In pictures: Millions of Muslims around the world prepare for the holy fasting month of Ramadan

The start date is set by both lunar calculations and physical sightings which determine when the last day of one lunar month ends and a new one begins. Ramadan is a holy month for the world's nearly 1.5 billion Muslims, many of whom practise the ritual of dawn-to-dusk fasting and prayers. Tradition holds that it was during Ramadan that the Prophet Mohammed started receiving revelations of the Muslim holy book, the Quran.
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A Palestinian man points towards the moon in its Crescent form in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, a day before the start of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.
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A Palestinian youth waves a sparkler next a mosque in Gaza City, as the faithful prepare to start the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan.
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Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi as Muslims prepare to start the holy fasting month of Ramadan. Islam's holy month of Ramadan is celebrated by Muslims worldwide during which they abstain from food, sex and smoking from dawn to dusk.
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Indonesian Muslims pray during the start of the holy month of Ramadan at the Al Akbar Mosque in Surabaya, East Java province. Muslim devotees are required to abstain from food, drink and sex from dawn to dusk during Ramadan.
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A Muslim woman prays the first Taraweeh evening prayer on the first day of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan at the Nizamiye Mosque in Midrand, Johannesburg.
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A Bosnian Muslim man loads fireworks mortar, in old town of Sarajevo. Percussion round fired in sunset marks the end of daily fasting, every day during the Islamic holly month of Ramadan.
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Pakistani Muslim men buy dates at a market ahead of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan in Karachi. Muslims are preparing for Islam's holy month of Ramadan, which is calculated on the sighting of the new moon, and during which they fast from dawn until dusk.
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An Iraqi woman shops at a store in the central holy city of Najaf, a day before the start of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.
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Pakistani Muslims attend a special 'Taraweeh' evening prayer on the first day of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan at a mosque in Karachi. Islam's holy month of Ramadan is celebrated by Muslims worldwide marked by fasting, abstaining from foods, sex and smoking from dawn to dusk for soul cleansing and strengthening the spiritual bond between them and the Almighty.
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An Afghan vendor prepares prayer beads for sale ahead of the holy month of Ramadan at Pul-e-Khishti Mosque in Kabul. Muslims are preparing for Islam's holy month of Ramadan, which is calculated on the sighting of the new moon, and during which they fast from dawn until dusk.
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Malaysia's federal Mufti Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri (2nd R) uses a Theodolite to perform 'rukyah', the sighting of the new moon for the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan, on the observation deck of the KL Tower in Kuala Lumpur.
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Yemenis shop in a market in the old city of the capital Sanaa, as the faithful prepare for the start of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan.
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An Indian Muslim vendor sells dry food on the eve of the month of Ramadan at a market in Guwahati. Muslims throughout the world are marking the month of Ramadan, the holiest month in the Islamic calendar during which Muslims fast from dawn until dusk.
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Muslim children from poor family receiving food packages from local government officials in southern province of Narathiwat as minority Thai Muslims prepare for the holy fasting month of Ramadan.