Millions of Muslims around the world have begun fasting on Thursday following the sighting of the new crescent moon on Wednesday evening.
Ramadhan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar and it is time when Muslims around the globe focus on prayer, fasting, giving charity and religious devotion.
It is the month wherein Allah sent Archangel Jibril (Gabriel) to Prophet Mohammed with the first verses of the Quran (Koran) and therefore considered the holiest month in the Islamic calendar.
In Kenya the sighting of the new crescent moon was announced by the Chief Kadhi Sheikh Ahmed Muhdhar at a press conference in Mombasa Wednesday evening.
Sheikh Muhdhar said fasting is intended to bring the faithful closer to God and remind them of the less fortunate in the society.
He urged the Muslim community in the country to be peaceful, united and live harmoniously with Kenyans of different religious affiliations.
Sheikh Muhdhar said during the month of Ramadhan, Muslims observe a strict fast between dawn and dusk and participate in pious activities such as Koran recitation, prayers and charitable giving.
The religious leader cum judicial officer said Ramadhan is a time for renewing faith and purifying ‘heart and soul’ for the millions who share in the Muslim faith around the world.
“Generally Ramadhan is a period of intense reflection, spiritual renewal and peace,” he observed.
At the same time, he appealed for enhanced security across the country during the fasting month of Ramadhan.
Fasting is compulsory upon every Muslim male or female but exemptions include children under the age of puberty, insane people, men and women who are too old to undertake the obligation of fast.
Others include sick people whose health is likely to be severely affected by the observance of fast, pregnant women and breast-feeding women.
By Hussein Abdullahi