Muslim fasting month of Ramadan to start Thursday

Millions of Muslims around the world will begin the fasting month of Ramadan on Thursday.

Saudi Arabia and other Muslim nations, like Indonesia, declared Ramadan would not begin Wednesday based on a moon-sighting methodology. That means the month of dawn-to-dusk fasting will most likely begin Thursday.

The Ramadan fast, in which even water is prohibited, falls on especially long summer days this year for Muslims in the Northern Hemisphere.

Fasting is intended to bring the faithful closer to God and remind them of those less fortunate. It is also a chance to kick addictions like caffeine and cigarettes.

During the day, Muslims must abstain from eating, drinking, sex, gossip and cursing, and are encouraged to focus on meditative acts like prayer, reading the Quran and charity.

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