Behind the numbers: fasting during Ramadan

Article published on July 15, 2015
Article published on July 15, 2015

It's currently Ramadan – the holy month for practising Muslims, during which they must refrain from eating, drinking, smoking and having sex from dawn till dusk. The longest fasting day happened in Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland: 21 hours and 57 minutes, from 2:03 am to midnight.

For 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide, Ramadan is the holy month, during which Gabriel the Archangel ('Jibril' in Arabic) revealed himself to Muhammad and recited to him the verses of the Qur'an, the holy book of the Muslims.

During Ramadan, Muslims are required to maintain the utmost discipline and devote themselves to prayer. In addition to strict fasting, they must not moisten their throats with spray, immerse their whole heads in water, undergo enema or induce vomiting. But Ramadan, beyond fasting, is also an opportunity to pursue one of the main virtues taught in the Qur'an: charity. So generosity is also one of the main values ​​conveyed by this holy month.

The Muslims who have to fast the longest are those living in Iceland. At the beginning of Ramadan in Reykjavik, fasting lasted as long as 21 hours and 57 minutes – from 2:03 am to midnight. On the contrary, Australian Muslims have to fast for the shortest time: in Sydney, fasting went on for 11 hours and 24 minutes at the beginning of the holy month – from 5:29 am to 4:53 pm.

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This article is part of our Behind the Numbers series, illustrating newsworthy stats with artistic design and a brief analysis.