FLASHBACK: African Union soldiers were patrolling outside this mosque in case of an attack by al-Shabab, which stepped up attacks during last Ramadan.

Saudi Arabia has announced the official date for beginning of the Ramadan fasting month.

The country regarded as the birthplace of Islam, Saudi Arabia has announced that the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan will begin on Saturday, May 27.

Ramadan lasts 29 to 30 days based on the visual sightings of the crescent moon, and the annual observance of Ramadan is regarded as one of the five pillars of Islam.

During Ramadan, Muslims have to abstain from eating, drinking and smoking from dawn to sunset. Devout Muslims also mark the month by intense worship, performing special nightly prayers and reading Islam’s holy book, the Koran.

Fasting is one of Islam’s five pillars, alongside declaration of monotheism, prayer five times a day, alms-giving, and the pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.