Matt Hancock thanks Muslims staying at home during Ramadan
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Ramadan is the next significant religious occasion of 2021, observed by billions of people around the world. The Muslim period of introspection asks all able participants to refrain from food, drink and other vices. They start and end their month-long abstinence after observing a full moon.
Has the Ramadan full moon been sighted?
Muslims observe Ramadan for a length of time set by the Islamic calendar.
Their system runs counter to the western Gregorian calendar in that it organises days and months by the moon rather than the sun.
Ramadan begins when Muslims observe the ninth new moon on their calendar.
Before they start abstaining for the month, Muslim authorities have to observe it, however.
Officials will declare the first day of Ramadan when they sight the moon from Saudi Arabia.
Many Muslim organisations around the world will proclaim the start of Ramadan individually.
In the UK, Muslims will follow the timings provided by Islamic Relief UK.
Until they declare Ramadan, observers will have only a rough idea of when their abstinence begins.
The asynchronous nature of the Gregorian and Islamic calendars means Ramadan is roughly ten days earlier each year.
In 2021, Muslim authorities expect Ramadan will fall on the coming Monday, April 12.
Muslims will fast for the following 30 days, until the tenth new moon of the year on May 11.
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Why is Ramadan significant?
Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar when healthy adult Muslims fast from dawn until dusk.
During this time, they will abstain from food, drink and acts of pleasure such as sex.
Abstinence begins from Fajr prayer before dawn to Maghrib at sunset.
During the day, Muslims will also encourage acts of charity and reading the Quran.
They allow the observer to achieve greater consciousness of God, known as “taqwa”.
Muslims also celebrate Ramadan as the month in which the Prophet Muhammad received the first verses of the Quran.
Ramadan culminates with Eid al-Fitr, which celebrates breaking the fast.
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