Ramadan revised? How technology has impacted the traditional month

Published June 12th, 2016 - 10:10 GMT

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The Muslim holy month of Ramadan is finally upon us, with over a billion Muslims having started their sun-up to sun-down fast from food and drink. Over the next month, practicing Muslims will obey the customs and traditions of Ramadan, which involves not only abstaining from food and drink during daylight hours, but also prayer, reflection, and giving charity to those in need.

Though the central tenets of Ramadan are the same as they’ve always been, 21st century technology and the forces of globalization have irreversibly changed how Muslims observe this special and holy month. From the apps in your phone that use a GPS signal to calculate when to start and break the fast, to the concorde jets that can transport the wealthiest of believers to different timezones, we’ll look at how technology has changed Ramadan in eye-opening ways.

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In the days of old, people knew the fast was over after hearing the call to prayer. These days, anyone with a smartphone can use GPS and satellites to calculate the exact times of dawn and sunset! Everything from the direction of Mecca to the number of calories required before beginning your fast can be calculated by apps like iPray and Muslim pro.
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Image 1 of 10:  1 / 10In the days of old, people knew the fast was over after hearing the call to prayer. These days, anyone with a smartphone can use GPS and satellites to calculate the exact times of dawn and sunset! Everything from the direction of Mecca to the number of calories required before beginning your fast can be calculated by apps like iPray and Muslim pro.

Enlarge
In 2011, a Fatwa (islamic ruling) was issued that suggested observant Muslims living in skyscrapers adjust their fasting times according to their altitude. Why, you ask? It’s estimated that people on the top floor of the Burj Dubai (the tallest building in the world) can see the sun for two more minutes than those on the ground!
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Image 2 of 10:  2 / 10In 2011, a Fatwa (islamic ruling) was issued that suggested observant Muslims living in skyscrapers adjust their fasting times according to their altitude. Why, you ask? It’s estimated that people on the top floor of the Burj Dubai (the tallest building in the world) can see the sun for two more minutes than those on the ground!

Enlarge
Like the Muslims in the Burj Dubai, airline pilots on westbound flights could face unnaturally long days as they outrun the sunset in their 747s. Conversely, some of the most wealthy believers can take an eastbound jet flight to “shorten” their day and break their fast early!  Or forego the fast altogether and plead the traveler exemption!
Reduce

Image 3 of 10:  3 / 10Like the Muslims in the Burj Dubai, airline pilots on westbound flights could face unnaturally long days as they outrun the sunset in their 747s. Conversely, some of the most wealthy believers can take an eastbound jet flight to “shorten” their day and break their fast early! Or forego the fast altogether and plead the traveler exemption!

Enlarge
For Muslims without private jets, there’s a simpler solution. Some religious leaders have stirred up controversy by saying that a journey of more than 25km enacts a certain “travel exception” from observing the fast. During Ramadan 2016, a loop around town in a Honda Civic might be a cheaper way to “cheat” your way to an early iftar!
Reduce

Image 4 of 10:  4 / 10For Muslims without private jets, there’s a simpler solution. Some religious leaders have stirred up controversy by saying that a journey of more than 25km enacts a certain “travel exception” from observing the fast. During Ramadan 2016, a loop around town in a Honda Civic might be a cheaper way to “cheat” your way to an early iftar!

Enlarge
During the holy month, a woman is considered excused from fasting if she is on her period. But what about on birth control or medication that alters her menstruation cycle? Ergo some women of child-bearing age end up fasting full-throttle with their men folk, or can plan their exemption week off much more reliably.
Reduce

Image 5 of 10:  5 / 10During the holy month, a woman is considered excused from fasting if she is on her period. But what about on birth control or medication that alters her menstruation cycle? Ergo some women of child-bearing age end up fasting full-throttle with their men folk, or can plan their exemption week off much more reliably.

