July 25th, 2012
04:15 PM ET
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During the month of Ramadan, which began July 19 and continues through August 18, from dawn to dusk observant Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and sex in order to purify themselves, learn humility, pray and concentrate on Allah's teachings.

Throughout this ninth month of the Islamic calendar, at sunset, the family will gather to end the fast with iftar – a communal meal that often starts with the consumption of a date, as the Prophet Muhammad was believed to have done. Dishes vary according to regional and familial traditions and tastes.

While travel and sickness can prompt an exemption from the fast, the rules do not factor in the nutritional needs of Olympic athletes competing during Ramadan or, for example, Minnesota Vikings starting safety Husain Abdullah who fasts during training. See more in the video above.


Share your Iftar traditions

An Egyptian family's Eid al-Fitr feast

Ramadan sales spell sweet success for this confectionery

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Filed under: Dietary Restrictions • Olympics • Ramadan • Religion • Rituals • Sports • TV-CNN Newsroom

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