Muslim fasting month of Ramadan to start Thursday

Members of the Malaysian Islamic authority perform "Rukyah Hilal Ramadan," the sighting of the new moon to determine the start of the holy fasting month of Ramadan in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Tuesday, May 15, 2018. Muslims around the world will start observing Ramadan, the holiest month in Islamic calendar this week. (AP Photo/Sadiq Asyraf)
Members of the Malaysian Islamic authority prepare for the process of "Rukyah Hilal Ramadan," the sighting of the new moon to determine the start of the holy fasting month of Ramadan in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Tuesday, May 15, 2018. Muslims around the world will start observing Ramadan, the holiest month in Islamic calendar this week. (AP Photo/Sadiq Asyraf)
Members of the Malaysian Islamic authority perform "Rukyah Hilal Ramadan," the sighting of the new moon to determine the start of the holy fasting month of Ramadan in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Tuesday, May 15, 2018. Muslims around the world will start observing Ramadan, the holiest month in Islamic calendar this week. (AP Photo/Sadiq Asyraf)
Members of the Malaysian Islamic authority perform "Rukyah Hilal Ramadan," the sighting of the new moon to determine the start of the holy fasting month of Ramadan in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Tuesday, May 15, 2018. Muslims around the world will start observing Ramadan, the holiest month in Islamic calendar this week. (AP Photo/Sadiq Asyraf)

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Millions of Muslims around the world will begin the fasting month of Ramadan on Thursday.

Saudi Arabia and other Muslim nations, like Indonesia, declared Ramadan would not begin Wednesday based on a moon-sighting methodology. That means the month of dawn-to-dusk fasting will most likely begin Thursday.

The Ramadan fast, in which even water is prohibited, falls on especially long summer days this year for Muslims in the Northern Hemisphere. For Muslims who live in regions where Islam is not the dominant religion, challenging fasts are believed to come with greater blessings.

Fasting is intended to bring the faithful closer to God and remind them of those less fortunate. It is also a chance to kick addictions like caffeine and cigarettes.

During the day, Muslims must abstain from eating, drinking, sex, gossip and cursing, and are encouraged to focus on meditative acts like prayer, reading the Quran and charity. There are exceptions to fasting for children, the elderly, the sick, women who are pregnant, nursing or menstruating, and people travelling.

Muslims follow a lunar calendar, and a moon-sighting methodology can lead to different countries declaring the start of Ramadan a day or two apart.

Traditionally, countries announce if their moon-sighting council spots the Ramadan crescent the evening before fasting begins. The kingdom's announcement was made on Saudi state TV and by other state-run media.

Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five obligatory pillars of Islam, along with the Muslim declaration of faith, daily prayer, annual charity and performing the hajj pilgrimage in Mecca. Many donate their annual charity, known as "zakat," during Ramadan.

In many Middle Eastern countries, the wealthy help distribute free meals for the poor, with mosques and volunteers passing out juice and food to pedestrians and anyone, Muslim or non-Muslim, in need of the aid or simply breaking their fast.

Muslims typically break their fast as the Prophet Muhammad did some 1,400 years ago, by eating sweet dates and drinking water, followed by a sunset prayer.

Ramadan is also a time of feasting with family and friends. In the Middle East, worshippers pack mosques for nightly prayers before heading home to watch Ramadan television specials.

It's common practice across many Muslim-majority nations for liquor stores and hotels to curb the sale of alcohol during Ramadan. Often, restaurants shutter their doors during the day.

In the United Arab Emirates, where foreigners outnumber locals, restaurants put up curtains out of respect to those who are fasting, and expats are encouraged not to eat in public view of those fasting.

Muslims celebrate the end of Ramadan with a three-day holiday called Eid al-Fitr.

___

Batrawy reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

You may also interested in

Egypt says no hidden rooms in King Tut's tomb...

May 6, 2018

Egypt's antiquities ministry says new radar scans have provided conclusive evidence that there are...

In Salah's Nile delta village, the Egyptian is a...

May 22, 2018

In Salah's village deep in Egypt's Nile Delta, the Liverpool winger is a superhero and a role model

Iran displays ancient Persian artifacts returned...

Feb 8, 2017

Iran is displaying hundreds of ancient and Persian artifacts, some dating back as far as 3,500...

Canine shelter takes on Tehran stray dog problem...

Mar 16, 2017

Tehran government hires dog shelter to deal more humanely with burgeoning problem of strays in...

Chador in, hijab out: Iran VP's wardrobe draws...

Aug 26, 2017

New Iranian vice president's decision to don traditional Muslim chador, abandon her fashion style...

About Us

Originally founded in 2015, Voyage Times publishes articles on travel and lifestyle for travelers, leisure seekers, and culture hunters from around the world.

Contact us: sales[at]voyagetimes.com

Subscribe Now!

Quick Links

HomePress