Facts, Figures, and Folklore about Ramadan and the Islamic Faith


Did you know that Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar? It is also believed to be the month when the Holy Quran was sent down from Heaven as a “guidance unto men, a declaration of direction, and a means of Salvation.”

Did you know that the Muslim calendar is based on the lunar cycle, which is approximately 11-13 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar.

Did you know that the holiday of Ramadan may fall during any month of the Gregorian calendar? It takes approximately 35 years for Ramadan to cycle through the entire solar/Gregorian calendar.

Did you know that during Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset?

Did you know that the daily fasts during the month of Ramadan are broken with prayer and meal called iftar? Following iftar, it is customary to visit family and friends. Especially devout Muslims may spend the night studying the Quran. The Ramadan fast is resumed each day at daybreak.

Did you know that Muslims traditionally break their fast with dates, since that is what the Prophet Muhammad is believed to have done?

Did you know that in addition to abstaining from food and drink, Muslims also refrain from smoking and sexual relations? This is because the month is seen as a time for spiritual reflection and discipline.

Did you know that health experts estimate food consumption actually increases 50 percent during the month of Ramadan?

Did you know that according to a government-run survey in Tunisia, 59 percent of women and 35 percent of men gained weight during Ramadan, despite fasting for some 14 hours a day.

Did you know that fasting during the month of Ramadan fulfills one of the five pillars of the Muslim faith? The other pillars are: Testimony of faith, Prayer, Almsgiving, and Pilgrimage.

Did you know that Muslim faith began in what is today Saudi Arabia in 570 CE? That is when the faith’s prophet, Muhammad, received his first prophecy from G-d (known by Muslims as Allah) at the age of 40.

Did you know that one-fifth of the world’s population is Muslim?

Did you know that the country with the largest Muslim population is Indonesia?

Did you know that Pakistan and India are home to the second and third largest Muslim populations, respectively?

Did you know that the terms Arab and Muslim are not synonymous? “Arab” refers to people who share a linguistic, cultural, ethnic and historic heritage from the Arabian Peninsula. The term Muslim refers to those individuals who are adherents to the Islamic faith. Not all Arabs are Muslim, nor are all Muslims Arab.

Did you know that the terms Sunni and Shiite refer to two different sects within the Islamic faith? Their primary difference is founded on their differing opinions about religious succession. Sunni believe leaders must be appointed by consensus, while Shiite see succession as a function on one’s relationship to Muhammad’s original successors, or caliphs.

Did you know there are estimated to be between 1 and 1.4 billion Muslims worldwide?

Did you know that there are an estimate 2-7 million Muslims living in the United States? It is difficult to pinpoint the exact number since the U.S. Census cannot, by law, ask questions about religion.

Did you know that the end of the month of Ramadan is marked with a joyous festival called Eid al-Fitr? Eid al-Fitr literally means the “Festival of Breaking the Fast,” during which many Muslims partake in elaborate feasts. They also wear their finest clothes, while simultaneously increasing their almsgiving.