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Ramadan 2018: Why Muslims celebrate the revelation of the Koran

Ramadan 2018: Why Muslims celebrate the revelation of the Koran

This year Ramadan, which is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, begins on Tuesday May 15 and ends in the evening of Thursday June 14.

During Ramadan, Muslims have to abstain from eating, drinking and smoking from dawn to sunset. "In this spirit of thanksgiving and reflection, those observing Ramadan can strengthen our communities, help those in need, and serve as good examples for how to live a holy life".

With the rising of tonight's moon, I send my greetings and best wishes to all Muslims observing Ramadan in the United States and around the world.

This is because the Gulf countries decide the beginning of Ramadan based on the Islamic calendar, which is linked to the moon's 29 and a half-day monthly cycle.

Those that do not sight it are to complete the thirtieth day of Sha'baan and automatically start Ramadan the next day - in this case on Thursday May 17, 2018. After sunset the fast is broken with an evening meal called 'Iftar', often starting with few sips of water and handful of candies or dates.

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Ramadan is said to be a holy month during which period the prophet Muhammad says the doors of hell are firmly sealed and the doors to heaven are wide open.

The date is also recognised as one of the Five Pillars of Islam, alongside faith, prayer, charity, and making a pilgrimage to the Holy City of Mecca.

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

Eid al-Fitr is then celebrated for two or three days, marked with prayer and is observed as a holiday in many Islamic countries.