Muslims Prepare to Observe Holy Month of Ramadan

Muslims around the world are preparing to observe the holy month of Ramadan, which is expected to begin late Sunday or Monday, depending on the first sighting of the new moon.

The faithful are expected to spend the month fasting during daylight hours, eschewing even water, and spending more time in prayer and study of the Quran. They are supposed to avoid bad habits and indulgences, such as smoking and sex.

Cultural differences and even geography have led to differences in the ways Muslims observe the holy month.

Fasting during daylight hours has proven difficult for people living near polar regions during the long days of the summer.

Muslim clerics have in the past few years issued fatwas allowing Muslims in regions where the sun does not set in summer — or, when Ramadan falls in winter, where the sun does not rise — to follow the sunrise and sunset times of Mecca.


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