Presentation on theme: "Ramadan The Month of Fasting and Qur'an"— Presentation transcript:
1Ramadan The Month of Fasting and Qur'an Towards Understanding Islam and Muslims12/06/2001Towards Understanding Islam & MuslimsRamadan The Month of Fasting and Qur'anAuthor: Ahmad SultanYour NameYour LogoTitleYour Organization ChapterAhmadSultan.com
2Towards Understanding Islam and Muslims 12/06/2001Greetings of IslamAsSalamu AlaikumPeace be upon youWa Alaikum AsSalamand upon you be peaceThe universal greeting of Muslims all over the world is …It is used in place of Hello and GoodbyeIt symbolizes the essence of Islam; propagating love, peace, brotherhood, and the universality of the messageIt means that you, your family, and belongings are safe with me.
3Towards Understanding Islam and Muslims 12/06/2001OutlineBasic terminologyIslam, Muslim, Allah, WorshipIslam as a System/Way of LifeCore Beliefs and Practices.“Articles of Faith”“Pillars of Islam”RamadanFasting, Breaking Fast, Night Prayers, Qur’an, Seclusion, End of RamadanWhy do Muslims Fast?Spiritual, Moral, Mental and Physical impacts of fastingConclusion
4Terms for Better Understanding Towards Understanding Islam and Muslims12/06/2001Terms for Better UnderstandingAll Arabic words have a three letter root without vowel soundsSLMSiLiM = safe, secure, soundPRONUNCIATION is with s sound not with z sound.WHAT DOES 'ISLAM' MEAN?The Arabic word 'Islam' simply means 'submission', and derives from a word meaning 'peace'. In a religious context it means complete submission to the will of God. This is fulfilled in believing in Him and following His commandments.'Mohammedanism' is thus a misnomer because it suggests that Muslims worship Muhammad rather than God. 'Allah' is the Arabic name for God, which is used by Arab Muslims and Christians alike.WHAT IS 'ISLAM'?Islam is not a new religion, but the same truth that God revealed through all His prophets to every people. For a fifth of the world's population, Islam is both a religion and a complete way of life. Muslims follow a religion of peace, mercy, and forgiveness, and the majority have nothing to do with the extremely grave events which have come to be associated with their faith.DO ISLAM, JUDAISM, AND CHRISTIANITY HAVE DIFFERENT ORIGINS?No. They go back to the prophet and patriarch Abraham, and their three prophets are directly descended from his sons - Muhammad from the eldest, Ishmael, and Moses and Jesus from Isaac. Abraham established the settlement which today is the city of Mecca, and built the Ka'ba towards which all Muslims turn when they pray.SALAM = peaceISLAM = submission, surrender, obedienceMUSLIM = the person who acts in accordance with Islam
5Towards Understanding Islam and Muslims 12/06/2001What is Islam?Pronounced with “s” not “z”ISLAM is related to one of the names of God (A-Salam: The Peace)Islam means “attaining peace within oneself and with what’s around through submission to God” (The source of Peace)Not named after a person/tribe, rather the CreatorIt is the name of the religion.PRONUNCIATION is with s sound not with z sound.WHAT DOES 'ISLAM' MEAN?The Arabic word 'Islam' simply means 'submission', and derives from a word meaning 'peace'. In a religious context it means complete submission to the will of God. This is fulfilled in believing in Him and following His commandments.'Mohammedanism' is thus a misnomer because it suggests that Muslims worship Muhammad rather than God. 'Allah' is the Arabic name for God, which is used by Arab Muslims and Christians alike.WHAT IS 'ISLAM'?Islam is not a new religion, but the same truth that God revealed through all His prophets to every people. For a fifth of the world's population, Islam is both a religion and a complete way of life. Muslims follow a religion of peace, mercy, and forgiveness, and the majority have nothing to do with the extremely grave events which have come to be associated with their faith.DO ISLAM, JUDAISM, AND CHRISTIANITY HAVE DIFFERENT ORIGINS?No. They go back to the prophet and patriarch Abraham, and their three prophets are directly descended from his sons - Muhammad from the eldest, Ishmael, and Moses and Jesus from Isaac. Abraham established the settlement which today is the city of Mecca, and built the Ka'ba towards which all Muslims turn when they pray.
