Ramadan to start on Thursday, religious leaders say

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Sultan Saad Abubakar Ramadan begins Thursday

The sultanate's Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs said last Sunday that the holy month would fall on Thursday, May 17 due to concerns the moon would not be visible nationwide on Tuesday evening the next week.

Thursday will be the first day of Ramadan in all other Gulf states as well as in many Arab and Muslim countries.

The UAE Moon Sighting Committee has announced the first day of Ramadan this year will be May 17.

Danial said the date for the beginning of the fast nationwide was set in accordance with a decree by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong after acquiring the consent of the country's rulers.

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There is also a holy night called Laylat al-Qadr, which means "Night of Power", when the first verses of the Qur'an were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. As of 9.30pm, the Moon-sighting committee was still in discussions.

Muslims fast from early in the morning, throughout the day until sunset, abstaining from food, drink, smoking, sex and all "sinful behaviour".

Muslims throughout the world fast for different hours.

So Muslims fast as an act of worship, a chance to get closer to God and a way to become more compassionate to those in need.

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This period of fasting which is one of the five pillars of Islam, we appreciate the sacrifices that are made to hold us together as a Nation. A year ago more accidents happened in the late morning rush hour between 10am and 11am than any other time.

"As the holy month begins, I wish all those celebrating a very happy and prosperous Ramadhan Kareem".

A typical greeting is Ramadan Mubarak, which implies "have a blessed Ramadan".

Muslims are anticipated to place extra effort into following the teachings of Islam and this contains fasting - which teaches individuals the right way to be extra self-disciplined and have empathy for these much less lucky.

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However, some read the entire Quran (holy book), say special prayers and attend mosque more frequently during this time. It is followed by the Eid al-Fitr festival. A person may see other men coming as brothers, irrespective of color, status or anything else, shoulder to shoulder for namaz (congregational prayer).

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