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Ramadan 2011

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Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, began earlier this month with the sighting of the new moon. Throughout this ninth month on the Islamic calendar, devout Muslims must abstain from food, drink, and sex from dawn until sunset. The fast, one of the five pillars of Islam, is seen as a time for spiritual reflection, prayers, and charity. After sunset, Muslims traditionally break the fast by eating three dates, performing the Maghrib prayer, and sitting down to Iftar, the main evening meal, where communities and families gather together. Collected below are images of Muslims around the world observing Ramadan this year. [42 photos]

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Palestinian women stand in front of a window decoration of Islam's crescent moon and star on the eve of Islam's holy fasting month of Ramadan in the West Bank city of Jenin, on July 31, 2011. (Saif Dahlah/AFP/Getty Images)
Palestinian women stand in front of a window decoration of Islam's crescent moon and star on the eve of Islam's holy fasting month of Ramadan in the West Bank city of Jenin, on July 31, 2011. (Saif Dahlah/AFP/Getty Images)
In Miami, Florida, Muslims pray together on the evening of the first day of Ramadan at the Islamic Center of Greater Miami, on August 1, 2011. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images) #
Muslims leave after their Iftar (fast-breaking) meal on the first day of the holy month of Ramadan, at the Jama Masjid (Grand Mosque) in the old quarters of Delhi August 2, 2011. (Reuters/Adnan Abidi) #
A Pakistani Muslim man prepares a traditional sweet known as galibi at his shop in Quetta, Pakistan, on August 7, 2011, during the holy fasting month of Ramadan. (Banaras Khan/AFP/Getty Images) #
Muslims offer Friday prayers at Mohammed Al-Amin Mosque in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, on Friday, Aug. 5, 2011. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein) #
A Somali refugee girl attends Koran classes at the Liban integrated academy at the Ifo refugee camp in Dadaab, near the Kenya-Somalia border, on August 2, 2011. Somalia's famine refugees, weakened by months of drought, on Monday began Islam's punishing Ramadan fast amid the tents and shacks of the world's largest refugee camp. (Reuters/Thomas Mukoya) #
A man washes his feet before breaking his fast on the first Friday of Ramadan in a mosque at Umdowan Ban village outside Khartoum, Sudan, on August 5, 2011. (Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah) #
A Palestinian boy plays with fireworks to celebrate the beginning of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan in the town of Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, on July 31, 2011. (Said Khatib/AFP/Getty Images) #
Children break fast at King Fahad Mosque on the first day of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan in Culver City, Los Angeles, California, on August 1, 2011. (Reuters/Lucy Nicholson) #
A waiter puts charcoal on a waterpipe at a coffee shop in the Saudi capital of Riyadh, on August 6, 2011 hours before dawn marking the start of a fasting day during the holy month of Ramadan. (Fayez Nureldine/AFP/Getty Images) #
Somalis from southern Somali pray outside their makeshift shelter during Ramadan, at a refugee camp in Mogadishu, Somalia, Saturday, Aug, 6, 2011. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh) #
Iranian army air force cadets, in uniforms at bottom, perform Friday prayer, at Tehran University campus, in Tehran, Iran, Friday, Aug. 5, 2011, during the Muslims' holy fasting month of Ramadan. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi) #
A student reads the Koran in a mosque in Jakarta August 6, 2011. More than 1,000 students will try to finish reading the Koran in one day during a mass Koran reading on Saturday during the holy fasting month of Ramadan. (Reuters/Supri) #
Bangladeshi Muslims attend Friday prayer at Baitul Mukarram National Mosque in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Aug. 12, 2011. (AP Photo/ Pavel Rahman) #
Bangladeshi vendors display for sale traditional food items for breaking fast on the first day of holy Ramadan at Chalk Bazar market in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on August 2, 2011. (AP Photo/Pavel Rahman) #
Nepalese Muslims offer Friday prayers at Kashmiri Mosque in Kathmandu on August 5, 2011. (Prakash Mathema/AFP/Getty Images) #
Visually impaired Indian Muslim singer Mohammed Sheik Khaja Bhai (right) and drummer Mohammed Haji Bhai perform as they roam the streets of the old city in Hyderabad in the early hours of August 10, 2011 during the holy fasting month of Ramadan. For the past 23 years Mohammed shiek Khaja and his group have sang and played music in the streets before dawn to wake up the Muslim residents during the fasting month of Ramadan. (Noah Seelam/AFP/Getty Images) #
Impoverished Indian Muslims reach out for charitable food handouts before breaking the Ramadan fast in the Jama Masjid in New Delhi, India, on August 11, 2011. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer) #
A Palestinian child stands among Palestinian women as they attempt to pass a checkpoint on their way to pray at the Al Aqsa Mosque on the second Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, Aug. 12, 2011. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue) #
The Quran, Islam's holy book, is reflected in the reading glasses of a Muslim man as he reads in a mosque after noon prayer on the first day of the holy month of Ramadan in Amman, Jordan, on August 1, 2011. (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon) #
A Palestinian vendor sprays water on Muslim worshipers in Jerusalem's Old City after prayers on the second Friday of the holy month of Ramadan, on August 12, 2011. (Reuters/Amir Cohen) #
Fazalullaha, a victim of a land mine, poses for picture as he holds medicine received at a free medical camp organized by a Indian doctor during the holy month of Ramadan in the poor neighborhood of Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 12, 2011. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin) #
