Ramadan 2015
People prepare to break their fast on the first day of the holy month of Ramadan, near Taksim Square in Istanbul.Reuters

The holy month of Ramadan is fast approaching, and Muslims around the world are indulging in preparations for 30 days of fasting. Ramadan begins with the first sighting of the crescent moon in different countries, marking the end of the month of Shaban – the eighth month of the Islamic calendar.

Due to the shorter Islamic or Hijrah calendar compared to the Gregorian calendar, the date of Ramadan varies from country to country each year. The Federal Authority for Government Human Resources announced the private-sector working hours during Ramadan in the UAE, where the holy month of fasting is expected to begin on June 6 depending on the moon sighting, the News Tribe reported.

Assuming Ramadan is celebrated in the UAE on June 6, the holy month would be traditionally celebrated the following day in countries such as India and Pakistan, subject to the moon sighting. If the crescent moon (hilal) is not sighted on June 7 in India, it will likely be postponed by a day on June 8. Ramadan consists of 30 days and around 1.6 billion Muslims around the world will observe fast, which is considered one of the five pillars of Islam.

The Scientific-Religious Council of the Caucasian Muslims Office (CMO) on Thursday issued a fatwa on the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan. Based on the astronomical calculations conducted by the Shamakhi-based Tusi Astrophysical Observatory of the Azerbaijani Academy of Sciences (ANAS), Ramadan will begin on June 7 in Azerbaijan this year, which means in India, too, the month of fasting will begin on June 7 and Eid al-Fitr will fall on July 6, APA.az reported.

During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims abstain from eating or drinking anything from sunrise and sunset. Besides, they must also refrain from evil actions and thoughts, and indulge in prayers, zikr and dua more than other months. The soul is considered to be purified of all evil influence and the person's faith in Allah becomes stronger as a result.

The dates may vary based on when the New Moon is seen and to decisions made by individual Islamic Committees in different countries.