This year, the holy month of Ramadan will start in Tajikistan on March 11, according to the Committee on Religious Affairs under the Government of Tajikistan (CRA).   

The exact start date of Ramadan was reportedly announced at a general meeting of members of the Shuroi Ulamo (Council of Ulema – Tajikistan’s highest Islamic institution) that took place in Dushanbe on March 4. 

Besides, performance of Taraweeh (additional ritual prayers performed by Muslims at night after the Isha prayer during the holy month of Ramadan), was also announced at the general meeting.

A person who cannot keep fast during the holy month of Ramadan must donate 420.00 somonis (41.00 per each day of the month).  

This year, the Shuroi Ulamo has reportedly set the contribution for zakat for Muslims having annual income of no less than 35,275 somonis (TJS) at TJS800.00 somonis. 

The main purpose of Zakat al-Fitr is to provide the poor which they can celebrate the festival of breaking the fast (Eid al-Fitr) along with the rest of the Muslims.

This year, the Shouroi Ulamo has set Sadaqa al-Fitr at 7.00 somonis per person.  

Sadaqa al-Fitr (also known as Zakat al-Fitr) is charity given to the poor at the end of the fasting in the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.  The Arabic word Fitr means the same as iftar, breaking a fast, and it comes from the same root word as Futoor which means breakfast.

Sadaqa al-Fitr is a duty which is wajib (required) of every Muslim, whether male or female, minor or adult as long as he/she has the means to do so.

Every Muslim is required to pay Sadaqa al-Fitr at the conclusion of the month of Ramadan as a token of thankfulness to God for having enabled him or her to observe the obligatory fast.

The amount of Sadaqa al-Fitr is the same for everyone regardless of their different income brackets. The minimum amount is one sa`a (four double handfuls) of food, grain or dried fruit for each member of the family.  This calculation is based on Ibn 'Umar's report that the Prophet made Sadaqa al-Fitr compulsory and payable by a sa`a of dried dates or a sa`a of barley.  According to the majority of Sunni scholars One Sa'a is approximately between 2.6 kg to 3 kg.  Cash equivalent (of the food weight) may also be given if food collection and distribution is unavailable in that particular country.

Sadaqa al-Fitr plays a very important role in the development of the bonds of community.  The rich are obliged to come in direct contact with the poor, and the poor are put in contact with the extremely poor.  This contact between the various levels of society helps to build real bonds of brotherhood and love within the Islamic community and trains those who have, to be generous to those who do not have.

The fasting, which is the fourth pillar of Islam, is practiced during the month of Ramadan.  Ramadan is derived from an Arabic word for intense heat and sun-scorched ground.  It is the ninth month of the Islamic (Hijri) calendar, established in the year 638 CE.  It is considered the most venerated, blessed and spiritually-beneficial month of the Islamic year.  Prayers, fasting, charity, and self-accountability are especially stressed at this time; religious observances associated with Ramadan are kept throughout the month.

The most prominent event of this month is the fasting practiced by observant Muslims.  Every day during the month of Ramadan, Muslims around the world get up before dawn to eat the Suhoor meal (the predawn meal) and perform their fajr prayer.  They break their fast when the fourth prayer of the day, Maghrib (sunset), is due.

During Ramadan, Muslims are expected to put more effort into following the teachings of Islam and to avoid obscene and irreligious sights and sounds.  Purity of both thought and action is important.  The fast is intended to be an exacting act of deep personal worship in which Muslims seek a raised level of closeness to God Almighty.  The act of fasting is said to redirect the heart away from worldly activities, its purpose being to cleanse the inner soul and free it from harm.  Properly observing the fast is supposed to induce a comfortable feeling of peace and calm.  It also allows Muslims to practice self-discipline, sacrifice, and sympathy for those who are less fortunate, intended to make Muslims more generous and charitable.  Muslims can eat after the sun has set.  Pregnant women, the elderly, the ill, travelers and children who have not reached puberty are all exempt from fasting as lack of food and liquid in these situations could be detrimental to health.