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Muslim Festival Ramadan Begins Today

Nepalese Muslims perform congregational Eid al-Adha morning prayers at the Kashmiri Mosque in Kathmandu on November 17, 2010.

KATHMANDU: People who believe Islam around the world are marking the beginning of Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The festival is observed as the month of fasting by the Muslim community. The Muslim community of Nepal is also celebrating this festival observing Roja.

Ramadan is marked to observe the month when Quran, the great holy book of the Muslim, was revealed. The beginning and end of Ramadan are determined by the lunar Islamic calendar called Hijri.

Roja, which means to fast from dawn until sunset, is mandatory for all the adults except for those who are pregnant or are suffering from illness and disability. The holy month is divided into three parts including the first ten days of good times known as Barakat, the second ten days of love and care known as Rahamat and the final ten days of Maghfirat or forgiveness from Allah.

Those observing Roja keep their bodies pure and recite the Quran five times a day regularly. The festival is believed to promote self-discipline, sacrifice, and empathy towards those who are less fortunate, thus encouraging actions of generosity and compulsory charity.

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