This year, the holy month of Ramadan will start in Tajikistan on March 23, according to the Committee on Religious Affairs under the Government of Tajikistan (CRA).   

The exact start date of Ramadan was announced at a general meeting of members of the Shuroi Ulamo (Council of Ulema – Tajikistan’s highest Islamic institution) that took place in Dushanbe on March 17. 

Besides, performance of Taraweeh (additional ritual prayers performed by Muslims at night after the Isha prayer during the holy month of Ramadan), was also announced at the general meeting.

A person who cannot keep fast during the holy month of Ramadan must donate 420.00 somonis (41.00 per each day of the month).  

The fasting, which is the fourth pillar of Islam, is practiced during the month of Ramadan.  Ramadan is derived from an Arabic word for intense heat and sun-scorched ground.  It is the ninth month of the Islamic (Hijri) calendar, established in the year 638 CE.  It is considered the most venerated, blessed and spiritually-beneficial month of the Islamic year.  Prayers, fasting, charity, and self-accountability are especially stressed at this time; religious observances associated with Ramadan are kept throughout the month.

The most prominent event of this month is the fasting practiced by observant Muslims.  Every day during the month of Ramadan, Muslims around the world get up before dawn to eat the Suhoor meal (the predawn meal) and perform their fajr prayer.  They break their fast when the fourth prayer of the day, Maghrib (sunset), is due.

During Ramadan, Muslims are expected to put more effort into following the teachings of Islam and to avoid obscene and irreligious sights and sounds.  Purity of both thought and action is important.  The fast is intended to be an exacting act of deep personal worship in which Muslims seek a raised level of closeness to God Almighty.  The act of fasting is said to redirect the heart away from worldly activities, its purpose being to cleanse the inner soul and free it from harm.  Properly observing the fast is supposed to induce a comfortable feeling of peace and calm.  It also allows Muslims to practice self-discipline, sacrifice, and sympathy for those who are less fortunate, intended to make Muslims more generous and charitable.  Muslims can eat after the sun has set.  Pregnant women, the elderly, the ill, travelers and children who have not reached puberty are all exempt from fasting as lack of food and liquid in these situations could be detrimental to health.