Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, places great importance on Ramadan and uniquely observes this holy month.
Ramadan occurs during the ninth month of the Islamic Hijri (lunar) calendar. It is a time of spiritual reflection, prayer, and fasting. It is also widely considered the holiest and most sacred month of the Islamic calendar.
Ramadan is observed by more than 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide, accounting for more than 24% of the global population.
The Prophet received the revelation of the Quran. It is believed to be the month when the Prophet (PBUH) received the revelation of the Quran.
Islam teaches the importance of Ramadan among its five pillars. Muslims worldwide observe this holy month by fasting, praying, and reflecting on their faith.
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Start Of The Holy Month (New Moon Sighting)
Many people are curious as to when Ramadan 2023 will begin. The holy month starts with the sighting of the new moon (referred to as hilal).
Although it has been predicted that Ramadan 2023 in Saudi Arabia will start on Thursday, March 23, 2023. Consequently, the Eid ul-Fitr festival will occur on Friday, April 21, 2023. However, the exact dates will be confirmed closer to the beginning of Ramadan.
Every Islamic country is responsible for forming a committee of senior Islamic scholars and meteorologists to oversee moon sightings.
The moon sighting committee of Saudi Arabia is a government-appointed body. It consists of a group of knowledgeable Islamic scholars, astronomers, and government officials.
They observe the sky from various locations throughout the country to look for the crescent moon. After sighting the moon, usually, the supreme court announces the start of Ramadan month to the public.
During Ramadan 2023 in Saudi Arabia, many businesses and government offices may have reduced hours or be closed altogether as Muslims observe the daily fast from dawn until sunset.
Businesses Hours In Ramadan 2023
The Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) has announced work timings for some businesses for Ramadan 2023 and the Eid holidays.
Bank branches and offices during Ramadan 2023 will operate from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Money transfer centers, on the other hand, will be open from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM.
The statement also mentions that bank offices located in the Hajj terminals of airports and seaports, in Makkah and Madinah, and at border crossings will continue to provide services to Hajj and Umrah pilgrims and visitors during the holidays.
SAMA also noted that a selection of branches and money transfer centers would remain operational. But this is limited to areas where it is necessary to keep bank branches open during specific holiday periods.
According to the Ministry of Human Resources announcement last year, 2022, other businesses are likely to have their working hours reduced to five hours per day, commencing at 10:00 AM and concluding at 3:00 PM.
SAMA has also disclosed the dates for the Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha holidaysin addition to the working hours for Ramadan 2023.
The Eid Al-Fitr 2023 holiday is set to commence at the end of the workday on Monday, April 17. This follow with work resuming on Tuesday, April 25.
The Eid Al-Adha 2023 holiday will begin at the end of the workday on Monday, June 22. While work will resume on Tuesday, July 2.
Ramadan in Saudi Arabia: A Time of Spiritual Reflection and Devotion
The month of Ramadan carries great spiritual significance for Muslims across the globe. It is especially true in Saudi Arabia, where the holy month is celebrated with reverence and devotion.
The month-long fast is considered a crucial part of this process. Muslims abstain from food, drink, and other physical needs during daylight hours to purify body and soul, strengthen one’s faith, and develop patience, self-discipline, and gratitude to Allah for all his blessings.
In addition to fasting, Ramadan in Saudi Arabia is about much more. It is a time of increased prayer and devotion, with Muslims coming together to connect with God and deepen their understanding of the Islamic faith.
Muslims may attend extra prayers at the mosque during this time, and the recitation of the Quran is particularly emphasized.
In this article, we will look into the unique customs and traditions that make Ramadan in Saudi Arabia such a special time and look at what people do during Ramadan.
One of the essential features of Ramadan in Saudi Arabia is the nightly Taraweeh prayers. Taraweeh is a special prayer comprising 20 rakats offered with isha namaz during Ramadan.
These prayers are held in mosques throughout the country, and thousands of Muslims gather to pray and listen to recitations from the Quran.
