I chose these images from a stunning group of photographs from In Focus by Alan Taylor in the Atlantic. The photos are both beautiful in themselves and they give us a sense of this profound and worldwide observance.
Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, began earlier this month, with the observation of the Hilal, or new moon. Throughout this ninth month on the Islamic calendar, devout Muslims must abstain from food, drink, and sex from dawn until sunset. The fast, one of the five pillars of Islam, is seen as a time for spiritual reflection, prayers, and charity. After sunset, Muslims traditionally break the fast by eating three dates, performing the Maghrib prayer, and sitting down to Iftar, the main evening meal, where communities and families gather together. Gathered here are images of Muslims around the world observing Ramadan this year.
A Palestinian girl reads the Koran during the holy fasting month of Ramadan at a mosque in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip June 8, 2016. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
An Afghan worker makes sweets at a traditional factory during the holy fasting month of Ramadan in Kandahar, Afghanistan, on June 7, 2016. Allauddin Khan/AP
Muslims attend the Ramadan tarawih prayer at Istiqlal mosque in Jakarta, Indonesia, on June 5, 2016. Beawiharta / Reuters
A Muslim man prays before his iftar on the first day of Ramadan in India, at the Jama Masjid, or Grand Mosque, in the old quarters of Delhi, India, on July 7, 2016. Adnan Abidi/Reuters
One of the many things I like about these photos (check them all out) is the way they represent the diversity and complexity of Islam. Religious devotion is not easy to evoke in a fine art photograph. Many of these images do it superbly.