Summer heat adds hardship to Ramadan fast

Photo gallery: Opening days of holy month.

Palestinian boys stand next to a shop, decorated with Ramadan festive lights, in the West Bank city
A Palestinian Muslim man decorates an alley of Jerusalem's old city with festive lights in preparati
Muslim men worship at the Darul Uloom Institute in Pembroke Pines, Florida.
Indian Muslims wash themselves as they get ready to offer prayers on the first day of the Muslim hol
Palestinian men sleep in a mosque on the second day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, in the West
Saudi and foreign Muslims break their fast at a collective daily meal served at the Dirah mosque at
Afghan men offer the first Friday prayers of Ramadan outside a mosque in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Bangladeshi Muslims listen to the message from the holy book in Dhaka, Bangladesh
Muslim men relax as they wait for the time to break their fast at Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta, Indone
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Hundreds of millions of Muslims across the Middle East sweated their way through the start of Ramadan on Wednesday last week, beginning a month-long daylight fast in sweltering summer heat.
With temperatures over 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 Celsius) in some countries, governments and religious authorities sought to lighten the holy month's burden by shortening work days, granting exemptions from the fast and even setting the clock back an hour.

Frequent power outages in places like Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and the Gaza Strip compounded the struggle to give up food, drink and cigarettes during the searing 15-hour day.
On the lunar calendar, the Islamic month of Ramadan begins around 11 days earlier each year, which now puts it in the long, hot days of summer.
Under Islamic law, travelers, the sick, children and the elderly are exempted from fasting.