6Towards Understanding Islam and Muslims 12/06/2001What is Islam?Not a new religiongoes back to the prophet and patriarch AbrahamIt is a continuation, and confirmation of the primordial (original) monotheistic message from the time of AdamPRONUNCIATION is with s sound not with z sound.WHAT DOES 'ISLAM' MEAN?The Arabic word 'Islam' simply means 'submission', and derives from a word meaning 'peace'. In a religious context it means complete submission to the will of God. This is fulfilled in believing in Him and following His commandments.'Mohammedanism' is thus a misnomer because it suggests that Muslims worship Muhammad rather than God. 'Allah' is the Arabic name for God, which is used by Arab Muslims and Christians alike.WHAT IS 'ISLAM'?Islam is not a new religion, but the same truth that God revealed through all His prophets to every people. For a fifth of the world's population, Islam is both a religion and a complete way of life. Muslims follow a religion of peace, mercy, and forgiveness, and the majority have nothing to do with the extremely grave events which have come to be associated with their faith.DO ISLAM, JUDAISM, AND CHRISTIANITY HAVE DIFFERENT ORIGINS?No. They go back to the prophet and patriarch Abraham, and their three prophets are directly descended from his sons - Muhammad from the eldest, Ishmael, and Moses and Jesus from Isaac. Abraham established the settlement which today is the city of Mecca, and built the Ka'ba towards which all Muslims turn when they pray.A way of life: a system that addresses social, economical, and political arenas maintaining in focus the belief in One God, and following His commandments
7Towards Understanding Islam and Muslims 12/06/2001Who is a Muslim?Pronounced with short u/o, and “s” not “z” soundAnyone/thing that submits to God and follows His Commandments/LawsLegal definitionWhosoever declares:“There is no god but God and Mohammed is his servant and Messenger”anyone can be a Muslim regardless of race, nationality, ethnicity or colorPRONUNCIATION is with short u/o sound, and s not z sound.Muslim not Islamic. Islamic is an adjective. So one should say a Muslim wo/man not Islam or Islamic wo/man.WHO IS A MUSLIMS? Anyone/thing that submits to God and follow His Commandments/Laws. This includes everything in the heavens and earth following God’s laws. The result of this submission (Islam) is manifested in the perfect universal system we live in.HOW DOES SOMEONE BECOME A MUSLIM?Simply by saying 'there is no god apart from God, and Muhammad is the Messenger of God.' By this declaration the believer announces his or her faith in all God's messengers, and the scriptures they brought.
8Who Are Muslims? 1.3 billion world wide NOT ALL MUSLIMS ARE ARAB NOT ALL ARABS ARE MUSLIM18-20% Muslims are from the Arab worldIndonesia Largest (220million)8 million in the U.S.450,000 in Chicagoland
9Towards Understanding Islam and Muslims 12/06/2001Allah (God)Allah is a contraction of Al-Elah = The GodHe is The CreatorIt is the same word used for God, as well, for Arabic speaking Christians and JewsBible. O.T. Genesis. Arabic Risius“Animal droppings are a sign for an animal, foot prints are sign for walking, lands with valleys and heavens with towers are signs for a magnificent creator.” a saying of an Arabian nomad.Allah is a contraction of the Arabic word Al-Elah meaning The God. It is the same word used for Arabic speaking Christians, and Jews. It is the word used in Arabic bibles for The God. This is the same God the Muslims worship. It comes in a singular form only, and has no gender associated with it.The Arabic word for God spans a number of meanings from fulfilling the needs in an unseen way to being supreme and most high, being sleeked for help and protection, dearly loved, and hidden from sight.The Arabic word for the Lord is Al-Rab. The proprietor, nourished, sustained, the one who sets the values, rules and laws. The one to be obeyed, and to be accountable before him.Among the information that sources of Islam teaches about Allah (The God) are that He is the absolute, the Ever Living, the First and the Last, the Most High, the Most Near, the self subsisting, begets not nor is he begotten, nothing link unto him, All hearing and All seeing All-Knower of every thing, neither slumber nor sleep overtakes Him, free from all weakness and deficiencies, perfect in all attributes and has the most beautiful names.He is the sustainer and protector of all that exists, the disposer of everything and all affairs, to Him belongs whatever in the heavens and whatever on the earth, no one else is lord besides him. To Him belongs the creation, and the command. None has the right to be worshipped but He.He is indeed near. He responds to the invocation of the supplicant when s/he calls upon Him without a mediator or intercessor. He is The God.Bible. O.T. Genesis. Arabic Risius. [drop-title, 1 line in Arabic script that transcribes: “Sifr Takwīn al-khalā`-ik”]. [London: British and Foreign Bible Society, 1821]. 8vo (21.7 cm, 8.5"). 64 pp.Term does not imply gender; like god/goddessTerm cannot be pluralized; like gods/goddesses