Enlarge
For everything from staying strong on your fast and getting spiritual advice to planning your meals and fitness routine -  you can consult with the massive community of Muslims online. A popular blog in recent times is MuslimGirl, where the author talks juggling life in the west and observing her faith - with some hijab fashion tips as an extra!
Reduce

Image 6 of 10:  6 / 10For everything from staying strong on your fast and getting spiritual advice to planning your meals and fitness routine - you can consult with the massive community of Muslims online. A popular blog in recent times is MuslimGirl, where the author talks juggling life in the west and observing her faith - with some hijab fashion tips as an extra!

Enlarge
With the advent of the satellite dish, there are now more Ramadan TV serials than ever. Airing daily, after Iftar, they’re a staple – indeed, a religious ritual – of the modern Ramadan. From the epic Syrian drama “Bab al-Hara” to Daesh-mocking “Selfie”, expect the faithful to skip extra night prayers for limited edition soaps!
Reduce

Image 7 of 10:  7 / 10With the advent of the satellite dish, there are now more Ramadan TV serials than ever. Airing daily, after Iftar, they’re a staple – indeed, a religious ritual – of the modern Ramadan. From the epic Syrian drama “Bab al-Hara” to Daesh-mocking “Selfie”, expect the faithful to skip extra night prayers for limited edition soaps!

Enlarge
What does one do between breaking the fast and the pre-dawn meal? According to numerous studies, hit the online markets! Souq.com, a popular ME-based online retailer claims that during Ramadan traffic increases 20-25% during these hours. It's customary to give gifts and buy clothing during Ramadan, and the modern internet makes that simple.
Reduce

Image 8 of 10:  8 / 10What does one do between breaking the fast and the pre-dawn meal? According to numerous studies, hit the online markets! Souq.com, a popular ME-based online retailer claims that during Ramadan traffic increases 20-25% during these hours. It's customary to give gifts and buy clothing during Ramadan, and the modern internet makes that simple.

Enlarge
Ramadan is meant to be a month of reflection - a brief period for Muslims to better understand the struggle of the hungry and, most importantly, help those in need wherever possible. In today’s online world, giving zakat (charity) is a few clicks away. Expect more people to give charity via paypal and GoFundMe this Ramadan than ever before.
Reduce

Image 9 of 10:  9 / 10Ramadan is meant to be a month of reflection - a brief period for Muslims to better understand the struggle of the hungry and, most importantly, help those in need wherever possible. In today’s online world, giving zakat (charity) is a few clicks away. Expect more people to give charity via paypal and GoFundMe this Ramadan than ever before.

Enlarge
Ramadan Mubarak from AlBawaba! Social media sharing allows the holy month blessings to travel further!
Reduce

Image 10 of 10:  10 / 10Ramadan Mubarak from AlBawaba! Social media sharing allows the holy month blessings to travel further!

Enlarge

1

In the days of old, people knew the fast was over after hearing the call to prayer. These days, anyone with a smartphone can use GPS and satellites to calculate the exact times of dawn and sunset! Everything from the direction of Mecca to the number of calories required before beginning your fast can be calculated by apps like iPray and Muslim pro.

Image 1 of 10In the days of old, people knew the fast was over after hearing the call to prayer. These days, anyone with a smartphone can use GPS and satellites to calculate the exact times of dawn and sunset! Everything from the direction of Mecca to the number of calories required before beginning your fast can be calculated by apps like iPray and Muslim pro.

2

In 2011, a Fatwa (islamic ruling) was issued that suggested observant Muslims living in skyscrapers adjust their fasting times according to their altitude. Why, you ask? It’s estimated that people on the top floor of the Burj Dubai (the tallest building in the world) can see the sun for two more minutes than those on the ground!

Image 2 of 10In 2011, a Fatwa (islamic ruling) was issued that suggested observant Muslims living in skyscrapers adjust their fasting times according to their altitude. Why, you ask? It’s estimated that people on the top floor of the Burj Dubai (the tallest building in the world) can see the sun for two more minutes than those on the ground!

3

Like the Muslims in the Burj Dubai, airline pilots on westbound flights could face unnaturally long days as they outrun the sunset in their 747s. Conversely, some of the most wealthy believers can take an eastbound jet flight to “shorten” their day and break their fast early!  Or forego the fast altogether and plead the traveler exemption!

