(Jerusalem Post) Muslim clerics unsuccessfully searched the skies for the crescent moon on Monday night, in the ceremony that determines the beginning of Ramadan. Because no moon was sighted, the first day of fasting will begin on Wednesday.

According to Islamic tradition, Allah revealed the Koran to the prophet Muhammad during the 9th month – Ramadan – a time for introspection. During Ramadan, Muslims refrain from food, drink and sexual activity from dawn until dusk, Fasting – or sawm – is one of the five pillars of Islam, and also means “to refrain,” not only from food or drink but also from evil actions, thoughts and words. The daily fasts are broken in the evening with prayer and festive meals called iftars.

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