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Ramadan Kareem! A Note from a Native Egyptian

Ahmed Elswify, Staff Writer

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, commencing upon the visual

sighting of the last full moon of the year and enduring for either 29 or 30 days,

contingent upon the year. The celebration of Eid al-Fitr marks the conclusion of

Ramadan and the advent of the subsequent lunar month.

This year, Ramadan is expected to begin in the evening on Sunday,

March 10, 2024 and end on Tuesday, April 9, 2024., concluding with the

celebration of Eid al-Fitr. However, specific dates may vary depending on the lunar

calendar and regional moon sightings..


Ramadan originated as an observance of the first revelation of the Qur’an to Prophet

Mohammed. Throughout this sacred month, Muslims worldwide abstain from all food,

drink, and other physical necessities during daylight hours, including smoking and

intimacy. However, Ramadan transcends mere abstinence; it serves as a period for soul

purification, refocusing attention on God, and practicing self-discipline and sacrifice.


Fasting during Ramadan constitutes one of the Five Pillars of Islam, which are

foundational principles shaping a Muslim’s life. While prayer is a daily practice,

pilgrimage to Mecca (Makka) is a once-in-a-lifetime obligation, and charity and

professing faith are continuous, fasting during Ramadan is an annual observance. Each

year, Muslims devote an entire month to this rigorous fast, reaffirming their commitment

to worship and faith.

Muslims utilize this month to reassess their lives in light of Islamic principles, reconciling

with those they have wronged, strengthening familial bonds, and eliminating detrimental

habits. The Arabic term for "fasting" conveys not only abstaining from food and drink but

also refraining from malevolent actions, thoughts, and speech.

The physical rigors of fasting serve as a reminder of the plight of the less fortunate,

fostering empathy and gratitude among Muslims for the blessings bestowed upon them.

Ramadan underscores the importance of gratitude and altruism, prompting believers to

assist those in need.

Throughout Ramadan, every aspect of the body is to exercise restraint, refraining from

sinful behaviors and indulgences. Fasting transcends mere physical abstinence,

representing a holistic commitment of body and soul to the spirit of the fast. It is a period

for self-restraint, cleansing the body and soul of impurities, and recentering one’s focus

on worship and charitable deeds.

Ramadan embodies a time of fasting, reflection, devotion, generosity, and sacrifice

observed by Muslims worldwide. Unlike holidays of other faiths that have become

commercialized, Ramadan retains its profound spiritual significance. The word

"Ramadan" derives from the Arabic root for "parched thirst" and "sun-baked ground"

encapsulating the hunger and thirst experienced by fasting individuals.

In contrast to indulgent festivities, Ramadan inherently entails sacrifice. Through fasting,

Muslims empathize with the impoverished and develop heightened devotion, generosity,

and self-control. It provides an opportunity to cultivate healthy lifestyle habits and

strengthen communal bonds.

Ramadan holds profound significance for Muslims, with its lessons and sentiments

resonating throughout the year. Muslims are enjoined in the Qur’an to fast to "learn self-

restraint" (Qur’an 2:183). While these virtues are particularly palpable during Ramadan,

believers strive to embody them in their daily lives.

Why Belly Dance is Not Recommended During Ramadan:

Belly dancing, while culturally appreciated in various contexts, is not recommended

during Ramadan due to its physical nature and cultural associations. Ramadan

emphasizes self-discipline, spiritual reflection, and modesty. Belly dancing,

characterized by its sensual movements, contradicts these principles, making it

culturally inappropriate during this sacred month. Additionally, engaging in vigorous

physical activities, such as belly dancing, can be taxing for individuals observing the

fast, potentially compromising their energy levels and focus on worship. Therefore, it is

advisable to refrain from belly dancing during Ramadan out of respect for its spiritual

significance and cultural norms.

About the Author:

Ahmed Elswify is an Arabic language teacher with a Master's degree in Arabic

Linguistics and Literature, complemented by a diploma in Arabic culture. Alongside his

language courses, he offers comprehensive resources and short courses tailored for

travelers. Connect with Ahmed and explore his courses at

And arabic language Egyptian/ MSA Arabic

( or access his courses directly at

seeking quick Arabic learning solutions, Ahmed provides short courses accessible at

For inquiries and further information, contact Ahmed Elswify via email at

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