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Holy fasting month of Ramadan to start on Monday

Millions around the world are expected begin the fasting month of Ramadan [Getty]

Date of publication: 5 May, 2019

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Millions around the world are expected begin the fasting month of Ramadan, according to authorities in various Muslim-majority states.

Millions around the world are expected begin the fasting month of Ramadan on Monday, according to authorities in various Muslim-majority states.

Gulf states and other large Muslim nations, including Indonesia, look set to begin Ramadan on Monday based on a customary moon-sighting methodology.

There was no sighting of the Ramadan crescent moon on Saturday in the Gulf, meaning the dawn-to-dusk fasting will likely begin on Monday.

Muslims shun food and even water during the month, which this year falls on especially long summer days for those who live in northern countries.

Fasting is meant to bring the faithful closer to God and remind them of those less fortunate.

Fasting is considered one of the five pillars of Islam.

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.

Because Muslims follow a lunar calendar, countries often declare the start of Ramadan a day or two apart.

Traditionally, countries announce if their moon-sighting council spots the Ramadan crescent in the evening before fasting begins.

The news of Monday's fast was made on Saudi state TV and in other countries.

In many Muslim majority countries, the wealthy distribute food and money to the poor, with mosques and volunteers passing out drinks and foods to passersby in need of aid or simply to break their fast.

Ramadan is also a time for feasting with family and friends. Nighttime is buzzing in many Muslim majority countries in Ramadan, and millions watch Ramadan television specials.

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

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