10Towards Understanding Islam and Muslims 12/06/2001AEBADAABDA Slave, Obedience with Submission, Worship, …AEBADA meansThe functions of the slaves/servants in submission and obedience to the commands of their Lord in recognition of his greatness with heart filled with gratefulness to His bounties upon themA comprehensive/collective name of all that Allah (God) likes and accepts in sayings and deeds whether apparent or concealedIn Islam, all aspects of life is AEBADA, with proper intention and conduct according to Islamic teaching“Say: my Salat (Prayer), acts of Sacrifice, life and death is for Allah, the Lord of the world. In that I was commanded, and I am among those who submit (Muslims)PRONUNCIATION.WHAT DOES “AEBADA’ MEAN?The Arabic word 'Islam' simply meansWHAT IS “Aebadat”?
11Towards Understanding Islam and Muslims 12/06/2001Islam a Way of LifeAs a way of life, Islam provides systems ofBeliefs to free the minds, and encourages seeking knowledgeWorship to fulfill the spirit and increase the strengthManners to grow personality and cooperationLaws ensure rights, outline duties and guarantees justice for allThe Belief, is general terms, is the subjects one believes in his/her heart, self satisfied with, and is certain about without any doubt.People differ in level of belief based on the clarity and authenticity of the evidence or proofs of the subjects of belief.WHAT DO MUSLIMS BELIEVE IN?Muslims believe in One, Unique, Incomparable God; in the Angels created by Him; in the prophets through whom His revelations were brought to mankind; in the Day of Judgment and individual accountability for actions; in God's complete authority over human destiny and in life after death. Muslims believe in a chain of prophets starting with Adam and including Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Job, Moses, Aaron, David, Solomon, Elias, Jonah, John the Baptist, and Jesus, peace be upon them. But God's final message to man, a reconfirmation of the eternal message and a summing-up of all that has gone before was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad through Gabriel.Point out sources of Islamic teachings on which acts of life are conducted. Mention that we have full presentations on these subjects in the series “Towards Understanding Islam and Muslims”
12Core Beliefs and Practices Towards Understanding Islam and Muslims12/06/2001Core Beliefs and PracticesArticles of FaithPillars of IslamThe Belief, is general terms, is the subjects one believes in his/her heart, self satisfied with, and is certain about without any doubt.People differ in level of belief based on the clarity and authenticity of the evidence or proofs of the subjects of belief.WHAT DO MUSLIMS BELIEVE IN?Muslims believe in One, Unique, Incomparable God; in the Angels created by Him; in the prophets through whom His revelations were brought to mankind; in the Day of Judgment and individual accountability for actions; in God's complete authority over human destiny and in life after death. Muslims believe in a chain of prophets starting with Adam and including Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Job, Moses, Aaron, David, Solomon, Elias, Jonah, John the Baptist, and Jesus, peace be upon them. But God's final message to man, a reconfirmation of the eternal message and a summing-up of all that has gone before was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad through Gabriel.Point out sources of Islamic teachings on which acts of life are conducted. Mention that we have full presentations on these subjects in the series “Towards Understanding Islam and Muslims”
