is then completed at sunset and the Maghrib prayers can begin. It is traditional to end your fast by eating dates, before the evening meal with family and friends.
The Central London Mosque and the East London Mosque have compiled Ramadan timetables. These give worshippers the information they need to observe the fast correctly, but apply to London only as the times of sunrise and sunset vary across the rest of the UK, depending on location.
These are the key timings day-by-day for Fajr and Maghrib, which is when the fast begins and ends, dependent on exactly when Ramadan begins.
Ramadan timetable (Time Fast Begins, Time Fast Ends)
Thur 23 April: 4.10am, 8.14pmFri 24 April: 4.07am, 8.16pmSat 25 April: 4.05am, 8.18pmSun 26 April: 4.03am, 8.19pmMon 27 April: 4.00am, 8.21pmTue 28 April: 3.58am, 8.23pmWed 29 April: 3.57am, 8.24pmThur 30 April: 3.54am, 8.26pmFri 1 May: 3.51am, 8.28pmSat 2 May: 3.49am, 8.29pmSun 3 May: 3.46am, 8.31pmMon 4 May: 3.44am, 8.32pmTue 5 May: 3.41am, 8.34pmWed 6 May: 3.40am, 8.36pmThu 7 May: 3.37am, 8.37pmFri 8 May: 3.35am, 8.39pmSat 9 May: 3.33am, 8.40pmSun 10 May: 3.31am, 8.42pmMon 11 May: 3.28am, 8.43pmTue 12 May: 3.27am, 8.45pmWed 13 May: 3.24am, 8.47pmThu 14 May: 3.23am, 8.48pmFri 15 May: 3.20am, 8.50pmSat 16 May: 3.19am, 8.51pmSun 17 May: 3.16am, 8.53pmMon 18 May: 3.15am, 8.54pmTue 19 May: 3.13am, 8.55pmWed 20 May: 3.11am, 8.57pmThu 21 May: 3.09am, 8.58pmFri 22 May: 3.08am, 9.00pmSat 23 May: 3.06am, 9.01pmSun 24 May: 3.03am, 9.02pm
However, charity Muslim Hands has provided a quick guide for observers to be able adjust the fast timetable to apply to their location:
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)
What is Ramadan?
During the month of Ramadan, Muslims take part in fasting, which means that they do not eat or drink between dawn and sunset.
Ramadan is also a time for undertaking charity work, spending time with family and friends, spiritual reflection and prayer.
What is Iftar?
Each night during Ramadan, the fast is broken with a meal named Iftar. This takes place at sunset.
What is Eid al-Fitr?
Eid al-Fitr takes place as the month of Ramadan draws to a close.
However, the date when Eid is celebrated is dependent on the sighting of the new moon - once the sighting is confirmed, the festival can begin.
Eid al-Fitr for 2020 is expected to fall on Saturday 23 May 2020 or Sunday 24 May 2020, but with the start of Ramadan, this is subject to the official sighting of the moon.
Muslim Aid explains that for the date of Eid, “it is always best to check with your local Mosque for confirmation nearer the time.”
UK lockdown and Ramadan
Those who observe Ramadan are likely to have a very different experience this year as the coronavirus pandemic continues and the UK currently remains in lockdown.
Muslims typically attend mosques to undertake prayers, but with social distancing measures in place, prayers, charity work and seeing friends and family during Ramadan will move online.
There is now also guidance on fasting for NHS staff during the Cov-19 outbreak, with a sensible approach in place also urged by community leaders.