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Saudi Arabian moon observers said that there was no sight of the Ramadan crescent on Tuesday, meaning millions of Muslims around the world will begin the holy month on Thursday.

It is considered the holiest time in the Islamic calendar and is one of the five pillars of Islam, which are the foundation of the religion.

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 locations.

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The word "Ramadan" comes from the Arabic root ramiḍa or ar-ramaḍ that means dryness or scorching heat. This month of Ramadan is regarded as the holiest month of them all.

There are some exemptions from fasting: you can eat and drink if you are suffering from an illness, travelling, are elderly, pregnant, breastfeeding, diabetic, chronically ill or menstruating. It was made so during the month of Sha'ban, in the second year after the Muslims migrated from Mecca to Medina.

Nearly the majority of U.S. Muslims observe the month of Ramadan, reveals American fact tank Pew Research in an article published Tuesday.

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"As the holy month begins, I wish all those celebrating a very happy and prosperous Ramadan Kareem", he added.

Muslims believe that the first verses of the Quran were revealed on a night known as the Laylat al-Qadr or the "Night of Power" in English.

"In the spirit of Ramadan, I want to enjoin Muslims in Nigeria to maximise the spiritual and physical benefits associated with the holy month as well as assimilate the Ramadan's ethical principles of sharing, caring, love, tolerance and piety". As there are certain restrictions during the month, it is seen as a way to detoxify both physically and spiritually. Observers are allowed to eat a pre-dawn meal, including power foods like dates, yogurt and fava beans, to get them through the day, according to USA Today.

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