13What Do Muslims Believe In? Towards Understanding Islam and Muslims12/06/2001What Do Muslims Believe In?God (Allah) The One and onlyAngels Other unseen creaturesBooks Divine revelationMessengers Guides to mankindDay of Judgment Life After Death & AccountabilityThe Belief, is general terms, is the subjects one believes in his/her heart, self satisfied with, and is certain about without any doubt.People differ in level of belief based on the clarity and authenticity of the evidence or proofs of the subjects of belief.WHAT DO MUSLIMS BELIEVE IN?Muslims believe in One, Unique, Incomparable God; in the Angels created by Him; in the prophets through whom His revelations were brought to mankind; in the Day of Judgment and individual accountability for actions; in God's complete authority over human destiny and in life after death. Muslims believe in a chain of prophets starting with Adam and including Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Job, Moses, Aaron, David, Solomon, Elias, Jonah, John the Baptist, and Jesus, peace be upon them. But God's final message to man, a reconfirmation of the eternal message and a summing-up of all that has gone before was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad through Gabriel.Articles of Faith
14How do Muslims Practice? Towards Understanding Islam and Muslims12/06/2001How do Muslims Practice?IslamDeclaration of Faith (Shahada)Prayer (Salah)Alms Giving (Zakah)Fasting Ramadan (Sawm)Pilgrimage (Hajj)Formal acts of AEBADA. TheBedrock of IslamGroundWHAT ARE THE 'FIVE PILLARS' OF ISLAM?They are the framework of the Muslim life: faith, prayer, Alms giving (concern for the needy), fasting the month of Ramadan (self-purification), and the pilgrimage to Mecca, once in a life time, for those who are able.Objective of worship is to elevate the spirit, and increase the strength.Declaration of Faith (Shahada)Prayer (Salat)Pilgrimage (Hajj)Fasting (Sawm)Alms Giving (Zakat)FoundationsPillars of Islam
15Towards Understanding Islam and Muslims 12/06/2001RamadanRAMADAN: derived from RMD means: heat, thirst and dehydrationNinth month in Islamic calendar (Lunar)Fasting Ramadan is the fourth obligatory pillar of IslamMonth of Qur’an“The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for he guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong).” Qur’an 2:185ActivitiesFasting (Siyam), Night Prayers (Qiyam), Seclusion (Aitikaf), Ends with celebration (Eid ulFitr)Closeness to God, increasing the performance of good deeds and generosityNew MoonRamadan is the ninth month in the Muslim calendar and, according to Islamic belief, the month during which Allah (God) delivered the Koran to the prophet Mohammed. During Ramadan, Muslims (followers of Islam) do not eat or drink during the day. This is called fasting.Muslims believe that fasting cleanses the body and soul and brings them closer to God. As they resist the physical urges of hunger and thirst, they develop self-discipline and patience. Fasting also enables Muslims to sympathize with underprivileged people and to better appreciate God’s gifts. In addition to fasting during Ramadan, Muslims strengthen their religious beliefs by going to mosques, studying the Koran, and reciting prayers.Ramadan begins with the sighting of the new moon. Then, all Muslims past the age of puberty (with some exceptions permitted) fast from dawn until dusk. There is usually a pre-fast meal (suh r) before sunrise and a post-fast meal (ift r) after sunset. The 27th night of Ramadan is the Laylat al-Qadr, or Night of Power. According to Islam, this is the night when God gave the first verses of the Koran to Mohammed, as well as the night when God decides what will happen in the world in the year to come.The end of Ramadan is celebrated with Id-al-Fitr, the Festival of Breaking the Fast. Id-al-Fitr is like the Christian holiday of Christmas. People pray in mosques, visit with family and friends, and exchange gifts.Ramadan, The Blessed MonthDate Posted: Friday, October 17, 2003By Sheikh Muhammad Al-HanootiAllah (subhanahu wa t'ala) created man fully equipped with all integral aspects of his entity - physical, mental, spiritual - so that he would recognize his fitra, his purpose, and accomplish the goal in his life to which he has committed himself. He cannot survive without the laws of Allah if he wishes to be a normal, functional human being.Fasting was ordained at the first moment of man's appearance on Earth, along with the execution of all other Shari'a laws to be performed upon reaching maturity.The goal of fasting is to attain all avenues of Divine protection, security and peace, as Allah concludes in the verse of Siyam, "...so, that you will attain