The Fast begins after we have taken Sahur meal very early in the morning (Imsak), and broken at sunset (Magrib) by taking Iftar meal.
Those who fast includes Adults and mentally sane people. And those who may not fast are : children, women having their period, travelers, the sick, those with long-term illnesses, pregnant or breastfeeding women and the mentally ill.
The breaking of the Fast (Iftar) is a social occasion for which special foods are prepared for gatherings with family or friends. Upon hearing the call to prayer (Azan) from the mosque or radio or TV at sunset, the faithful know it's time to break their fast (buka puasa). This is usually done with a drink and snacks. Magrib prayer is made before a full meal is served. Afterwards, we have Taraweh prayer at the mosques or at gatherings every evening at about 7:30 p.m.
The schedule for Imsak and Maghrib is available in major newspapers, on the radio and on the television throughout Indonesia, as well as published in handouts by major religious organizations.
Why does Islam oblige its followers to fast during Ramadhan?
- To develop compassion for the poor and needy who feel hungry every day.
- As a spiritually and physically cleansing experience. Fasting is seen as an opportunity to separate ourself from the things of this world and to concentrate on our relationship with God.
- To become closer to God by contemplating His will in our life.
- To build self-discipline and to become a better person.