Ramadan Fast Facts

(CNN)Here is some background information about Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting.

In 2018, Ramadan begins on May 15 at sundown through June 14. (Dates may vary slightly by country depending on the first sighting of the crescent moon.)
Facts:
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim year.
Ramadan begins with the sighting of the new moon, but the exact date often depends on clerics in a particular nation.
    Ramadan is celebrated as the month in which the prophet Mohammed received the first of the revelations that make up the Quran.
    Ramadan is the Islamic holy month of fasting during which Muslims may not eat or drink during daylight hours.
    During Ramadan, Muslims abstain from food, drink (including water), and sexual intercourse from dawn until dusk.
    Muslims are encouraged to eat a meal before dawn, and then break the fast immediately after sunset.
    The fast is traditionally broken by eating dates and drinking water.
    The end of Ramadan, called Id al Fitr, is a day of feasting.
    The Ramadan fast is one of the five pillars, or basic institutions, of Islam:
    Shahadah:
    Affirmation that there is no deity but God and Mohammed is his messenger.
    Salat: Praying five times daily.
    Zakat: Giving to charity.
    Sawm: Fasting during the month of Ramadan.
    Hajj: Making a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime.
    There were approximately 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide as of 2015. The population is expected to increase to three billion by 2060.