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Thursday marks 1st day of Ramadan: Dar al Iftaa

Thursday marks 1st day of Ramadan: Dar al Iftaa

Also, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Iraq's Sunni Muslim minority also announced that the holy month of Ramadan will start on Thursday.

Non-Muslims visiting Islamic nations during Ramadan are not required to fast, but they are expected to refrain from eating and drinking in public spaces out of respect.

The exact start date will only be confirmed when the moon is spotted - this year it is expected to be between May 15 and May 16.

Dr Ahmad Al Ahdal, senior preacher at Department of Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities in Dubai, explained the process of Moon-sighting in an interview with Abu Dhabi TV. Each Islamic month is either twenty-nine or maximum thirty days.

Ramadan begins a day earlier in other parts of the world, depending on when a new moon is seen.

Sultan of Sokoto Alhaji Muhammad Sa'ad Abubakar.

"If the crescent is sighted by Muslims of impeccable character on the said evening, His Eminence would declare Thursday, May 17, 2017 as the first day of Ramadan". It is the most holy month in the calendar for Muslims as it is believed the Quran was revealed to Prophet Mohammed during Ramadan.

"In this blessed month, let's take the opportunity to strengthen friendship and foster stronger family ties by performing activities together such as having the pre-dawn and break fast meals, as well as the night prayers as a family", he said.

Fasting is one of Islam's five pillars, alongside declaration of monotheism, prayer five times a day, alms-giving, and the pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

In the holy month, Muslims fast for a full lunar month.

Fasting is meant to bring Muslims closer to God and remind them of those less fortunate.

How do you wish someone happy Ramadan?

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