Ramadan 2018
Representational Image: A boy serves plates of fruit in preparation for Iftar on the first day of Ramadan in Peshawar, Pakistan.Reuters

The holy month of Ramadan is here to unite the Muslims around the world and inspire them to do more good deeds and spend on charity. During the Islamic month of fasting, Muslims around the world will be seen committed to pleasing Allah.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which follows the lunar cycle, unlike the Gregorian calendar. Muslims around the world will mark the beginning of the new month upon the sighting of the crescent moon, and depending on the geographical location the dates may vary.

Ramadan is expected begin in the evening of May 16 and end on June 15. Muslims in the Middle Eastern countries, the US and other neighboring countries will celebrate Ramadan a day before it begins in India. This means Indian Muslims will observe their first fast on May 18, 2018. Dates are subject to change depending on when the crescent is sighted in respective countries.

Ramadan 2018 dates
Ramadan 2018 datesReuters

"The Astronomical New Moon is on Tuesday, May 15, 2018, at 11:47 Universal Time. On that day, somewhere in the Pacific Ocean at sunset, the elongation is 8 degrees and moon is 5 degrees above the sun. Therefore first day of Ramadan 1439 is on Wednesday, May 16, 2018, insha'Allah. First Tarawih prayer will be on Tuesday night," the Fiqh Council Of North America noted.

Last year, Ramadan started late in May, but due to the shorter Islamic year, which is based on the cycle of the moon, as compared to the English calendar, the holy Muslim month will commence a few days earlier.

There are state-wise Muslim authorities in India that will confirm the dates of Ramadan this year depending on the sighting of the new moon. The easiest way to predict when the holiest Islamic month will begin is to follow Saudi Arabia's announcement. In India, Ramadan will commence the next day after it has been confirmed in Saudi Arabia.

But precise date will be only confirmed when the new moon is sighted in India. Based on astronomical predictions, anticipating Indian Muslims can start looking for the crescent in the evening of May 17.

International Business Times, India, has received several Ramadan 2018 timetable cards, which predict the first day of fasting to be on May 17. Muslims in India are likely to observe 14-hour long fasts in the country.

After fasting for 30 days during the day, Muslims are likely to celebrate Eid ul-Fitr on June 16, 2018. Depending on the sighting of the moon, there could be either 29 or 30 days in the month of Ramadan this year, so the dates may vary.

During the month of Ramadan, Muslims refrain from eating between dawn and dusk. Healthy individuals observe mandatory fasting, which is one of the five pillars of Islamic faith, and also perform other religious activities such as praying, giving charity, reciting the holy book of Quran, helping the poor, and more.