Muslim faithful throughout the world are currently observing the holy month of Ramadan.
Ramadan is the Muslim religious observance that occurs during the 9th month of the Islamic calendar (this year it extends from September 1st to the 30th), believed to be the month in which the Qur’an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad by the angel Gabriel. It is the Islamic month of fasting (sawm), in which participating Muslims do not eat or drink anything or even smoking from true dawn until sunset. when the fast is broken with the evening meal called Iftar.
Local customs define varying traditions, including differing types of food used to break the daily fast. The fasting is meant to teach a person patience, humility and sacrifice, to set aside time to ask forgiveness, practice self-restraint, and pray for guidance in the future.
An officer of Brunei’s Islamic authority looks through a telescope as he performs “rukyah”, the sighting of the new moon for Ramadan, over the skies of Bukit Agok outside Bandar Seri Begawan August 31, 2008. Muslims scan the sky at dusk at the end of their lunar calendar’s eighth month in search of the new moon to proclaim the beginning of Ramadan.
The sun sets behind Al-hussein Mosque on the first day of Ramadan in Amman, Jordan Aug. 1. Religious authorities in most of the Middle East declared Monday the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, a period devoted to dawn-to-dusk fasting, prayers and spiritual introspection.
A stall worker preparing roasted chicken wings to be sold at a Ramadan bazaar in downtown Kuala Lumpur for the breaking of their fast. In Muslim households across Asia, the inflation crisis is casting a shadow over the holy month of Ramadan, and making the nightly ritual of breaking the fast a more meagre affair. From Afghanistan to Malaysia, the high prices of food are forcing the poor to go without, and curtailing the lavish evening buffets which the well-off have flocked to in better economic times.
In a pre-Ramadan tradition, Bosnian Muslim girls wash their face with water from cave as local tradition claims that the water and prayers inside the cave will bring personal beauty and success for the year, near the Bosnian town of Kladanj, 50 kms north of Sarajevo, Bosnia, on Sunday, Aug. 31, 2008. More than 30.000 people gathered to pray inside and outside the cave this year.
A Somali refugee girl reads the holy Koran at the Liban integrated academy at the Ifo refugee camp in Dadaab, near the Kenya-Somalia border August 2. The United Nations estimates that more than 3.7 million people in Somalia, among them 800,000 children, are on the brink of starvation. The famine in the Horn of Africa is spreading and may soon engulf as many as six more regions of the lawless nation of Somalia, the U.N. humanitarian aid chief said on Monday.
A defected Yemeni soldier who joined sides with anti-regime protesters reads the Koran as he sits on an armoured vehicle near the entrance to Taghyeer Square in Sanaa August 2. After six months of mass protests seeking to end president Ali Abdullah Saleh’s 33-year rule, demonstrators vow to continue their sit-in at Taghyeer square through the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan until their demands are met.
A boy sleeps in a mosque while waiting to break his fast on the first day of Ramadan in Makassar, Indonesia.