taqwa."Ramadan is derived from the root ra-ma-dha, which means: heat, thirst and dehydration.Abstinence from consuming liquids is perhaps the most difficult ordinance in fasting. Next comes other prohibitions of refraining from eating and intimacy with one's spouse. Allah says, "And seek what Allah hath ordained for you and eat and drink until the white thread of dawn appears to you distinct from its black thread. Then continue fasting until the sunset."Fasting is the ultimate form of self-discipline for man, as it helps him control his desires and reconnect with his Lord; for whenever he senses the pangs of hunger and thirst, he will be elevated to the level of spiritual bliss, as if he were seeing Allah; and if not actually seeing Him, he would at least perceive that Allah is seeing him.In fasting, both the poor and the rich experience the same deprivations, as they are overcome with hunger and thirst by the decree of Allah (SWT). This is the law that elevates man from enslavement to his desires to the level of one who controls, and ultimately transcends, his desires. Man's response to the guidance and law of fasting is to find the strength to say "No" in a powerful way. He remembers how Adam lost his battle with the shaitan by neglecting the law of "Don't".It is the substantial mercy of Allah that a sick person need not fast, nor a traveler, an elderly person who cannot fast, a menstruating woman, or a woman in nifas (postpartum bleeding). Likewise, pregnant or breast-feeding women, if a physician advises her against it, are exempt from fasting. This illustrates the ease of the Shari'a. Allah makes every law flexible and compatible with man's circumstances. "Allah wills ease for you, but does not will difficulty for you."Ramadan is the month in which the Holy Qur'an was revealed, so there is harmony between the fasting body and the soul, which is yearning to receive the message of heaven. The heart, which controls desire, is the heart which can assimilate the substance of inspiration. The Muslim now becomes qualified to carry out the message with patience, constancy and commitment.This holy month is characterized by devoting oneself to living with the Qur'an. The Prophet (SAWS) was the most generous during Ramadan, when Gibreel (Gabriel) used to review the entire Qur'an with him. During these times, the Prophet would be more generous and fruitful than a wind loaded with rain.The month of Ramadan is also precious for the believer because of the evening prayers after Salat ul-Ishaa (the 'Taraweeh). The Prophet (SAWS) said, "The one who observes the night prayers of Ramadan in faith and seeking Allah's blessings, will be forgiven his former sins.” This optional prayer is referred to in Surat al-Muzammil. "Oh, thou folded in garments! Stand to prayer by night, but not all of the night, half of it -or a little less, or a little more; and recite the Qur'an in slow, measured rhythmic tones."The Creator who prescribed fasting for man's welfare, out of his boundless mercy and compassion, grants man the greatest bounties: "The one, who fasts the month of Ramadan out of true faith and looking to Allah for blessing, will be forgiven his former sins."We should strive to seek the night of Layla al-Qadr, the night of power, which is so exclusively loaded with the value of being “better than a thousand months." Can anyone spend more than eighty years making ibadah incessantly? Of course, this is humanly impossible! This glorious night was designated with the existence of Creation. On this very night of al-Qadr, Gibreel suddenly appeared and surprised the Prophet (SAWS) in the cave of Hera when he delivered the first immortal words, "Proclaim! (or Read!) in the name of thy Lord and Cherisher, who created...." A Muslim should seek this night in the last ten nights of Ramadan, in particular, the odd nights.A Muslim is ranked during Ramadan on the steps of righteousness and glory until, finally, at the end of the month, he provides the poor with the sadaqat al-Fitr and invites his needy brother to join the community for special food, clothing and rejoicing at the conclusion of the completion of the fast.At the conclusion of Ramadan, Allah will bestow upon believers a new dignity and elevation of taqwa, whose reverberations will be felt throughout the months to come. Allah says, "So you will complete the days of Ramadan and make takbir because of how Allah guided you and in order to show your acknowledgement of Allah's grandeur."
