Ramadan is one of the five requirements, or pillars, of Islam. During each of its 30 days, Muslims are obligated to fast from dawn until sunset. During this time, Nigerien Muslims are expected to abstain from food, drinking liquids (including water), smoking, and sexual relations.
In Niger, women typically spend the afternoons preparing a big meal. At sunset, families often gather together to break the fast. Traditionally, the families break the fast with a drink of water, then a few dried dates or palm fruits, and a multi-course meal. It is a common practice for Nigeriens to stay up celebrating, eating, drinking, and smoking with friends until late into the night.
Most Nigeriens become more serious about religion during the month of Ramadan in hopes that Allah will forgive their sins and grant them paradise. Many attend the evening prayer services and participate in other daily prayer rituals. Some Nigeriens even read the entire Quran, which is about one-tenth as long as the Bible, during the month of Ramadan. This time of sincerely seeking truth and repentance makes Ramadan a strategic opportunity for Christians to pray for Nigerien Muslims.