As Muslims worldwide begin fasting, an overview of Ramadan

The Islamic holy month of Ramadan has begun, and that means Muslims all over the world are fasting.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is a time when observant Muslims do not eat or drink from dawn until sunset. (Via Wikimedia Commons / Viktor Vasnetsov)

Ramadan is also a time when giving to the poor is encouraged, along with lots of prayer. (Via Flickr / Stephan Geyer)

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"After the evening prayer, more nightly prayer known as the taraweeh​ is recited. Throughout the Ramadan season, the Qu'aran is read as apart of the taraweeh​ custom," according to the History Channel.

Muslims believe the prophet Muhammad first received revelations from the archangel Gabriel during the month of Ramadan around A.D. 610. (Via Wikimedia Commons / Zakariya al-Qazwini)

The word "Ramadan" is derived from a word that means "scorcher" in Arabic, since under the ancient Arabic calendar it took place during the summer. 

 But because the Arabic calendar is based on lunar cycles, the celebration has occurred during all seasons. Currently, more than 1 billion Muslims all over the world fast for Ramadan.  (Via YouTube / broeder dawah)

But not everyone in the faith is expected to participate. Those who are sick, traveling, breastfeeding or pregnant are exempt are exempt. (Via The Telegraph)

Ramadan ends July 28. Muslims generally celebrate the end of Ramadan with a feast. 

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