Muslims in Leeds to begin Ramadan fast

Ramazan 2018: Holy month of fasting starts in Gulf and far East countries from May 17

Fasting month of Ramadan starts today

Ramadan will begin tonight, Tuesday May 15 and last through to the evening of Thursday June 14.

All adult Muslims are obliged to fast, with the exception of the mentally disabled and ill ones who could worsen their health condition. If moon sighted, Shaban will end and Ramadan will begin from tomorrow, May 17.

As the sun sets (Maghrib), the cannons will be fired during the holy month every day at sunset to notify Muslims to break their fast.

Before the daily fast, Muslims have a pre-dawn meal called suhoor and also come together at dusk to break the fast with the meal called iftar. It is on this night, which falls during the last 10 nights of Ramadan, that Muslims believe that God sent the Angel Gabriel to the Prophet Muhammad and revealed the first verses of the Quran. According to her, most people purchase beans to make "akara" (bean cake) and "moi-moi" (another local delicacy) for the fasting period.

Fasting is one of the five fundamental tenets of Islam, which is compulsory for all Muslims except infants, the insane and the invalid. The month-long fasting ends with Id-ul-Fitr, celebrated in the Muslim community.

The Islamic calendar, like the Jewish calendar, is a lunar calendar and the start of the month changes from one year to the next.

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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.

As the holiest month of the year, it is a crucial period for practising Muslims and underpins some of the religion's core values, such as prayer and giving to charity.

The first day of the Islamic holy month of Ramazan will most likely be on Thursday, as Al-Arabiya news channel reported.

The key is to remember that Ramadan is a month to reap rewards and benefits, and increase your spiritual connection.

Some people are exempt from fasting: children until the age of puberty, pregnant women, travellers, the elderly and people that are chronically ill. The prayer consists of a sermon followed by the short congregational prayer.

Google has also announced the roll out of their interactive calligraphy application called Qalam to help create 3D Ramadan messages and an augmented reality tool, the Qibla Finder, which helps Muslims locate where Mecca is before prayer.

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