16Towards Understanding Islam and Muslims 12/06/2001Siyam (Fasting)SIYAM: derived from SAM means: Abstain (from doing something)Abstaining from food, drink and intimate marital relations from dawn until sunset while having the inwardly intention of fastingObligatory at the age of pubertyExempted are the travelers, the ill, the elderly and the pregnant, breastfeeding or menstruating womanNot new to man”O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you that you may (learn) self-restraint (piety)..." Qur'an 2: 183The Virtues of Fasting (Siyam)In Islam, fasting means “to abstain from something.” For example, one verse reports that Mary, the mother of Jesus, said: “I have vowed to the Merciful a fast, so today I will speak to no one.” (Surah Maryam, 19:26). In more general terms, it means to abstain from food, drink, and sexual intercourse, from dawn until sunset after making the explicit intention to do so for Allah’s sake.Abu Hurayrah reported the Messenger (PBUH) said: “Allah said: ‘Every action of the son of Adam is for him except fasting, for that is solely for Me. I give the reward for it.’ The fast is a shield. If one is fasting, he should not use foul language, raise his voice, or behave foolishly. If someone reviles him or fights with him, he should say: ‘I am fasting’ twice. By the One in whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, the [bad] breath of the one who is fasting is better in the sight of Allah on the Day of Resurrection than the smell of musk. The one who is fasting is happy at two times: when he breaks his fast he is happy with it, and when he meets his Lord he will be happy that he has fasted.’” (Related by Ahmad, Muslim, and an-Nasa’i. A similar version is recorded by al-Bukhari and Abu Dawud, but with the following addition: “He leaves his food, drink, and desires for My sake. His fasting is for Me.... I will give the reward for it, and for every good deed he will receive ten similar to it.”)`Abdullah ibn `Amr reported that the Messenger (PBUH) said: “The fast and the Qur’an are two intercessors for the servant of Allah on the Day of Resurrection. The fast will say: ‘O Lord, I prevented him from his food and desires during the day. Let me intercede for him.’ The Qur’an will say: ‘I prevented him from sleeping at night. Let me intercede for him.’ And their intercession will be accepted.” (Related by Ahmad with a sahih chain.)Abu Umamah reported: “I came to the Messenger of Allah and said: ‘Order me to do a deed that will allow me to enter Paradise.’ He replied: ‘Stick to fasting, as there is no equivalent to it.’ Then I came to him again, and he said: ‘Stick to fasting.’” (Related by Ahmad, an-Nasa’i, and al-Hakim, who classified it as sahih.)Abu Sa`id al-Khudri reported that the Messenger (PBUH): “No servant fasts on a day in the path of Allah except that Allah removes the hellfire 70 years further away from his face.” (Related by “the group,” except for Abu Dawud.)Sahl ibn Sa`d reported that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “There is a gate to Paradise that is called ar-Rayyan. On the Day of Resurrection it will ask: ‘Where are those who fasted?’ When the last [one] has passed through the gate, it will be locked.” (Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.)Source: As-Sayyed Sabiq, Fiqh as-Sunna.Fasting & RamadanDate Posted: Monday, October 27, 2003Compiled By Dr. Jamal BadawiIn the Name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most MercifulI. INTRODUCTIONSiyam is one of the main pillars of Islam. It is mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah. In the Quran we read:"0 you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you that you may (learn) self-restraint..." (2: 183).Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said "(The superstructure of) Islam is raised on five (pillars), the Oneness of Allah, the establishment of Prayer, payment of Zakah, the fast of Ramadan and the Pilgrimage (to Mecca)." (Muslim).Based upon the Quran and Sunnah, it has been the consensus of Muslims throughout history that a Muslim who rejects the legitimacy of Si'yam rejects Islam as well. The Prophet (PBUH) said: “Whoever breaks the fast of one day of Ramadan, without a valid excuse or (not due to) illness, fasting forever will not make up for it (i.e., the missed day) even if he/she did fast it.” (al-Bukhari)He has also said about the significance of Si'yam: “A great month, a blessed month, containing a night which is better than a thousand months has approached you people. Allah has appointed the observance of fasting during it as an