Look for Ramadan moon Wednesday - Sultan

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Traditionally, countries announce if their moon-sighting council spots the Ramadan crescent the evening before fasting begins.

Millions of Muslims have begun the fasting month of Ramadan on Wednesday.

5The fast breaks at sundown.

Those that do not sight it are to complete the thirtieth day of Sha'baan and automatically start Ramadan the next day - in this case on Thursday May 17, 2018.

Many pilgrims from around the world travel to the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah for Umrah - a pilgrimage that can be undertaken at any time of the year - during Ramadan.

It is meant to bring Muslims closer to God and teach them about patience, spirituality, and humility.

The tithe must be paid during the month of Ramadan.

Ramadan is also a time of feasting with family and friends.

The Grand Mufti said Ramadan will start on Thursday, as the crescent moon by which the start of the Islamic holy month is measured, was not observed on Tuesday.

"The council hereby enjoins Muslims all over the country to be on the lookout for the announcement of His Eminence, the President-General of NSCIA, on the commencement of the 1439 AH Ramadan fast", Shehu said.

Water, water and more water during night-time hours - experts advise to drink as much water as possible during Iftaar (breaking of fast) and Suhur (pre-dawn meal) times, especially if hot weather is expected during the day.

Muslims, estimated at more than 1.6 billion in 2010 worldwide, observe fasting with intensified prayers and religious rituals in varying degrees depending on the environment prevailing in their respective locations.

Thursday will be the first day of Ramadan in all other Gulf states as well as in many Arab and Muslim countries. This includes most children before they reach puberty, elderly people and the sick, travellers and women who are breastfeeding or menstruating.

"With the rising of tonight's moon, I send my greetings and best wishes to all Muslims observing Ramadan in the United States and around the world", the president said in a statement released by the White House.

Muslims believe that Allah gave the first verses of the Quran to Prophet Mohammed during the month in 610.

Muslims celebrate the end of Ramadan with a three-day holiday called Eid al-Fitr.

"That's obviously challenging this time of year", Hasan says.

Taraweeh is the special prayer held post Isha'a namaz on every night of Ramadan, when the entire Quran is narrated in divided portions over the next 27 days.