Muslims in the Philippines began the rite of Ramadan on Thursday. Alim Ed Jamal Munib, executive director of the Madrasah Comprehensive Development and Promotion Program in Davao City, said it had expected Ramadan to begin on Wednesday, but the official lunar sighting did not occur until Thursday, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported.

Muslims in the Philippines started their day with prayers at 4am on Thursday to mark the start of Ramadan, a month-long tradition of fasting and prayers in Islam to commemorate the first revelation of the Koran to the Prophet Muhammad.

During Ramadan, Muslims pray and fast from dawn to dusk and refrain from drinking water as well. However, fasting is not compulsory for children, the elderly, nursing women, travelers or those with health problems.

According to a report by the Philippine Statistics Authority in October 2015, more than 5 million people in the Philippines are Muslim. Most Muslims live in Mindanao, Palawan and the Sulu Archipelago.

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