International Studies & Programs

Ramadan at MSU

A Brief Guide for 2023

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Published: Wednesday, 01 Feb 2023 Author:

Beginning in late March, many MSU students and employees will begin the month-long fast of Ramadan. As we work toward promoting a more inclusive Spartan community, here are some facts to consider:

Muslim Students
Photo credit: Dane Robison
  • Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar and is widely considered the month in which the Qur’an (Koran), the Islamic holy book, was first revealed. This year, Ramadan will begin at sunset on March 22nd, give or take a day (depending on when the new moon is sighted), and will last 29 or 30 days. As the Islamic year is approximately 11 days shorter than the Gregorian year, Ramadan in 2024 will begin around March 11.
  • Fasting in the month of Ramadan is one of the “five pillars” of Islam. The Qur’an (2:183) states that fasting was prescribed so that believers may attain God consciousness. Accordingly, Ramadan is widely regarded as a month of spiritual growth.
  • Practicing Muslims who are able to do so are expected to abstain from eating, drinking (including water), and sexual relations from dawn to sunset each day of the month. Many Muslims will also perform various prayers and acts of devotion, especially at night, sometimes past midnight. And as many adherents also wake up early for predawn meals, they may experience not just hunger and thirst but also fatigue.
  • Those who are ill, traveling, or unable to fast for other reasons are exempt from the Ramadan fast. Those who are able to do so are expected to make up the missed days at a later time.
  • The end of Ramadan is marked by the Islamic holiday Eid al-Fitr (“the festival of the breaking of the fast”). This year, Eid al-Fitr will begin at sunset on April 20th, and will include a prayer on the morning of April 21st, give or take a day. Eid al-Fitr is one of the two major Islamic holidays, the other being Eid al-Adha (“the festival of sacrifice”), which overlaps with the annual Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca). This year, Eid al-Adha will begin at sunset on June 27th, and will include a prayer on the morning of June 28th, give or take a day.

Learn more about Ramadan in the following resources:

Questions? Please feel free to contact Mohammad Hassan Khalil, director of the Muslim Studies Program and Professor of Religious Studies at Michigan State University at khalilmo(at)