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By Katrina Gao

Nearly half a million Australians are Muslim according to the latest 2011 Census. For them, Ramadan is the most significant event on the Islamic calendar. During Ramadan, Muslims around the world fast from sunrise to sunset.

2015 Ramadan

Ramadan has arrived. The fasting will start from the sunrise on 18th June and ends on the sunset on 17 July 2015. Muslims in every place around the world will start fasting again this year. They’ll refrain from consuming food, drinking liquids, smoking, and engaging in sexual relations.

When do people eat?

No food and no drink, how can they survive? Actually, meals are serviced daily before dawn and after sunset. In Morocco, during fasting month people have their first meal (also referred as ‘breakfast’) around 7:30 pm, ‘dinner’ at 12 am, then get up at 2:30 am to have their ‘real’ breakfast. Some families skip dinner so they can have a good rest for tomorrow’s work.

Muslim population in the world

Based on research done by the US-based Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life in 2011, Indonesia has the largest Muslim population of nearly 205 million in 2010, followed by Pakistan and India who are very close in numbers of Muslim populations, both around 178 million. However, Muslims only account for 14.6% of India’s population, whilst 88.1% of Indonesia’s population and 96.4% of Pakistan’s population are Muslim.

You might be wondering, ‘are there countries in the world where the entire population is Muslim?’ The answer is yes (or very close to it) -there are a few. Morocco has the highest percentage of 99.9% Muslim of its population. And to name a few, Afghanistan, Tunisia and Iran also have high density at more than 99.7%.

In 2030, the estimated Muslim populations around the world will grow by 25% to 2.2 billion. And this figure will be more than a quarter of the world’s population. By then, Pakistan will probably overtake Indonesia as the country with the largest Muslim population.

Ramadan in summer vs. Ramadan in winter

What’s the difference of having Ramadan in summer versus having it in winter? It’s 55 hours and 30 mins!

As we might know, Indonesia is the home of the largest population of Muslims in the world, so let’s use it as our example. The average day length in June in Indonesia is about 11 hours 46 mins. While, the average day length in June in Australia is only 9 hours 55 mins. So technically, the fasting time in Indonesia is 55 hours and 30 mins more than it is in Australia. Hypothetically, in order to catch up with the difference, Muslims living in Australia need to fast 5.6 days more!