Since this is my first Ramadan in Italy, I was surprised to see how many questions people
had about the fasting process and the month in general. Therefore, I collected some of the
most frequently asked questions and will be answering them.
What is Ramadan exactly? Why do you have to fast?
It is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Muslims fast during the month of Ramadan to
commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to the prophet Muhammad. It is said that
muslims must fast to strengthen themselves in terms of patience, humility, and obedience. It
reminds those who fast of the struggles of the underprivileged, who have limited access to
food due to their conditions.
What is fasting? Does everyone have to fast?
Fasting is abstaining from food, water, and smoking from sunrise till sunset. It is obligatory
for all muslims. However, there are exceptions: You are not obligated to fast if you are a
prepubescent child, pregnant, traveling, or if you’re unable to because of old age, or a
physical or mental illness, among several other reasons. Basically, you are not allowed to
fast if it compromises your health in any way. Regarding some of these exceptions (old age,
pregnant), you are expected to donate a sum of money enough to sustain a poor person with
food for one day for each day you miss.
Is it healthy to not eat or drink for so many hours everyday?
Fasting is safe for healthy people, and is said to have many benefits, such as improved
focus, lowering cholesterol levels, and detoxifying the digestive system. In addition, since
those who fast shouldn’t consume anything for most hours of the day, fasting helps you kick
nicotine or caffeine addiction.
Can you do any sports?
Generally yes, as long as you don’t overdo it and exhaust yourself, but a light workout is
Do you have to fast during exams?
This question is highly debated as there is no direct answer. Many religious experts said that
it is not obligatory to fast if it impedes your focus and obstructs your performance in the
exams. However, many other religious experts disagree and say it obligatory.