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Ramadan Mubarak! Gulf countries start observing holy month

Religious authorities in Gulf nations announce start of Ramadan on Monday following crescent moon sighting
Saudis shop for dates at a market in preparation for Ramadan in the city of Jeddah on 3 June (AFP)

The annual fasting month of Ramadan began on Monday in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen, religious authorities in the four Muslim countries said.

The announcement was made on Sunday after the sighting of the crescent moon.

Other Muslim countries in the Middle East and North Africa are also expected to begin observing Ramadan on Monday or on Tuesday.

Ramadan is sacred to Muslims because tradition says the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed during that month.

During Ramadan, Muslims around the world abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and having sex from dawn to dusk.

They break the fast with a meal known as iftar and before dawn they have a second opportunity to eat and drink during suhur.

Ramadan is followed by the Eid al-Fitr festival.

Jordanians shop for traditional lanterns known in Arabic as "Fanous" on 5 June, 2016, as the the fasting month begins (AFP)

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