Ramadan is also a time of charity; Muslims focus on their spiritual journey and serving their communities. It is a time of generosity and kindness, where individuals, businesses, and organizations come together to help those in need.
From providing essential food items and clothing to organizing group iftar and suhoor meals, Muslims strive to leave no one behind in their efforts to earn the pleasure of their Creator.
Through these acts of compassion, they seek to embody the true spirit of Ramadan and spread love and kindness to those around them.
Saudi Arabia has a growing number of charitable institutions that provide their services to beneficiaries through various means, especially during Ramadan.
Names of a few are listed below:
In 2022, The Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA) launched the National Platform “Ehsan” to support charitable giving in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, according to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
It offers a variety of causes that people can donate to, including food baskets for families, care for the elderly, medical care, and education tuition for orphans.
You can donate through the platform’s website, its benefactor call center / 8001247000, and by text message.
Live to Give, in Jeddah, distributes daily iftar meals and grocery boxes in poor neighborhoods during Ramadan.
The Joy of Youth volunteer group was founded in Jeddah and has now expanded to different cities across the Kingdom.
They distribute 300 to 500 iftar meals and essentials to people every weekend during Ramadan. Passengers and staff at Jeddah airport also benefit from the charity.
An organization based in Riyadh, Khutwat Khair, aims to raise awareness through memorable experiences, help communities in need, and allow the younger generation to become involved in good works.
Ramadan Night Market:
Another popular event is the Ramadan night market, where vendors set up stalls and sell various goods, including traditional food, clothing, and handicrafts.
These night markets are typically held in public areas, such as parks, near mosques, large privately owned exhibition halls, and five-star hotels.
Women of all ages wear their best Abayas and prettiest traditional Ramadan outfits to attend these events. These Bazaars open late into the night, allowing people to shop and socialize after the iftar meal.
Several stalls provide food and refreshments, so customers can dine on sweets, dates, or canapés and have Arabic coffee while they look around the stalls.
Ramadan tents are another popular feature of Ramadan in Saudi Arabia. Usually decorated with lights, these tents are erected nationwide to provide a place for people to gather and socialize.
Ramadan tents have always been popular during the holy month and were often confined to hotel rooftops and halls, mainly providing iftar and suhoor.
Lastly, the date market is another essential part of Ramadan in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabians rely heavily on dates for their diet during Ramadan, and there are many markets around the country where they buy and sell dates.
Markets like these provide a variety of dates, from the traditional Ajwa date to more exotic varieties, so that people can stock up on this food item for the rest of the year.
Some of the most famous dates of Saudi Arabia include the Ajwa, Amber, Khudri, and Sukkari, which are sought after for their unique flavors and textures.
Finally, Ramadan concludes with the celebration of Eid ul-Fitr, which marks the end of the month-long fast. Eid ul-Fitr is a joyous occasion for all. It is common for families and friends to gather for a feast and exchange gifts.
It is a tradition to buy new clothes and shoes to celebrate Eid ul-Fitr. Do not be surprised if you can see families rushing to get their best clothes pressed and perfumed, their homes decorated with colorful lanterns, and plates of chocolates, dates, mamool, and sweets kept in preparation for guests.
In many of the Kingdom’s largest cities, malls are open 24 hours daily, offering last-minute Ramadan deals. Beauty salons and barbershops are also packed with customers wanting to look their best.
The women celebrate Eid ul-Fitr by flaunting their finest dresses and henna-dyed hands. While the children excitedly look forward to gifts of money and candy.
Fruit candies and Candies with colorful wrappers are usually the favorites of children.
In conclusion, Ramadan holds a special place in the hearts of Muslims in Saudi Arabia. It is a time for individuals to engage in spiritual reflection, self-discipline, and acts of kindness and charity.
The various events during this month, such as the Taraweeh prayer, Ramadan markets, and the celebration of Eid al-Fitr, create a sense of community and bring people together.