Ramadan (, also US: , UK: ; Arabic: رمضان, romanized: Ramaḍān [ramaˈdˤaːn]; Ramazan, Ramzan, Ramadhan, or Ramathan) is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting (sawm), prayer, reflection and community. A commemoration of the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad, the annual observance of Ramadan is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam and lasts twenty-nine to thirty days, from one visual sighting of the crescent moon to the next.
The word Ramadan derives from the Arabic root ramiḍa or ar-ramaḍ ("scorching heat" or "dryness"). Fasting is fard (obligatory) for adult Muslims, except those who are ill, travelling, elderly, pregnant, breastfeeding, diabetic, chronically ill, or menstruating. Although fatwas have been issued declaring that Muslims who live in regions with a midnight sun or polar night should follow the timetable of Mecca, the more commonly accepted opinion is that they should instead follow the timetable of the closest country to them in which night can be distinguished from day.
While fasting from dawn until sunset, believers refrain from food, drink, smoking, sexual relations, and sinful behavior that may negate the reward of fasting, striving to purify themselves and increase their taqwa (good deeds and God-consciousness). The predawn meal is referred to as suhoor, while the nightly feasts to break the fast is called iftar. Spiritual rewards (thawab) for fasting are believed to be multiplied during the month of Ramadan, when believers devote themselves to salat (prayer), recitation of the Quran and the performance of charitable deeds.