Ramzan 2018: Islamic holy month - Things you need to know

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Muslims around the world are set to mark the month, during which believers abstain from eating, drinking and smoking from dawn until sunset.

According to an official statement presented by Saudi Arabia, the country will start the Ramadan fast on Thursday, May 17, as the crescent moon was not observable on Tuesday. Ramadan is observed a day earlier in some parts of the world due to a moon-sighting methodology that leads countries to announce the start of the holy month on differing days.

Ramadan is the ninth month on the Islamic calender known as the Hijri calendar. In essence, it is a period of spiritual growth attained through prayer and self-control. Similarly, they finish reading the whole of Quran by the end of the month.

President George Weah has extended heartfelt greetings to all Muslim across Liberia and the entire Islamic Community as they embark on the annual religious journey of the Holy Month of Ramadan, an Executive Mansion release said yesterday. Those observing refrain from food or drink from sun-up to sundown, with exceptions for age or health conditions, and break the day's fast with the iftar meal. They said that the Holy month will start off from Thursday. Others who are also permitted to sit out of the fasting are the elderly, people travelling, pregnant and breastfeeding women, diabetic patients as well as females menstruating.

Some people are exempt from fasting.

Ramadan is also a time for feasting with family and friends.

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Muslims are instructed to seek the Night of Power during the last ten days of Ramadan, particularly on the odd-numbered nights.

In Nigeria for instance, the leader of the Muslims the Sultan of Sokoto Sheikh Sa'ad Abubakar has tasked the faithful to look out for the new moon.

The date of commencement is expected to fall between Wednesday May 16 or Thursday May 17.

While these are common practices, there are other less-familiar pointers to observe.

In the program, Eissa repeatedly questioned the necessity of fasting in Ramadan, saying that "Fasting is considered a sovereign decision, Allah (God) commanded us, yet we are not informed on the wisdom behind fasting".

It must be noted, however, that failing to fast during the period constitutes an infraction that could also be a crime in some Muslim countries.

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