Millions of Muslims around the world on Monday mark the start of the holy month of Ramadan, a time marked by intense prayer, dawn-to-dusk fasting and good deeds.
Religious authorities in most Middle Eastern countries announced the new moon of Ramadan was spotted on Sunday evening.
Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, also said Muslims there would begin fasting on Monday, as will Muslims in Singapore, Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan and the Palestinian territories, among others.
Tens of thousands of Palestinians pray at Al-Aqsa for Ramadan
Following these announcements, a mosque in Tampa, Florida announced to its followers that they too would celebrate the first day’s fasting on Monday.
The sighting of the new moon marks the beginning of the Muslim lunar month that varies between 29 and 30 days.
Some countries use astronomical calculations and observatories, while others rely on the naked eye alone, leading sometimes to different starting times in the Middle East.
Ramadan begins around 11 days earlier each year.
Muslims believe Ramadan to be the month in which the first verses of the Quran, Islam’s holy book, were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad more than 1,400 years ago. (Reuters)
*Photo shows Muslim kids praying.