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Islamic Observances of Ramadan and Eid-Ul-Fitr (The Month of Fasting and Festival of Fast Breaking)

General NewsThe approximate beginning date for Ramadan is 5 October 2005 . The observance continues for 29 or 30 days. An exact beginning date cannot be given beforehand because the Islamic calendar is Lunar. The exact beginning date of Ramadan will be determined by actually sighting the crescent moon after sunset on the evening before the Lunar month begins. There is an approximate 10-day, receding, difference between the Lunar and Solar calendars each year.
During Ramadan, Muslims fast each day from dawn (approximately 2 hours before sunrise) until after sunset. During these hours, one may not eat or drink. Upon conclusion of Ramadan, Eid-Ul-Fitr (a three-day festival of thanksgiving and rejoicing) is celebrated beginning on 4 or 5 November 2005 . On the morning of Eid, at sometime after sunrise and before midday , a special congregational prayer is offered, followed by a sermon from the Imam of the community. A period of marked joy and happiness follows the prayers with a large feast and festival given sometime during the day and continues with related festivities for the next two days.

During Ramadan, commanders will accommodate the religious practices of their Muslim Soldiers, unless precluded by military emergencies. Muslim Soldiers requesting accommodation will be released from duty at least 30 minutes prior to sunset in order to make necessary preparations for observance of the traditional Iftar (Fast Breaking Meal) and after-sunset prayer. Additionally, during this period, commanders must adjust Muslim Soldiers’ participation in rigorous daily physical training (PT) and field training exercises. A liberal leave/pass policy will be in effect for Muslim Soldiers and DoD civilians in order to observe the celebration of Eid-Ul-Fitr beginning on 4 or 5 November 2005.

A template memorandum for Lay Leaders and Chaplains to use can be found in the downloads section ( This template is based upon US Army standards. Individuals who customize it to their service, please send us a copy so that we can post it. Please also send us any correspondence you receive from your command.

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