obligatory duty, and the passing of (a part of) its nights in prayer as voluntary practice. If someone draws near to Allah during it with some good act, he will be (in reward) like one who fulfils an obligatory duty in another month, and he who fulfils an obligatory duty in it will be like one who fulfils seventy obligatory duties in another month. It is the month of endurance and the reward of endurance is paradise It is a month whose beginning is mercy, whose middle is forgiveness and whose end is freedom from hell. (alBayhaqi)In another Hadeeth, Abu Huraira reported the messenger of Allah as saying: “He who fasts during Ramadan with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven; he who prays during the night in Ramadan with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven; and he who passes Lailat al-Qadr in prayer with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven.” (al-Bukhari & Muslim)Throughout the centuries during this blessed month Allah (S.W.T.) enabled sincere Muslims to achieve major victories including:The Battle of Badr (year 2 Hijri)The Return to and Conquest of Mecca. (year 8 Hijri)The Opening conquest of Rhodes. (year 53 Hijri)Muslims' successful landing on the Coast of Spain. (year 91 Hijri)Muslims' victory under Tariq Ibn Ziyaad against the King of Spain. (year 92 Hijri)Salahuddin's victory against the invading Crusaders (year 584 Hijri)Muslims' victory against the invading French army led by Louis ix who was taken as a war prisoner in Mansoura, Egypt. (year 647 Hijri)Mamluks' victory against the invading Tartars in the battle of 'Am Galoot. (year 658 Hijri).II. SIGNIFICANCE OF RAMADANLike other injunctions of Islam, the benefits of Ramadan are not limited purely to either “spiritual” or “temporal” elements of life. In Islam, the spiritual, social, economic, political and psychological all intermingle in a consistent and cohesive whole. For convenience of presentation, however the significance of Si'yam is discussed under four subheadings, spiritual and moral, psychological, and physical and medical.Spiritual and moral elements:Fasting above all is an act of obedience and submission to Allah. This submission and commitment is based upon the love of Allah and the earnest effort to gain His pleasure and to avoid His displeasure. If this is the only reason for fasting, it surely suffices.Fasting is an act of acknowledgement of Allah (SWT) as the Only Master and Sustainer of the Universe. It is only through His bounties that we derive our existence and our sustenance.Fasting is an act of atonement for our errors and mistakes. As the Prophet (PBUH) says: "Whoever fasts (the month of) Ramadan on the basis of Iman and seeking (the Pleasure of Allah), his past errors are forgiven." (Ahmad)Fasting trains the believer in Taqwa (God consciousness). If one volunteers to refrain from lawful food and sex, he/she will be in better position to avoid the unlawful things and acts.Fasting trains the believer in sincerity. Unlike other acts of "worship" it is entirely based on self-restraint. Others can never know for sure if the person is fasting or if he/she broke the fast in secret. It is this self-restraint which requires a high degree of sincerity and faithfulness.Fasting teaches other virtues. Fasting does not exclusively mean refraining from food and drink. Essentially, it means refraining from all vice and evils. The Prophet (PBUH) said: "If one does not abandon falsehood in words and deeds, Allah has no need for his abandoning of his food and drink." (al-Bukhari)The spirit of Ramadan with its nightly voluntary prayer (called Salat-ul-Qiyam or Salat-ut-Taraweeh) and frequent recitation and study of the Quran provides a chance for spiritual revival (a kind of annual spiritual overhaul).Fasting is a form of Jihad (Struggling in the path of Allah). It teaches self-discipline and enhances one's ability to master his/her needs and desires rather than being enslaved by them.Psychological elements:It enhances the feelings of inner peace, contentment, and optimism. These feelings result from the realization of Allah's pleasure.It teaches patience and perseverance and enhances the feeling of moral accomplishment.Voluntary abstinence of lawful appetites leads one to appreciate the bounties of Allah, which are usually taken for granted (until they are missed!).For a whole month every year, Muslims go through a different and exciting experience, which breaks the normal routine of life. Not only can this be refreshing, it also teaches the person to adapt to varying conditions and circumstances in his/her