Muslims around the world fast as they mark the the holy month of Ramadan.

13 April 2021 | Al Jazeera English

The Muslim holy month of Ramadan began on Tuesday amid restrictions on communal prayers and fasting due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Muslims across the world will be observing fasting during which they abstain from eating, drinking and smoking from dawn until sunset.

Many countries have allowed communal prayers with strict social distancing rules in contrast to the empty mosques a year ago when Islam’s holiest month coincided with the spike in coronavirus infections.

Ramadan, which changes each year depending on the sighting of the moon, began this year on April 13.

For Muslims, Ramadan is the month in which the first verses of the Quran, Islam’s holy book, were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad more than 1,400 years ago.

Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam, along with the Muslim declaration of faith, daily prayer, charity and performing the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

The breaking of the fast each day is called the “Iftar”, when families and communities gather to feast together. The meal starts with the eating of a single date, a tradition that originated with the Prophet Muhammad.

A Palestinian man erects scaffolding to be used to shade worshippers with canvases during the day, near the Dome of the Rock at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, Islam’s third-holiest site, in the old city of Jerusalem, on the eve of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan. [Ahmad Gharabli/AFP]

Omanis buy fresh food at the Mawaleh market in the capital Muscat ahead of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. [Mohammed Mahjoub/AFP]

A Syrian man adjusts decorations for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan at the Clock Square in Syria’s rebel-held northwestern city of Idlib. [Omar Haj Kadour/AFP]

People shop from a stall selling Ramadan lanterns along a main street in the northern suburb of Shubra of Egypt’s capital Cairo at the start of the Ramadan. [Khaled Desouki/AFP]

Muslim women offer prayers on the first night of Ramadan at the Osmanagic mosque in Podgorica. [Savo Prelevic/AFP]

An Iraqi man sells food at the Shorjah market in central Baghdad ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan after the easing of the curfew imposed by authorities amid the COVID-19 pandemic. [Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP]

A Ramadan cannon is fired following the evening prayer during the holy month of Ramadan in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Western Balkan countries welcomed it with measures taken due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. [Elman Omic/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images]

Due to the curfew imposed against the COVID-19 pandemic in North Macedonia, the first ritual prayer of the holy month of Ramadan at the historical Mustafa Pasha Mosque in Skopje did not have a congregation in attendance. [Arbnora Memeti/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images]

Due to the measures imposed against the coronavirus pandemic in Croatia, only a small number of worshippers performed the first ritual prayer of the holy month of Ramadan at Zagreb Mosque. [Stipe Majic/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images]

Muslims performing the first ritual prayer of the holy month of Ramadan at the Turkish-Islamic Cultural Association (ATIB) Mosque, amid the measures taken against the novel coronavirus in Vienna, Austria. [Askin Kiyagan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images]

A Muslim makes a donation after an evening prayer as others pass by during the first evening of the holy fasting month of Ramadan at Chicago’s Muslim Community Center. [Shafkat Anowar/AP Photo]

Women offer their prayers at the Eyup Sultan Mosque, in Istanbul, a day before Ramadan. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was forced to announce renewed restrictions following a spike of COVID-19 cases, such as weekend lockdowns and the closure of cafes and restaurants during Ramadan, starting on April 13. [Emrah Gurel/AP Photo]

An Iraqi woman shops at a wholesale market ahead of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, in Mosul, Iraq. [Khalid Al-Mousily/Reuters]

Muslims pray during the first dawn prayers of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, around the Kaaba, the cubic building at the Grand Mosque, as they maintain social distancing to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. [Amr Nabil/AP Photo]
Muslims gather for prayers during the start of the holy month of Ramadan at the Al Akbar Mosque in Surabaya, Indonesia. [Juni Kriswanto/AFP]

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