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Saudi to begin Ramadan on Wednesday

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Men in Saudi Arabia pray on the first day of Eid al-Fitr in the great mosque in the old city of Riyadh, on August 19, 2012 to mark the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan. The holiday will begin in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, the royal cabinet announced in a statement Monday, citing the kingdom's religious authorities. (AFP/File)

The Muslim fasting month of Ramadan will begin in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, the royal cabinet announced in a statement Monday, citing the kingdom's religious authorities.

The holy month during which Muslims fast from dawn to dusk and strive to be more pious and charitable, begins with the sighting of the new moon, which varies from country to country.

Other Arab countries including Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar and Yemen, will also observe the start of Ramadan on Wednesday.

During Ramadan, Muslims are also required to abstain from drinking liquids, smoking and having sex from dawn until dusk. The fasting is one of the five main religious obligations under Islam.

The month is sacred to Muslims because tradition says it is the month in which the Koran was revealed by Allah to the Prophet Mohammed.