"THE SULTAN OF THE 11 MONTHS" BEGINS Holy month of Ramadan, which is also called the "Sultan of the 11 Months" begins with first Tarawih prayer on Tuesday, May 15. Muslims will fast during Ramadan.

For the world’s 1.8 billion Muslims, the month of Ramadan is an important period of the year which underpins not only fasting but also prayer, purification and giving to charity. This year, Ramadan, which is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, begins on Tuesday, May 15 and ends in the evening of Thursday, June 14.

As the Islamic calendar is lunar and it is 10 to 11 days shorter, the dates for when Ramadan begins move every year. For example, in 2017, Ramadan began on May 26 and ended on June 24.

Muslims believe that Prophet Mohammed received first revelations from God in the year 610, during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, Ramadan. Muslims will abstain from food and drink from dawn to dusk during the holy month.

Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of the Islamic faith. Muslims see fasting as a way to purify both spiritually and physically, and to detach from earthly pleasures and to be closer to God. Fasting is required for all able adults who have no medical issues, whereas children, pregnant women and people who travel are exempt.

Muslims will eat every night before sunrise to begin the day’s fast. They will break their fast at dusk with the communal "Iftar" meal, which is often accompanied by family members.

This year, the Festival of Ramadan or Eid al-Fitr, during which Muslims will celebrate the end of the fasting month, will take place from Friday June 15 to Sunday June 17.