Thai Muslim women pray during a special evening prayer during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan at the Pattani Central Mosque, on August 12, 2011 in Pattani, southern Thailand. The long evening prayer comes after Iftar, the breaking of the day-long fast from sunrise to sunset. (Paula Bronstein/Getty Images) #
A man raises his hands in prayer while sitting on a prayer mat outside a mosque on the first Friday of Ramadan in Srinagar, on August 5, 2011. (Reuters/Fayaz Kabli) #
Palestinian children sit under lights decorating Damascus Gate during the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan on August 8, 2011, at the old city of Jerusalem, Israel. (Uriel Sinai/Getty Images) #
With the world's tallest tower, Burj Khalifa, in the background, Muslims break their fast at a mosque in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on August 7, 2011. Mohammed al-Qubaisi, Dubai's top Muslim cleric, said Sunday that Burj Khalifa residents living above the 80th floor should wait two additional minutes to break their dawn-to-dusk fast while those above the 150th floor must wait three extra minutes because they will be able to see the sun longer than those on the ground. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili) #
A man has kohl applied to his eyelids at Masjid Al Kabir, also known as Grand Mosque, during Ramadan in the old city of Sanaa, Yemen, on August 7, 2011. The dark cosmetic powder is traditionally popular in Yemen as a protection against eye ailments and as a medical remedy. (Reuters/Jumana El Heloueh) #
Students are split into groups as they attend a Quran recitation class at an Islamic boarding school in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia, on August 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara) #
An Afghan refugee boy, prays in a Mosque during the holy month of Ramadan, in a slum on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, on August 11, 2011. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen) #
Kashmiri roadside vendour sells fruits for sale on the eve of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan at a market in Srinagar, on August 1, 2011. (Tauseef Mustafa/AFP/Getty Images) #
In this photograph taken on August 12, 2011, an Afghan National Policeman prepares for "iftar", the breaking of the fast at sunset during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, at the joint US-Afghan combat outpost of the 2-87 Infantry Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team located in Makuan's village "Green Zone" in Kandahar province southern Afghanistan. (Romeo Gacad/AFP/Getty Images) #
In this photo taken Thursday, July 28, 2011, samples of traditional lanterns are on display for sale in a shop in Cairo, Egypt. Egyptians turn to the lanterns, known as fanoos, as part of the tradition of the holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset in a process intended to light one's path toward prayer and God. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra) #
A Kashmiri Muslim woman offers prayers on the first Friday of the holy month of Ramadan, at the Shah-e-Hamdan mosque in Srinagar, on August 5, 2011. (AP Photo/Mukhtar Khan) #
The Islamic Center of Greater Miami, in Miami, Florida, photographed on July 29, 2011, just ahead of the Islamic month of Ramadan. (AP Photo/The Miami Herald, Al Diaz) #
People jostle for free food distributed at a local shrine during the Muslims fasting month of Ramadan, in the suburbs of Islamabad, Pakistan, on August 12, 2011. (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash) #
A Muslim man prays at Baiturrahman Grand Mosque in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, on August 8, 2011. (AP Photo/Heri Juanda) #
Visitors stand next to the "Sakal-i Serif", or the holy beard of the Prophet Mohammad (foreground), and Holy Cloak, or the "Hirka-i Serif", as they are exhibited under glass protection at the 18th-century Hirka-i Serif mosque in Istanbul, Turkey, on August 5, 2011. The cloak is unearthed for exhibition every year on the first Friday of Ramadan until the end of the holy month in this mosque. The mosque was built by Sultan Abdulmecit in 1851 for the preservation of the cloak, which Muslims believe was handed over to Uvayis Al-Karani by Prophet Mohammad. (Reuters/Murad Sezer) #
Libyan rebel fighters pray in the shade of a rocket launcher during the Muslim month of Ramadan, on the outskirts of the coastal oil town of Brega, in eastern Libya, on August 10, 2011, as artillery exchanges took place on the frontlinet. (Gianluigi Guercia/AFP/Getty Images) #
A student reads the Koran before morning prayer during the holy month of Ramadan at the Al-Mukmin Islamic boarding school in Solo, Indonesia Central Java province, on August 2, 2011. (Reuters/Beawiharta) #
A Pakistani Muslim arranges bowls of food before Iftar, the breaking of the fast, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, in Lahore, on August 6, 2011. Ramadan in Pakistan, the world's second most populous Muslim country, started one day after Saudi Arabia, home to Islam's holiest shrines Mecca and Medina, because local authorities did not confirm sighting the new moon. (Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images) #
An Indian worker dries Seviiyan - thin vermicelli - which is used for the preparation of "sheerkhorma", a traditional sweet dish prepared by the Muslim community during the holy month of Ramadan at a food factory in Hyderabad, India, on August 3, 2011. Like millions of Muslim around the world, Indian Muslims celebrated the month of Ramadan by abstaining from eating, drinking, and smoking as well as sexual activities from dawn to dusk. (NOAH SEELAM/AFP/Getty Images) #
An Indian Muslim prays after breaking the Ramadan fast at the Jama Masjid in New Delhi, India, on August 5, 2011. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer) #

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