RAMADAN IN NUMBERS
Why does the duration of Ramadan change? How long will Muslims in different countries have to fast? Get the key numbers here…
7,504,984 tonnes of dates produced
Muslims traditionally use dates to break their fast, so sales of this sweet fruit soar during Ramadan. Medjool and Halawi may sound exotic but there are some more surprisingly named date variants because sellers often give the best crop gimmicky names.
In 2009, the Obama date could be found after the US President’s trip to Egypt. In 2011, buyers could purchase the Tahrir Square date and this year, according to Al Arabiya news channel, the Sisi date is being advertised on stalls across the country.
The FAO estimate that 7.5 million tonnes of the sticky stuff were produced in 2011.
After Christianity, Islam is the second largest religion in the world according to Pew Research Center. Although the association with the Middle East appears unshakeable, 2 in 3 Muslims live in the Asia-Pacific region and Indonesia alone has more than 209 million Muslims.
Muslim residents in the UAE will have to abstain from food and drink for 15 hours each day during the holy month – no easy task given that temperatures in July can soar upwards of 50ºC.
Fasting from sunrise to sunset means that the Ramadan experience can vary hugely for Muslims in different countries – in Sweden (home to more than 350,000 Muslims) the day may stretch more than 20 hours, while in Argentina
it is just 9.
Charity is one of the five main obligations for all Muslims, but Ramadan is a time
when giving is considered particularly important. At a minimum, zakāt (meaning
‘the poor rate’) requires that Muslims donate around 2.5% of what they earn on
According to Article 68 of Oman’s labour law, it is illegal to work more than six
hours a day during Ramadan. The economic consequences of Ramadan have long
been researched and are a contested topic. Productivity tends to decline in Muslim
countries while demand for cultural, religious and gift products can increase
Saudi Arabia has a foreign population of 6.5 million according to official estimates,
including 1.8 million Indians and 1.4 million Filipinos. But the gulf state may not be the most hospitable place for them after it issued a warning on Wednesday that
any foreigners who eat, drink or smoke in public during Ramadan “will face legal
action commensurate with their violation” … “punishment could be a prison term
or lashes or both while foreigners could, in addition, be deported from the kingdom”.
Meanwhile, Muslim minorities in places like China’s Xinjiang region are prohibited from respecting Ramadan.
29 days (or 30?)
The duration of Ramadan changes from year to year because the Islamic calendar
is lunar. This year (1434, since the Islamic calendar starts 622 years after the
Gregorian one) there is again disagreement because the new moon has to be
sighted with the naked eye to mark the start of the holiday.
Egypt, as well as countries in the Arab Gulf began fasting on Wednesday while
Muslims in Morocco had already started on Tuesday. In France, mosques have been divided about when they should begin, causing confusion for many of the