Every year, Muslims across the world take part in Ramadan.

1. What is Ramadan? Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.

Ramadan is regarded as the holiest month of the year for Muslims as it was the month in which the Quran was revealed to Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).

''The month of Ramadan (is that) in which was revealed the Quran, a guidance for the people and the clear proof for guidance and criterion. So whoever sights (the new moon of) the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey - then an equal number of other days. Allah intends for you ease and doesn't intend for you hardship and wants for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that (to) which He has guided you: and perhaps you will be grateful.''

                                                                 Surah Al-Baqarah 2:185

2. Why do Muslims fast during Ramadan?

The objective of the fast is to remind the suffering of the less fortunate and to bring the followers closer to God.

As mentioned in the Quran, Muslims, during this month, are supposed to donate alms to the poor and feed the hungry.

The annual observance of Ramadan is considered one of the five pillars of Islam.

The other four pillars are: belief in oneness of God, daily prayers, charity, and performing the Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca.

3. How long does it last?

Ramadan lasts for one complete moon cycle, which is usually 29 or 30 days.

This year, according to the Gregorian calendar, Ramadan in most countries start on May 17.

4. How do Muslims observe Ramadan?

Adult Muslims are required to fast from dawn to dusk every day throughout Ramadan.

Those who are ill, elderly, diabetic, pregnant, menstruating, or breast-feeding are not required to fast.

Those who travel or are unwell during the period of Ramadan may fast on different days at a later point.

Children are not required to fast unless they have reached puberty, although many still do out of choice.

In addition to abstaining from eating, drinking, and smoking, Muslims also refrain from sexual relations as well as sinful speech and behaviour.

5. How do Muslims mark the end of Ramadan?

The end of Ramadan is marked by intense worship as Muslims seek to have their prayers answered during “Laylat al-Qadr” or “the Night of Destiny.”

It is on this night, which falls during the last 10 nights of Ramadan, that Muslims believe that God sent the Angel Gabriel to the Prophet Muhammad and revealed the first verses of the Quran.

Some devout Muslims go into reclusion during those final days, spending all of their time in the mosque.

The end of Ramadan is celebrated by a three-day holiday called Eid al-Fitr.

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