KAMPALA, UGANDA: The holy month of Ramadan will start on Thursday, March 23, based on the expected sighting of the crescent moon, the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council (UMSC) has confirmed.
Islam follows a lunar calendar, so Ramadan begins around a week and a half earlier each year, and Thursday was confirmed as the first day of the fasting period after the iconic crescent moon ? was not seen last evening.
Dr Ziyad Swaleh Lubanga, the Acting Director Sharia at UMSC announced Tuesday thay Taraweeh prayers at the National Mosque and other mosques across the country will commence today (Wednesday) and will be held every evening from 08:30 pm.
Additionally, Islamic seminars, known as Darasas, will be conducted every Sunday from 10:00 am throughout the Ramadhan.
During Ramadan, Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, smoking, and having sex from sunrise until sunset. Even a tiny sip of water or a puff of smoke is enough to invalidate the fast. At night, family and friends gather and feast in a festive atmosphere.
Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam and is required for all healthy Muslims. But there are exemptions for those who are ill, and for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
The fasting is aimed at bringing the faithful closer to God and reminding them of the suffering of the poor. Muslims are expected to strictly observe daily prayers and engage in heightened religious contemplation. They are also urged to refrain from gossiping, fighting or cursing during the holy month.
At the end of Ramadan, Muslims celebrate the joyous Eid al-Fitr holiday, when children often receive new clothes and gifts.
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