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RELIGION > Islamic world’s holy month Ramadan to start tomorrow

ISTANBUL

Ramadan, Islam’s holy month, begins tomorrow at first light with millions of believers around the world fasting throughout the holy month

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Ramadan is set to start tomorrow with the first day of fasting, with Islam's holy month lasting until July 27.

The days of fasting will begin in the early hours of tomorrow morning, during which the Islamic world will wake up for “sahur,” the first morning meal of this year’s Ramadan.

The first sahur of the month is set to occur at 02:29 a.m. in the morning in southeastern Ardahan, with sahur times falling at 03:15 and 03:25 a.m. for Ankara and Istanbul respectively. Fasting will end by 08:30 p.m. in Ankara and 08:51 p.m. in Istanbul.

The Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) has set this year’s Ramadan theme as “loneliness,” with mosques across the country undergoing decorations in line with this year’s theme.

Earlier this week, Diyanet Head Prof. Mehmet Görmez announced the slogan of the month will be “Nobody should be left alone,” aiming to raise awareness on “modern loneliness,” “refugees,” “orphans,” “children on the street” and “the elderly.”

“Ramadan comes every year to make us come together with ourselves, remove our loneliness and make us remember our values,” Görmez said.

“Ramadan is a month to share. It avoids every type of individualism, egoism and teaches how to understand hungry people … We should open our hearts and our meals to not only those who fast, but also to those who do not. May it be possible that this joy will bring beautiful feelings to their hearts as well,” Görmez added.

Görmez also said that fast-breaking tents, where free food will be offered, are a good tradition, but it “should not be turned into exploitation, or a show.”

“Ramadan itself is euphoria … But we should not be turning Ramadan into [something] entertaining or into a show … Ramadan meals should not be turned into wasted meals,” he added.

With rising temperatures, believers are set to undergo a tough month of fasting, with officials strongly advising the consumption of a minimum of 2 to 2.5 liters of liquid during sahur and iftar – the latter meal being the one that comes after a full day of fasting. The Istanbul Public Health Service has announced that a healthy diet throughout Ramadan is a must, especially when the dates collide with summer months, when warm weather can pose a health risk.

Avoid heavy meals

The statement warned those who plan to be fasting to avoid greasy, salty and heavy meals, and go through sahur by eating a light breakfast like yoghurt and cheese, or soup and vegetables. People are also warned against eating too much during iftar meals. “Those who fast through the day will have low blood sugar levels, which will make them want to eat too fast and too much,” it was said. Believers who will be welcoming a fasting day the next morning are also advised to consume water during sahur, instead of tea, to better manage the loss of vitamins and minerals. Supermarkets around the country have also been gearing up to face the holy month, with seasonal treats taking up the shelves, as well as alternative packages that can be bought on donations to various charities.

June/27/2014

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