Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, began earlier this week, with the observation of the Hilal, or 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. Gathered here are images of Muslims around the world observing Ramadan this year.
A Palestinian girl reads the Quran during Ramadan at a mosque in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on June 8, 2016.
Ibraheem Abu Mustafa / Reuters
An officer of Malaysia's Islamic authority uses a telescope to perform “rukyah,” the sighting of the new moon of Ramadan, in Putrajaya, outside Kuala Lumpur, on June 5, 2016. Muslims scan the sky at dusk in the beginning of the lunar calendar's ninth month in search of the new moon to proclaim the start of Ramadan, Islam's holiest month during which observant believers fast from dawn to dusk.
Mohd Samsul Mohd Said / Getty
Students pray at Ar-Raudhatul Hasanah Islamic boarding school on the first day of Ramadan in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia, on June 6, 2016.
/Irsan Mulyadi / Antara Photo Agency / Reuters
A cannon fires a ceremonial shot to start iftar, the evening meal for breaking fast, on the first day of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, at Sultanahmet square in Istanbul, Turkey, on June 6, 2016.
Murad Sezer / Reuters
A Bangladeshi vendor covers food items with a plastic sheet to save it from a rain while Muslim devotees break their fast on the first day of Ramadan in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on June 7, 2016.
A.M. Ahad / AP
In this June 7, 2016 picture, Egyptians play with fireworks as they celebrate the holy month of Ramadan in Cairo, Egypt.
Amr Nabil / AP
A Muslim woman reads the Quran following noon prayers on the first day of Ramadan at Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta, Indonesia, on June 6, 2016.
Tatan Syuflana / AP
Egyptian women dressed in their country's traditional clothing walk on al-Mezz street during a celebration ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in old Cairo, on June 2, 2016.
Khaled Desouki / AFP / Getty
A pastry vendor pours honey on Chebakia pastries the day before the start of Ramadan on June 6, 2016, in the old medina of Rabat, Morocco.
Fadel Senna / AFP / Getty
A Musaharati, or dawn awakener, strikes his drum to wake observant Muslims for their overnight sahur, or last meal, before the day's fast during Ramadan in Sidon's Old City in south Lebanon just before dawn, June 8, 2016.
Ali Hashisho / Reuters
Students sit in circles during a Quran recital class on the first day of Ramadan at Ar-Raudlatul Hasanah Islamic boarding school in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia, on June 6, 2016.
Binsar Bakkara / AP
A Palestinian boy takes photos of traditional Ramadan lanterns at the main market in Gaza City on June 3, 2016.
Adel Hana / AP
A Muslim man prays before his iftar on the first day of Ramadan in India, at the Jama Masjid, or Grand Mosque, in the old quarters of Delhi, India, on July 7, 2016.
Adnan Abidi / Reuters
A man sets out food for fasters to break their fast on the first day of Ramadan in a mosque in Peshawar, Pakistan, on June 7, 2016.
Fayaz Aziz / Reuters
A shop owner sells sweets as mainly Muslim Lebanese shop prior to iftar, or breaking of the daylong fast, in the old market in the ancient coastal city of Tripoli, north of Beirut, on June 6, 2016.
Joseph Eid / AFP / Getty
A Pakistani man cools himself off under a water supply to beat the heat during Ramadan, in Islamabad, Pakistan, on June 7, 2016.
Muslims attend the Ramadan tarawih prayer at Istiqlal mosque in Jakarta, Indonesia, on June 5, 2016.
Beawiharta / Reuters
An Afghan worker makes sweets at a traditional factory during the holy fasting month of Ramadan in Kandahar, Afghanistan, on June 7, 2016.
Allauddin Khan / AP
Muslims gather around the Kaaba inside the Grand Mosque during the holy fasting month of Ramadan in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, on June 8, 2016.
Faisal Al Nasser / Reuters
El Mesaharty Hussien, 40, wakes up residents for their pre-dawn meals during the first day of Ramadan in Cairo, Egypt, on June 6, 2016.
Amr Dalsh / Reuters
A Palestinian man decorates his shop with fairy lights in the old city of Jerusalem on June 3, 2016, as Muslims around the world prepared for the announcement of the fasting month of Ramadan.
Ahmad Gharabli / AFP / Getty
Kashmiri Nomadic Muslims devotees listen to the sermons of a Muslim cleric as they gather at the forest shrine of Miyan Peer, on the first day of Ramadan, on June 7, 2016, in Baba Nagri, about 44 kilometers (28 miles) northeast of Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian-administered Kashmir, India.
Yawar Nazir / Getty
Pakistani bakers prepare iftar food for Muslims breaking their fast on the first day of Ramadan, at a market in Islamabad on June 7, 2016.
Aamir Qureshi / AFP / Getty
A Palestinian vendor rides a motorcycle cart with lighted traditional Ramadan lanterns, to mark the holy month of Ramadan at main beach road in Gaza City, on June 3, 2016.
Hatem Moussa / AP
Afghan migrants stranded in Greece pray in front of a docked ferry at the port of Piraeus, near Athens on the first day of Ramadan, June 6, 2016.
Petros Giannakouris / AP
In this June 5, 2016 picture, Egyptians celebrate the announcement of the holy month of Ramadan in Cairo, Egypt.
Amr Nabil / AP
A Palestinian girl prays in front of the Dome of the Rock, at the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as The Temple Mount, in Jerusalem's Old City during the holy month of Ramadan, on June 7, 2016.
Ammar Awad / Reuters
Pakistani Muslim devotees prepare to break their fast on the first day of Ramadan at a mosque in Peshawar on June 7, 2016.