Even an Egyptian newspaper wrote the festival begins at "sunrise". Unclear statements saying "just before sunrise" Ramadan begins on Islamic websites only causes confusion. We are left believing Ramadan begins at "sunrise" whereas the reality is that the fast begins before the first prayer at Dawn.
Writes one Islamic website:
... the fast involves abstention from all food, drink, vain talk, and sexual intercourse for married couples from the time before dawn when the sky becomes light enough to distinguish a black thread from the white thread of the horizon, until after sunset when redness leaves the Eastern half of the sky.It is clear Ramadan begins before Dawn and not before Sunrise.
Muslims begin the fast about ten minutes before the beginning of the dawn prayer (known as the Fajr prayer). They are to stop eating upon hearing the "call to prayer" called The Athan. The fast is broken after sunset where they eat a light meal comprised of "dates" called the "iftaar" -- the fast breaking meal before making the "call to the sunset prayer" called "Maghrib". The light meal is followed by a regular meal.
At some locations the Fajr prayer is around 2:39am or 2:35 or 2:30am. Fasting would begin ten minutes before the Fajr prayer. So if the prayer begins at 2:39am, fasting would begin about 2:30am.
All the prayer times for your location including the time for Fajr can be found by downloading this handy software.
Dawn, Sunset, Sunrise times can be found online at
Break for the Sabbath
We do not fast on the Sabbath. This is during the period of Friday sunset to Saturday sunset.
The Prophet said:
"Do not fast on Saturday, unless it is part of what Allah has prescribed for you. If you could not find anything, to eat but a grape skin or a piece of wood, you should chew it." (Ahmed)