Ramadan fast to begin Thursday

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Meanwhile, Alhaji Muhammad Sa'ad Abubakar III, the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), is calling on Muslims to look out for the moon that ushers in the 1439 A.H Ramadan fast.

The Ramadan Moon Sighting Committees in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) followed with a similar statement declaring that the first day of Ramadan 2018 will be Thursday May 17, 2018.

Muslims fast from early in the morning, throughout the day until sunset, abstaining from food, drink, smoking, sex and all "sinful behaviour". For Muslims who live in regions where Islam is not the dominant religion, challenging fasts are believed to come with greater blessings.

This year Ramazan (Ramadan) begins on the evening of Tuesday May 15 and ends on the evening of Thursday June 14.

Many pilgrims from around the world travel to the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah for Umrah during Ramadan.

In the Philippines, officials of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) affirmed the declaration, even as they urged traders to observe "rational" pricing of basic commodities that usually got bloated in past seasons of Islamic fasting. The month of Ramadan is a self-exercise in restraint.

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Fasting from dawn until sunset in Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam and is meant to help teach Muslims self-discipline, self-restraint and generosity.

The holy month of Ramadan will begin on Thursday on Saudi Arabia and adjoining Gulf region.

The holy month will see numerous world's 1.6 billion Muslims commit to a strict daytime fast, often taking the opportunity to make promises to improve their lives.

They are also forbidden from sexual relations, false speech or fighting, save for self defence and those who are pregnant, menstruating, breastfeeding, diabetic or old are exempt from fasting. North African countries and those in the Middle East will also begin the fast on Thursday. It also organizes nightly prayers during Ramadan.

"The EId-Ul-Fitr day is the ending of Ramadan", explained Mahmood. This time of year, observant Muslims here would have to eat before 3:40 a.m. Exceptions are made for people for health or medical reasons.

Muslims during Ramadan generally greet each other saying, "Ramadan mubarak!" and Sunni Muslims go to the mosque at night to offer prayers, the practice is known as "taraweeh".

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