What are the Ramadan fasting rules and can you drink water during the religious month?

RAMADAN is the holiest month in the Islamic calendar for Muslims across the globe as they abstain from eating or drinking between dawn and sundown.

Those observing the fast use the time for reflection, increased self-control and a devotion to prayer.

Muslims normally attend mosques for prayers each day during Ramadan. With lockdown measures in place, services and prayers are taking place online.

When is the first fast of Ramadan 2020?

The first day of fasting will be tomorrow, 24 April.

Fasting will begin at sunrise after Suhur and then finish at sunset with Iftar.

The final Iftar should take place on the evening of May 23.

What are the rules of fasting during Ramadan?

During the month of Ramadan, Muslims are obliged to abstain eat or drink during daylight hours.

If a fast is broken, it will need to be compensated for by fasting at a later date. Or they can pay "fidyah", a religious term for donation of food or money.

Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam, so all adult Muslims are expected to fast.

Adult Muslims are also expected to read and reflect on the entire Koran, the holy book, while abstaining from smoking and sex.

It is thought abstaining from these activities will lead to greater "taqwa", or consciousness of God.

However, the NHS recommends adults break their fast if they become very dehydrated.

On their website they warn: "Poor hydration can be made worse by weather conditions and even everyday activities like walking to work or housework.

"If you produce very little or no urine, feel disoriented and confused or faint as a result of dehydration, you must stop fasting and have a drink of water or other fluid."

Do children fast?

Muslim children are expected to begin fasting once they have reached puberty, usually by the age of 14.

There is no national law that prevents young children or teens from fasting.

The NHS advises against children as young as seven or eight fasting.

Advice from the national health body read: "It's a good idea to make children aware of what fasting involves and to practice fasting for a few hours at a time."

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