New Delhi: Ramzan, the holy month of fasting for Muslims, will begin from Saturday.

The announcement was made late on Friday night by Shahi Imam of Fatehpuri mosque Maulana Mufti Mukkaram Ahmed, reversing an earlier announcement which had said that it will start from Sunday.

Ramzan celebration in Pics

"The sky was cloudy and we could not sight the new moon, so we had earlier decided that the month of Ramzan will begin from Sunday.

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"However, we later contacted Maulanas in various parts of the country like Hyderabad and Srinagar who told us that they have sighted the moon. So, we have decided to reverse the earlier decision," Mukkaram said.

Ramzan, the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, is observed as a fasting period by Muslims who abstain from food and water from sunrise to sunset.

The month-long fasting will culminate in the Id-ul-Fitr celebrations next month.

Muslims in Kerala observe Ramzan fast

Muslims in Kerala began their Ramadan fast Saturday."We went go to the mosque for the first prayer session, which took place at 5.30 a.m.," said Sabry Hussian, an IT professional here.

A growing number of young men and women from the state have been observing the religious tradition. Muslims are the second-largest religious community in Kerala after Hindus.

Ramzan begins amid prayers in Kashmir

The holy month of Ramzan began Saturday with thousands of Muslims across Jammu and Kashmir thronging mosques to offer early morning prayers.

Shoppers busied themselves since morning to buy dates, a favourite fruit to break the daylong fast.

"Some of the better quality Saudi dates are exorbitantly priced. A packet containing around  two dozen high-quality dates costs anything between Rs.400-700," said Imran Manzoor, a resident of Srinagar.

The 30 days of fast

During the 30 days of fasting - which began here with the sighting of the crescent moon Friday - devout Muslims do not eat or drink during the day, as it has to be done between dusk and dawn.

The breaking of the daylong fast is known as 'Iftaar' and the pre-dawn meal before starting the fast is known as 'Sehri'.

Although the period of daily fasting lasts more than 12 hours, Kashmiris probably eat more during Ramzan than they do during other months of the year, say experts.


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