Photo Essay

  • Egyptians greet each other after the morning prayer in a public field in Cairo, Egypt, July 28, 2014. Egyptians celebrated the Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of holy month of Ramadan during which Muslims all over the world fast from sunrise to sunset.
  • An Afghan boy attends congregational prayers of Eid al-Fitr in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan, July 28, 2014. Afghan Muslims began to celebrate the three-day festival of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan.
  • A relative guides a girl in prayer at the grave of their loved one in a cemetery in Gaza city, northern Gaza Strip, July 28, 2014. Monday marked the beginning of the three-day Eid al-Fitr holiday, which caps the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. Muslims usually start the day with dawn prayers and visiting cemeteries to pay their respects to the dead, with children getting new clothes, toys, shoes and haircuts, and families visiting each other.
  • Turkish faithful pray in Ottoman-era Sultanahmet mosque, known as Blue mosque, on “Laylat Al Qadr” during the holy month of Ramadan, in Istanbul, Turkey, late July 23, 2014. Laylat Al Qadr (Night of Decree) is the anniversary of the night Muslims believe the Quran was revealed to Prophet Mohammad by the angel Gabriel.
  • Afghan men make special sweets at a traditional factory during the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan in preparation for Eid al-Fitr in Kabul, Afghanistan, July 24, 2014.
  • A whirling dervish performs a traditional Sufi dance during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan in the Ottoman-era Tekkiye Suleimaniye mosque complex in Damascus, Syria, July 21, 2014.
  • A boy, who repairs tires, drinks water after breaking his fast during the holy fasting month of Ramadan in Karachi, Pakistan, July 17, 2014.
  • A Muslim man reads the Quran during the holy month of Ramadan inside Al-Refaie mosque in the old Islamic area of Cairo, Egypy, July 16, 2014.
  • A Muslim youth, prays inside the Dome of the Rock mosque in the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, the third holiest site in Islam and referred to by Jews as the Temple Mount, during the holy fasting month of Ramadan, in Jerusalem’s Old City, July 16, 2014.
  • Hui Muslim women prepare food to break their fast during Ramadan at a women’s only mosque on July 11, 2014 in Sangpo, Henan Province, China. As part of a tradition dating back to the late 19th century and unique to China’s 10 million Hui Muslims, female congregations are led by female imams in the women’s only mosques of northwest China. Though able to teach and lead prayers for women, they are forbidden from overseeing funeral rituals or washing male corpses before burial.
  • Workers sew prayer caps, which are high in demand during the holy fasting month of Ramadan, at a factory in old Dhaka, Bangladesh, July 10, 2014.
  • Turkish people receive their meal on July 3, 2014, at Uskudar during the holy month of Ramadan in Istanbul, Turkey.
  • Men rest as others arrive to pray inside Baitul Mukarram, Bangladesh’s national mosque, during the holy fasting month of Ramadan in Dhaka, Bangladesh, July 3, 2014.
  • Kashmiri Muslim children attend a class where they learn to recite verses of the Koran, the holy book of Muslims, on the third day of Ramadan at a local religious school in Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian Kashmir, July 2, 2014. During the month of Ramadan, Muslims all over the world fast from dawn to dusk and offer special prayers seeking the forgiveness of the almighty.
  • Iranian women perform their evening prayers, at the shrine of Shiite Saint Saleh during the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan in northern Tehran, Iran, July 1, 2014. Ramadan is a Muslim holy month of fasting during which Muslims abstain from food, drink and other pleasures from sunrise to sunset. It’s the time Muslims believe God started to reveal the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad. For believers, Ramadan is meant to be a time of reflection and worship, remembering the hardships of others and being charitable.
  • A man arranges strands of vermicelli, which are kept for drying at a factory in the northern Indian city of Allahabad, India, July 1, 2014. Vermicelli is a specialty that is eaten during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
  • An Afghan boy reads the Quran in a madrasa, or religious school, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in Kabul, Afghanistan, June 30, 2014.
  • In this June 29, 2014 photo, displaced Iraqi women hold pots and plates as they wait in line to receive food to break their fast during the first day of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, at an encampment for displaced Iraqis who fled from Mosul and other towns, in the Khazer area outside Irbil, northern Iraq.
  • Muslims pray around the Kaaba at the Grand Mosque on the first day of the holy fasting month of Ramadan in the holy city of Mecca June 29, 2014.
  • Young Palestinians wave homemade sparklers after breaking the fast during Ramadan in Gaza City on, June 30, 2014.
  • Muslims attend an evening mass prayer session called “tarawih” to mark the holy fasting month of Ramadan, which will begin on Sunday, at Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta, Indonesia, June 28, 2014.
  • Javanese Muslims take a bath on the beach as they prepare for Ramadan with padusan ritual at Parangtritis beach on June 27, 2014 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Padusan ritual is Java culture with the purpose of purifying themselves welcoming the holy month of Ramadan.
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A rocky month of Ramadan comes to a close

Updated

The holy fasting month of Ramadan came to a close on Monday, as millions of Muslims around the world began a scaled-back version of the three-day festival, Eid al-Fitr.

During the Eid holiday, which in Islam marks the anniversary of when the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, observers commemorate the end of Ramadan’s fasting period with prayers and sweets. For the month prior, Muslims are expected to avoid food, drink, smoking, and sex during daylight hours.

Though Eid is meant to be a time of celebration, recent conflicts and tragedies across Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Asia have cast a shadow over this year’s holiday. In West Africa, many Muslims dedicated Eid prayers to the 118 victims of Air Algérie Flight 5017, which crashed last week in Northern Mali, and to the hundreds affected by an intensifying Ebola outbreak, the worst in history. Meanwhile, some festivities were canceled in Lebanon and Qatar due to ongoing violence in Gaza, where three weeks of fighting between Israeli and Palestinian militants has killed over 1,000 people. In Malaysia, celebrations were tamped down out of respect for the victims of two Malaysian Airlines flights, one which was shot down by a missile over eastern Ukraine, and another which vanished over the Indian Ocean more than four months ago.

Take a look at how some Muslims observed the past month of Ramadan, a time meant to focus on spirituality, prayer, and peace.