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Ramadan Fasts and Feasts: Islam’s Holy Month Around the World

Ramadan is marked by intense prayer, dawn-to-dusk fasting and nightly feasts.

Beirut

Muslims pray on the first Friday of Ramadan at the Muhammad al-Amin Mosque on June 2. 

Bilal Hussein / AP

Dhaka, Bangladesh

Muslims offer prayers on Friday. 

Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar and it is believed that the Quran's first verse was revealed during its last 10 nights.

A.M. Ahad / AP

Kathmandu, Nepal

A man offers prayers on Friday.

Ramadan is traditionally a time of reflection and prayer, and Muslims are expected to abstain during daylight hours from food, drink, smoking and sex to focus on spirituality, good deeds and charity.

Navesh Chitrakar / Reuters

Beirut

Faithful listen to a sermon on Friday.

Bilal Hussein / AP

Allahabad, India

A boy watches the faifthul pray on Friday. 

Rajesh Kumar Singh / AP

Jakarta, Indonesia

Men lie down after praying at Istiqlal Mosque on Friday.

Bagus Indahono / EPA

Putrajaya, Malaysia

A boy watches as others pray on Friday. 

Manan Vatsyayana / AFP - Getty Images

Cairo

A girl walks inside Ibn Tulun Mosque on Friday.

Amr Abdallah Dalsh / Reuters

Gaza City

A Palestinian boy plays with fireworks as he celebrates the start of Ramadan on May 31.

The fast presents a physical and spiritual challenge every year, but particularly when the holiday falls during harsh Mideast summer when the days are longest and temperatures soar in some places to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

 

Hatem Moussa / AP

Srinagar, Indian-controlled Kashmir

Boys read the Quran at Markaz Al-Madrasa Al-Islamia, an Islamic seminary and orphanage, on May 30.

Danish Ismail / Reuters

East Java, Indonesia

Students read the Quran at an Islamic boarding school on May 30.

Fully Handoko / EPA

Manalapan, New Jersey

Hager Elhariry high-fives family friend Ali Ghonaim as the Egyptian-American family takes part in the Iftar dinner to break their Ramadan fast on May 28.

Amr Alfiky / Reuters

Gaza City

A Palestinian man reads from the Quran on May 31.

Mohammed Abed / AFP - Getty Images

Karachi, Pakistan

A boy wait to break his fast at a charity food distribution point on May 29.

Akhtar Soomro / Reuters

Jakarta, Indonesia

A woman reads the Quran in a mosque on May 29. 

Tatan Syuflana / AP

Agartala, India

A boy reads the Quran at a madrassa, or religious school, on May 29.

Jayanta Dey / Reuters

Allahabad, India

Children wait to break their fast outside a mosque on May 28.

Sanjay Kanojia / AFP - Getty Images

Ghouta, Syria

A boy carries raw Ramadan pastries prior to baking in the rebel-held Damascus suburb on May 28.

Bassam Khabieh / Reuters

Istanbul

Women look at their cell phones after breaking fast on May 27 in front of the Blue Mosque. 

Ozan Kose / AFP - Getty Images

Kabul, Afghanistan

Boys read the Quran in a madrassa on May 28.

Omar Sobhani / Reuters

New York City

A man rests after breaking fast and performing the Maghrib sunset prayer on the first day of Ramadan at the Islamic Cultural Center in Manhattan on May 27.

Amr Alfiky / Reuters

Hyderabad, India

Muslims arrive to offer the first "Taraveeh" (special night prayers) at Mecca Masjid on May 27, ahead of the start of Ramadan.

Noah Seelam / AFP - Getty Images

Manila, Phillippines

Muslims pray to mark the start of Ramadan on May 27. 

Mark R. Cristino / EPA

Jakarta, Indonesia

Muslims pray on the first day of Ramadan at Istiqlal Mosque on May 26. 

Beawiharta / Reuters

Jakarta, Indonesia

An official uses a telescope to look for the new moon that will signal the start of Ramadan on May 26. Because of differences over how the new moon is spotted, some countries declare the start of Ramadan a day later than others.

Rivan Awal Lingga / Antara Foto/Reuters