With prayers, Muslims mark the beginning of Ramadan

BenarNews staff
With prayers, Muslims mark the beginning of Ramadan Indonesians arrive at the Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta for the special evening prayer to mark the start of Ramadan, March 11, 2024.
Eko Siswono Toyudho/BenarNews

Hundreds of millions of Muslims in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Bangladesh and Thailand – among over 2 billion globally – marked the beginning of Ramadan with Tarawih prayers on Monday night followed by daytime fasting that began Tuesday.

Along with prayers and fasting where the faithful refrain from eating, drinking and smoking between dawn to dusk, Muslims recite the Quran to draw closer to God. 

Ramadan marks the ninth month in the Islamic year and commemorates the first revelation of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad. 

The month begins with sighting of the crescent moon and will conclude on the night of April 10, followed by the day-long Eid al-Fitr holiday that celebrates the end of Ramadan. In Saudi Arabia, the home of Mecca, and some other Muslim countries, Ramadan began a day earlier this year.

Muslims worldwide greet the arrival of the fasting with Tarawih, a special prayer that they perform during the other 29 nights of Ramadan. 

Each evening during the month, worshipers break their fast with dates and other fruits before eating meals. In Bangladesh, prices for staples including dates, raisins and fruit have increased by 17% to 55% in recent days.

In the Philippines, a Catholic-majority country, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said Ramadan represents a demonstration of faith that creates stronger bonds in communities.

“Ramadan holds special significance as it reminds us of the rich diversity to our cultural and religious tapestry in the Philippines,” he said in the statement issued Sunday.

“It is with no doubt that our Muslim brothers and sisters have made invaluable contributions to our nation’s history and heritage, shaping our beloved motherland into the diverse and united country that it is today,” he said.

This year, Ramadan occurs as international calls for a ceasefire in Gaza so far have fallen short. Israeli strikes have killed more than 30,000 people and left nearly 600,000 starving, five months after the Oct. 7, 2023, attacks against Israelis by Hamas. 

“This pain is felt acutely by Muslims around the world, and so this year, Ramadan feels different,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Biden said in a statement on Tuesday. 

“The humanitarian situation in Gaza is heartbreaking. As we deliver additional aid to Gaza, we will continue to work non-stop to establish an immediate and sustained ceasefire for at least six weeks as part of a deal that releases hostages.

Despite reports about negotiations for a possible ceasefire during Ramadan, the United States, Israel’s closest ally, has previously blocked several previous U.N. resolutions calling for a truce in Gaza. The Biden administration has also continued to send military aid to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government despite the humanitarian crisis and threat of famine looming over the Palestinian enclave.   

“We will also continue to pursue a two-state solution to ensure Palestinians and Israelis share equal measures of freedom, dignity, security, and prosperity. Peace is possible, it is necessary, and it is urgent,” Blinken said. 

People walk toward the Sri Sendayan Mosque in Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia, to perform the special Tarawih prayer, March 11, 2024. [S. Mahfuz/BenarNews]
Muslims offer the Tarawih prayer at the Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta, March 11, 2024. [Eko Siswono Toyudho/BenarNews]
A member of an Islamic committee checks for the crescent moon from atop of the Kuala Lumpur Tower to determine the start of Ramadan, March 10, 2024. [S. Mahfuz/BenarNews]
Filipina Muslims conduct evening prayers at the Blue Mosque in Taguig City, Metro Manila, March 12, 2024. [Gerard Carreon/BenarNews]
This boy could not stay awake during the special evening prayer at the Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta, March 11, 2024. [Eko Siswono Toyudho/BenarNews]
Thai Muslims prepare to return home after the Tarawih prayer at the Raya Fathoni Mosque in Pattani, March 12, 2024. [Yostorn Triyos/BenarNews]
People purchase food at the traditional Iftar market in Old Dhaka’s Chowkbazar on the first full day of Ramadan in Bangladesh, March 12, 2024. [Sabrina Yasmin/BenarNews]


Muslims buy durians for Ramadan at the Pattani Central Mosque in southern Thailand, March 12, 2024. [Yostorn Triyos/BenarNews]
Muslims break the fast at the Blue Mosque in Taguig City, Metro Manila, March 12, 2024. [Gerard Carreon/BenarNews]
Muslims break the fast at the Blue Mosque in Taguig City, Metro Manila, March 12, 2024. [Gerard Carreon/BenarNews]

Eko Siswono Toyudho in Jakarta, Gerard Carreon in Manila, S. Mahfuz in Kuala Lumpur, Yostorn Triyos in Pattani, Thailand, and Sudeepto Salam and Sabrina Yasmin in Dhaka contributed to this report.



Add your comment by filling out the form below in plain text. Comments are approved by a moderator and can be edited in accordance with RFAs Terms of Use. Comments will not appear in real time. RFA is not responsible for the content of the postings. Please, be respectful of others' point of view and stick to the facts.