Ramadan has begun across the world and in the coming weeks the fasts are likely to get longer here in the UK.

Presently Muslims are expected to fast for around 16 hours from around 4.30am until just after 8pm at sunset. As we reach mid-May towards the end of Ramadan sehri (opening of the fast) will be close to 9.10pm.

How does this compare with the rest of the world?

The shortest fast is on the other side of the planet in countries such as New Zealand and Chile where the fast will last just over 11 hours.

The longest fast meanwhile is in places such as Iceland and Finland where the fast could last past the 19 hour mark. That is similar to what Muslims were experiencing six years ago when Ramadan fell in the long summer months.

As the Islamic calendar is based on the lunar calendar Ramadan begins 10 to 12 days earlier each year.

Over the coming years the fasts will become shorter for Muslims living in the northern hemisphere. In 2030 Ramadan is set to begin on January 5 when the fast will open at 4.10pm!

During Ramadan Muslims abstain from food and drink during daylight hours.

People are encouraged to engage in charity and devote extra time to spiritual activities such as praying and reading the Qoran.

The end of Ramadan is celebrated with Eid al-Fitr and will this year take place only days before the Step 3 ‘Road out of lockdown’.

Young children, pregnant women, the old, the sick and travellers are examples of those who are exempt from fasting during the month.

For evening prayers mosques have asked that worshippers to bring their own prayer mats and bags for shoes, with sanitation stations and a one-way system in place, and no one under the age of 12 should attend.