Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, will come to a close this weekend with the observation of a festival called Eid al-Fitr. 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. Gathered here are images of Muslims around the world observing Ramadan this year.
A man raises his hands to pray near the sea at sunset after a day of fasting in the holy month of Ramadan in Benghazi, Libya, on July 24, 2012.
Muslim worshipers pray overnight outside the Dome of the Rock in the Al-Aqsa mosques compound in Jerusalem's Old City on the occasion of Lailat al-Qadr which falls on the 27th day of the fasting month of Ramadan, on August 14, 2012. Laylat al-Qadr, or Night of Destiny, marks the night when the first verses of the Koran were revealed to the Prophet Mohammed through the archangel Gabriel.
(Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images)
A man prepares popular traditional sweets during Ramadan in Boufarik, south of Algiers, on July 31, 2012.
An Iranian Shiite Muslim reads the Koran during prayers in Tehran in the early hours of August 10, 2012 in commemoration of the death of the seventh century Imam Ali bin Abi Taleb and in preparation for Laylat al-Qadr -- a high point during Ramadan when the Koran holy book was revealed to Prophet Mohammed.
(Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)
Thousands of Egyptians pray during a rally in Tahrir Square, birthplace of the uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak 18 months ago, in Cairo, to recite the Quran and support President Mohamed Morsi's recent decision to retire the defense minister and chief of staff. Photo taken on on August 16, 2012.
(AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
A worker cleans the crescent moon and star symbol on a dome of a mosque ahead of Eid al-Fitr in Pasay city, metro Manila, Philippines, on August 17, 2012. Eid al-Fitr marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, and it is a custom to wear colorful traditional attire during this time of celebrations.
In Panama City, Panama, a Muslim man performs Friday prayers in the Jama Masjid Mosque during Ramadan, on August 3, 2012. According to Saleh Bhattay, one of the officials in charge of the mosque, there are approximately 8,000 Muslims in Panama, mostly from India and Pakistan, making it the biggest Muslim community in Central America.
A Muslim woman selects artificial flowers at a Ramadan bazaar in Klang, outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on August 16, 2012. During Ramadan, a daily bazaar offers various selections of clothing, food, prayer mats and other religious items to Muslims who traditionally shop for new outfits to welcome the end of the month Eid al-Fitr celebrations in Malaysia.
(AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin)
In her living room in Rovaniemi, Finland, Kaltouma Abakar, a refugee from Sudan's Darfur province, sits on the floor during the iftar meal with her family, on July 24, 2012. Muslims who live in this Arctic Circle city have only a few hours each day between sunset and sunrise to break their fast during Ramadan. Some opt to observe the sunrise and sunset times of a nearby Muslim country, but Abakar's family sticks to the local Rovaniemi schedule. In Rovaniemi, a town in northern Finland that straddles the Arctic Circle at 66 degrees north, the sun rises around 3:20 a.m. and sets about 11:20pm. That means Muslims who observe Ramadan could be required to go without food or drink for 20 hours.
(AP Photo/David MacDougall)
An Indonesian woman tries to recover a water-soaked Quran outside a damaged mosque following a flash flood in Padang, the capital of West Sumatra province, on July 25, 2012. Residents were breaking their fast while observing Ramadan on July 24 when floodwaters burst from the river banks following heavy rains, sending people fleeing and damaging hundreds of houses.
In Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Ahmed Danaf, a Middle Tennessee State University graduate student from Tripoli, Libya, prays at the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro on the first day of Ramadan, July 20, 2012. A new mosque in Murfreesboro recently opened after a court battle with opposition groups.
(AP Photo/Stephen )