Image 3 of 10Like the Muslims in the Burj Dubai, airline pilots on westbound flights could face unnaturally long days as they outrun the sunset in their 747s. Conversely, some of the most wealthy believers can take an eastbound jet flight to “shorten” their day and break their fast early! Or forego the fast altogether and plead the traveler exemption!

4

For Muslims without private jets, there’s a simpler solution. Some religious leaders have stirred up controversy by saying that a journey of more than 25km enacts a certain “travel exception” from observing the fast. During Ramadan 2016, a loop around town in a Honda Civic might be a cheaper way to “cheat” your way to an early iftar!

Image 4 of 10For Muslims without private jets, there’s a simpler solution. Some religious leaders have stirred up controversy by saying that a journey of more than 25km enacts a certain “travel exception” from observing the fast. During Ramadan 2016, a loop around town in a Honda Civic might be a cheaper way to “cheat” your way to an early iftar!

5

During the holy month, a woman is considered excused from fasting if she is on her period. But what about on birth control or medication that alters her menstruation cycle? Ergo some women of child-bearing age end up fasting full-throttle with their men folk, or can plan their exemption week off much more reliably.

Image 5 of 10During the holy month, a woman is considered excused from fasting if she is on her period. But what about on birth control or medication that alters her menstruation cycle? Ergo some women of child-bearing age end up fasting full-throttle with their men folk, or can plan their exemption week off much more reliably.

6

For everything from staying strong on your fast and getting spiritual advice to planning your meals and fitness routine -  you can consult with the massive community of Muslims online. A popular blog in recent times is MuslimGirl, where the author talks juggling life in the west and observing her faith - with some hijab fashion tips as an extra!

Image 6 of 10For everything from staying strong on your fast and getting spiritual advice to planning your meals and fitness routine - you can consult with the massive community of Muslims online. A popular blog in recent times is MuslimGirl, where the author talks juggling life in the west and observing her faith - with some hijab fashion tips as an extra!

7

With the advent of the satellite dish, there are now more Ramadan TV serials than ever. Airing daily, after Iftar, they’re a staple – indeed, a religious ritual – of the modern Ramadan. From the epic Syrian drama “Bab al-Hara” to Daesh-mocking “Selfie”, expect the faithful to skip extra night prayers for limited edition soaps!

Image 7 of 10With the advent of the satellite dish, there are now more Ramadan TV serials than ever. Airing daily, after Iftar, they’re a staple – indeed, a religious ritual – of the modern Ramadan. From the epic Syrian drama “Bab al-Hara” to Daesh-mocking “Selfie”, expect the faithful to skip extra night prayers for limited edition soaps!

8

What does one do between breaking the fast and the pre-dawn meal? According to numerous studies, hit the online markets! Souq.com, a popular ME-based online retailer claims that during Ramadan traffic increases 20-25% during these hours. It's customary to give gifts and buy clothing during Ramadan, and the modern internet makes that simple.

Image 8 of 10What does one do between breaking the fast and the pre-dawn meal? According to numerous studies, hit the online markets! Souq.com, a popular ME-based online retailer claims that during Ramadan traffic increases 20-25% during these hours. It's customary to give gifts and buy clothing during Ramadan, and the modern internet makes that simple.

9

Ramadan is meant to be a month of reflection - a brief period for Muslims to better understand the struggle of the hungry and, most importantly, help those in need wherever possible. In today’s online world, giving zakat (charity) is a few clicks away. Expect more people to give charity via paypal and GoFundMe this Ramadan than ever before.

Image 9 of 10Ramadan is meant to be a month of reflection - a brief period for Muslims to better understand the struggle of the hungry and, most importantly, help those in need wherever possible. In today’s online world, giving zakat (charity) is a few clicks away. Expect more people to give charity via paypal and GoFundMe this Ramadan than ever before.

10

Ramadan Mubarak from AlBawaba! Social media sharing allows the holy month blessings to travel further!

Image 10 of 10Ramadan Mubarak from AlBawaba! Social media sharing allows the holy month blessings to travel further!

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