What time do you stop eating at night during Ramadan?

Ramadan is the holy month of fasting for Muslims worldwide. During this month, Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and having sexual relations from dawn to sunset. The fast begins at Fajr, the pre-dawn meal, and ends at Maghrib, when the sun has set and it is dark outside. This can make Ramadan a challenging time, as the length of the fasting period varies significantly depending on geographic location and season.

When to Stop Eating at Night During Ramadan

The end of the fast each day is marked by the Maghrib prayer, which takes place just after sunset. Muslims traditionally break their fast by eating dates and drinking water or milk right after Maghrib. After this initial light meal, Muslims gather for Iftar, the main meal after sunset that breaks the day’s fast. Iftar is traditionally shared communally with family and friends.

So in summary, the sun sets, Maghrib prayers are performed, a light meal is had, and then the main Iftar meal is served. This means that in general, eating stops when the sun sets and doesn’t resume until after Maghrib prayers. However, the specific times will vary based on location and season.

Geographic Location

The time of sunset – and therefore the time to stop eating – varies significantly around the world based on geographic location:

  • Countries closer to the equator, like Malaysia and Indonesia, will have shorter fasting periods given the consistent ~12 hours of daylight all year round.
  • Countries at higher latitudes, like Canada and Russia, will have extremely long fasting periods during summer months when the sun barely sets.
  • Within a given country, those living farther north or south will have different fasting periods than those directly on the equator or at the midpoint latitude.

To give some examples of Maghrib prayer times from around the world:

City Country Latitude Maghrib Time
Kuala Lumpur Malaysia 3°N 7:30pm
Cairo Egypt 30°N 5:50pm
London UK 51°N 9:00pm (summer)
Edmonton Canada 53°N 9:30pm (summer)

As you can see, there is significant variation globally based on latitude. Muslims living farther from the equator in either hemisphere generally stop eating later at night during summer months when Ramadan falls.

Seasonal Changes

In addition to geographic location, the season during which Ramadan falls also impacts fasting times. This is because the time of sunset changes throughout the year as the earth rotates around the sun. Some key points:

  • Ramadan is on a lunar calendar, so it shifts by approximately 11 days each year and cycles through all the seasons over a 32-33 year period.
  • When Ramadan falls in winter months, fasting periods are shorter given earlier sunsets.
  • In summer months, fasting periods are much longer in many parts of the world, with sunsets as late as 9 or 10pm in higher latitude countries.

To demonstrate, here are Maghrib prayer times in London during Ramadan over the course of one year:

Month Maghrib Time
January 4:30pm
April 7:30pm
July 9:15pm
October 6:00pm

This shows how the sunset time changes by 4-5 hours throughout the year in London based on earth’s position in orbit around the sun. Muslims in the UK stop eating much later in summer months compared to winter.

Examples of Nightly Iftar Meal Times

Given the geographic and seasonal impacts on fasting times, the time for eating the main Iftar meal after sunset also shifts. Here are some examples of typical Iftar times around the world:

  • Indonesia – Maghrib is around 5:45pm year-round given its equatorial location. Iftar is usually served between 6:30-7pm.
  • Saudi Arabia – Maghrib ranges from 6:30-7:30pm depending on season. Iftar is from 7:30-8:30pm.
  • Turkey – In Istanbul, Maghrib is around 7:30pm in summer and 5pm in winter. Iftar ranges from 8-9pm in summer and 6-7pm in winter.
  • South Africa – In Cape Town, Maghrib is around 5:30pm in winter and 6:45pm in summer. Iftar ranges from 7-8:30pm year-round.
  • USA – For example, Minneapolis has Maghrib around 9pm in June and 5:45pm in December. Iftar may be from 9:30-10:30pm in summer and 7-8pm in winter.

These demonstrate how Iftar meal times range from as early as 6pm to as late as 10pm depending on geography and seasonality. Later sunsets lead to later eating times at night.

Guidelines from Islamic Scholars

Given the flexibility needed to accommodate different fasting lengths, Islamic scholars have provided some general guidelines about how late to eat at night:

  • Eat as late as needed to gain adequate nutrition while allowing enough time to wake for Suhoor prior to Fajr prayers and dawn.
  • Avoid going to bed on an overly full stomach which can cause lethargy.
  • Hydrate well by drinking water throughout the night.
  • Take natural cues from your body – eat light if not hungry late at night.
  • Prioritize community and family traditions in determining meal times.

