2024 Ramadan Celebration in Saudi Arabia

Renowned as the holiest period in the Islamic lunar calendar, Ramadan holds deep significance for Muslims worldwide. It commemorates the divine revelation of the Holy Scripture to Prophet Muhammad by the archangel Gabriel. Throughout this sacred month, Muslims observe obligatory fasting from dawn to dusk, refraining from food, drink, smoking, and marital relations.

This practice of self-discipline and sacrifice aims to foster spiritual and physical devotion, fostering God-consciousness, patience, and empathy. Ramadan serves as a time for Muslims to realign their focus on virtuous conduct, contemplate the wisdom embedded in divine law, and submit themselves in humble service to the Divine.

Ramadan Celebration in Saudi Arabia

Ramadan 1445 AH (2024 CE) Observance Timeline in Saudi Arabia

The blessed month of Ramadan 1445 AH in Saudi Arabia is expected to begin on March 11, 2024, with its conclusion expected on April 9, 2024, as per the calendar. However, the definitive start date is subject to the confirmation of the moon sighting by the official moon-sighting committee comprising religious scholars and experts in Saudi Arabia. 

This crucial observation, conducted on the 29th day of Sha’ban, marks the initiation of Ramadan according to the Islamic lunar calendar. Upon the verification of the new crescent moon, in accordance with religious guidelines, the Kingdom's faithful can embark on the holiest period characterised by intensified fasting, prayer, and spiritual contemplation. Muslims eagerly await the official announcement, signalling the onset of a month revered for its emphasis on mercy, forgiveness, and virtuous deeds.

Ramadan Crescent Moon's Impact on Pilgrimage in 2024

The Supreme Court of Saudi Arabia has issued a directive for all Muslims residing within the Kingdom to search for the new crescent moon on the evening of Tuesday, March 12, 2024. Its sighting would mark the beginning of Ramadan. Individuals who spot the moon, aided by visual aids or not, are urged to promptly inform the nearest court to document their testimony or seek assistance from local centres to facilitate communication with the nearest court.

For those considering undertaking the minor pilgrimage (Umrah) to Mecca during the holy month of Ramadan in 2024, we provide specific guidance below concerning recent policies and procedures for obtaining permits, scheduling appointments via authorised platforms, adhering to COVID precautions, and other essential details to ensure a smooth performance of Umrah rituals. Our update offers a comprehensive overview to facilitate your blessed spiritual journey amidst the heightened religious ambience and divine blessings of Ramadan within Saudi Arabia.

Traditions and Customs of Ramadan in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

In Saudi Arabia, the arrival of Ramadan brings about noticeable changes in daily routines. Unlike some other Muslim nations, daylight hours see a decrease in activity as working hours and schooling are typically shortened by 2-3 hours. Many adopt a nocturnal schedule, resting during the day and being active at night after breaking the fast at sunset. While hotels remain open, most shops, malls, restaurants, and cafes close during fasting, providing designated areas for non-fasting individuals.

As the call to prayer announces the time for Iftar, mosques become filled with worshippers eager to break their fast in accordance with the tradition of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), with dates, soup, and baked pastries. It is customary for residents and visitors to distribute dates and water at busy intersections while offering blessings of "Ramadan Kareem" to passersby, emphasising Islam's emphasis on increased charity during this sacred time.

Following Iftar, Saudi Arabian cities come alive with bustling activity as businesses reopen and social gatherings commence at malls and cafes until late into the night. People indulge in Ramadan sweets such as kunafa, logaimat, and qatayef, strengthening communal and familial ties through shared celebrations before preparing for the pre-dawn Sahur meal.

Observing Ramadan Observance Policies in Saudi Arabia

Navigating Saudi Arabia's Ramadan observance policies involves understanding cultural customs and respecting religious practices, ensuring a respectful and harmonious experience for residents and visitors alike.

  • Respect for the Holy Month: In Saudi Arabia, the sacredness of Ramadan is deeply honoured, necessitating adherence to certain regulations to uphold the sanctity of this period of heightened spiritual devotion.
  • Compliance with Fasting Regulations: While non-Muslims are not obligated to fast during Ramadan, Saudi law strictly prohibits public consumption of food, drinks, or cigarettes from dawn until dusk, encompassing outdoor and indoor spaces such as offices, factories, and workplaces.
  • Legal Consequences of Violations: Violating these regulations, aimed at facilitating a devout focus on self-purification, can lead to legal penalties, reflecting the importance placed on enabling Muslims to fully immerse themselves in the spiritual significance of the holy month.
  • Adjustments for Non-Muslims: As public activity decreases during daylight hours, non-Muslims are encouraged to consume meals privately indoors and refrain from visibly eating, drinking, or smoking in shared spaces throughout Saudi Arabia out of respect for those observing the fast.
  • Paramount Respect for Ramadan Rituals: Even for non-practising individuals, demonstrating reverence for Ramadan rituals is essential within the distinctive spiritual context of Saudi Arabia during this widely observed period.

Ramadan Prayer Timings in Saudi Arabia

For Muslims residing in Riyadh, Jeddah, Makkah, Medina, and other cities across Saudi Arabia, the observance of Ramadan is guided by the timing of Sehri (pre-dawn meal) and Iftar (breaking of the fast). The determination of the start date of Ramadan carries significant weight for them, as it sets the tone for the entire month of fasting and spiritual devotion.


What is the expected start date for Ramadan in Saudi Arabia in 2024?

 Based on astronomical projections, Ramadan in Saudi Arabia in 2024 is anticipated to begin on March 11th, 2024. However, the exact start date will be confirmed by the official moon-sighting committee of religious scholars and experts in Saudi Arabia.

Are there any specific guidelines for non-Muslims during Ramadan in Saudi Arabia?

Yes, non-Muslims in Saudi Arabia are expected to respect the sanctity of Ramadan by refraining from eating, drinking, or smoking in public during daylight hours out of consideration for those observing the fast. Non-Muslims should consume meals privately and avoid visible consumption in shared spaces.

How are Ramadan prayer timings determined in Saudi Arabia?

Ramadan prayer timings in Saudi Arabia are determined based on the Islamic lunar calendar and local observations. The timing of Sehri (pre-dawn meal) and Iftar (breaking of the fast) is calculated according to the sun's position and verified by the official authorities.

Are there any legal consequences for violating fasting regulations during Ramadan in Saudi Arabia?

Yes, Saudi law prohibits public consumption of food, drinks, or cigarettes during fasting hours, and violations can result in legal penalties. These regulations are enforced to uphold the sanctity of Ramadan and enable Muslims to observe the fast without distraction.

What are some common traditions observed during Ramadan in Saudi Arabia?

 In Saudi Arabia, Ramadan is marked by various traditions, including gathering for communal Iftar meals, distributing dates and water to passersby, engaging in increased acts of charity, and attending nightly Taraweeh prayers at mosques. Families often come together to share special meals and partake in spiritual activities throughout the month.