An Indian Muslim family reads the Quran after breaking their fast at their home in Hyderabad, India
An Indian Muslim family reads the Quran after breaking their fast at their home in Hyderabad NOAH SEELAM/AFP/Getty Images

Ramadan, a month of fasting undertaken by Muslims during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, is set to begin this weekend.

It will begin on Sunday 29 June in the UK, according to the Saudi Arabian declaration, and will continue for 30 days.

The holy month starts at sunset, or when the new crescent moon is spotted. There is some consideration as to when Ramadan begins, as dates are based on astronomical calculation, meaning that the fasting starts at different times in different countries.

Some Muslims insist on the local physical sighting of the moon to mark the beginning of Ramadan, but others use the calculated time of the new moon or the Saudi Arabian declaration.

During the month, Muslims will fast and practice abstinence from sunrise until sunset, to celebrate the event that marks the anniversary of the Quran being revealed to the Prophet Muhammad.

The word "Ramadan" is derived from an Arabic word for intense heat, scorched ground and shortness of food and drink.

During this time, Muslims focus on their purpose in life and reflect on their choices, priorities and plans.

It is also used as a time to study the Quran, as well as a month of generosity and charity. Time is also of consideration, as the major acts of worship in Islam - fasting, breaking and praying - occur as specific times, such as fasting, breaking and praying.

Considered obligatory, fasting is considered one of the five pillars of Islam. Food, drink and sex, as well as fighting and lying, is given up for the month.

The typical greeting during Ramadan is "Ramadan Kareem" or "Ramadan Mubarak."

Ramadan commences annually with a celebration called Hilal, comprised of feasting and prayer. Ramadan ends with the Eid al-Fitr festival, known as Eid, in which feasting and Islamic prayer, known as salat, takes place.

The Arabic greeting that is said to commemorate the holiday is "Eid Mubarak" which translates to "Blessed Eid."