So in essence, scholars recommend eating nutritious Iftar and Suhoor meals at times that accommodate both community customs and personal health needs. There are no firm cut-offs dictating exactly when to stop eating at night beyond general guidelines.

Accommodating Long Summer Fasts

Scholars particularly encourage flexibility for Muslims fasting in northern latitudes during summer months when the sun sets late and fasting periods are 18+ hours long. Some advice includes:

  • Eating the pre-dawn Suhoor meal as late as possible before Fajr.
  • Eating lighter meals high in protein and nutrients.
  • Staying hydrated by drinking water whenever needed at night.
  • Taking naps during the day if needed for rest.

During long summer fasts, nutrition and hydration take priority over rigidly sticking to shorter eating windows at night. Eating and drinking as needed, even into the later night hours, helps support the intense daytime fast.

Health Benefits of Nightly Ramadan Fast

In addition to spiritual renewal, the Ramadan fast provides various health benefits when done mindfully and in moderation. Some of these benefits include:

  • Blood sugar regulation – Abstaining from food during the day gives the digestive system a rest and allows blood sugar levels to normalize.
  • Reduced inflammation – Inflammation causing oxidative stress is reduced with fasting.
  • Heart health – Blood pressure and cholesterol levels can improve with fasting.
  • Cellular repair – The body initiates cellular repair mechanisms when in a fasted state.

However, in order to gain these benefits, it is important not to overeat or indulge excessively at night. Stuffing yourself full of fried foods and desserts immediately after sunset somewhat defeats the purpose of fasting during daylight hours. Moderation is key.

Staying Hydrated

Hydration is also critical when fasting from dawn to dusk. Dehydration negatively impacts mood, energy levels, metabolism and many other aspects of health. Some tips for hydration include:

  • Drinking at least 8 glasses of water from Iftar through Suhoor.
  • Drinking electrolyte beverages like coconut water.
  • Eating hydrating fruits and vegetables for Iftar.
  • Avoiding caffeine and alcohol that have dehydrating effects.

Getting adequate fluid intake is key to avoiding headaches, fatigue and other symptoms related to dehydration during the Ramadan fast. Drinking throughout the night enables you to start the day well hydrated.

Suhoor Meal Before Dawn

In addition to the Iftar meal at sunset, Muslims also eat a pre-dawn meal called Suhoor. This helps provide sustenance to last through the upcoming daytime fast. Some tips include:

  • Eat slowly and minimize fried foods.
  • Choose complex carbs like oatmeal rather than simple sugars.
  • Incorporate proteins like yogurt or eggs.
  • Eat hydrating fruits and vegetables.
  • Avoid overeating by stopping when you feel satisfied rather than overly full.

Ideally, Suhoor should provide steady energy, fiber, protein and hydration to sustain you during many hours of fasting. Eating a wholesome balanced meal leads to better energy levels and work performance during Ramadan.

Late Night Suhoor

During summer months or in northern regions, Suhoor may need to be quite late at night to precede the next morning’s fast. Some tips for late night Suhoor include:

  • Eat lighter foods that are easy to digest.
  • Avoid fried or spicy foods that can cause discomfort.
  • Incorporate vegetables and fruits.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking water.
  • Consider protein shakes or smoothies.
  • Have healthy snacks like nuts on hand in case you get hungry at night.

The most important thing is preventing hunger and dehydration the next day, even if Suhoor needs to be as late as 1 or 2am before dawn during summer Ramadan fasts.


In summary, the specific times for stopping eating at night during Ramadan depend greatly on your geographic location and seasonal timing of sunrise and sunset. Iftar meals are generally 1-2 hours after sunset, with Suhoor 1-2 hours before dawn. Islamic scholars emphasize flexibility based on personal health considerations and community traditions.

The optimal approach is eating nutritious Iftar and Suhoor meals that provide sustenance to last through the fast without overindulging. Staying hydrated overnight is also key. With the proper nutritional approach, the Ramadan fast provides immense spiritual and health benefits for observant Muslims worldwide.

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