life.Social elements:Fasting promotes the spirit of unity and belonging within the Muslim Ummah. Millions of Muslims all over the World fast during the same month following the same rules and observances.Fasting promotes the spirit of human equality before Allah (S.W.T.). All the Muslims, male and female, rich and poor from all ethnic backgrounds go through the same experience of deprivation with no special privileges or favors for any group or class.Fasting promotes the spirit of charity and sympathy towards the poor and needy. A rich person may be able to "imagine" the suffering of the poor or "think" about hunger. Yet, one cannot hilly appreciate suffering or hunger until he/she actually "experiences" or "feels" them. This may explain, in part, why Ramadan is also known as the month of charity and generosity.Fasting promotes Islamic sociability. Muslims are urged to invite others to break the fast with them at sunset and to gather for Quranic study, prayer and visitations. This provides a better chance for socialization in a brotherly and spiritual atmosphere.Physical and medical elements:A great deal has been written about the medical and health benefits of fasting, both by Muslim and non-Muslim scientists. These benefits include the elimination of harmful fatty substances from the blood, helping the cure of certain types of intestinal and stomach ailments and the renewal of body tissues. Needless to say that some ailments may be aggravated by fasting in which case the person is exempted from fasting. For those who may be engaged in Islamically (and medically) undesirable habits such as overeating or smoking, the self-control and discipline exercised in Ramadan provide an excellent beginning to “kick out” these bad habits. In a sense, fasting is an annual physical overhaul of the body.It should be reiterated, however, that the main motive behind fasting is to obey Allah (SWT) and to seek His pleasure.III. DETERMINATION OF THE BEGINNING AND THE END OF RAMADANThe beginning of the month of Si'yam (Ramadan) is determined by the sighting of the new moon (for Ramadan) or by the completion of the 30th day of the month of Sha'ban.Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: "Fast when you see it (the new moon for Ramadan) and break your fast when you see it (the new moon for Shawwal) and if the weather is cloudy, calculate it (the month of Sha 'ban) as thirty days." (al-Bukhari, Muslim)The end of Siyam is determined by the sighting of the new moon of Shawwal or by the completion of the 30th day of Siyam (in Ramadan). Is the sighting of the new moon in one locality binding on all Muslims? Muslim Jurists gave two different interpretations:Some Jurists contended that if the new moon is sighted anywhere, fasting becomes mandatory for all Muslims who have access to this information. They base their interpretation on the fact that the above-cited Hadeeth addresses Muslims in general regardless of where they reside. This enhances Muslim unity.Other Jurists especially the Hanafites contended, however, that the sighting of the new moon in one locality or area is binding only on the residents of that area (and its surroundings). They base their interpretation on the report of Ibn 'Abbas (RA) that this was the Prophet's instructions."Kurayb (RA) reported that he saw the new moon (of Ramadan) in Syria on Thursday night. When he arrived at Madinah, he learned from Ibn 'Abbas (RA) that the new moon was sighted in Madinah on Friday night and that residents of Madinah intended to base their calculations upon their own sighting of the new moon. Upon hearing this, Kurayb (RA) asked Ibn 'Abbas (RA),"Don't you consider as sufficient the sighting of Mu'aawiyah (RA) and his fasting (in Syria)?" lbn 'Abbas (RA) answered, "This is how the Messenger of Allah instructed us." (Muslim, at-Tirmidhi & Ahmad).IV. WHO SHOULD FAST?Siyam is mandatory on every Muslim who is sane, adult, able and resident. An additional condition in the case of women is freedom from menstruation and post childbirth confinement periods.V. EXEMPTIONS FROM FASTINGThe insane.Children who are not adolescent yet.The elderly and the chronically ill for whom fasting is unreasonably strenuous. A person, in this category, however, is required to feed one poor person for every day of Ramadan in which he/she misses fasting.Women and nursing mothers who fear that fasting may endanger their lives or health or those of their fetuses or infants. According to Malik, she is treated like those in category (3) above. According to Abu Hanifah, she should make up for the missed days of fasting by fasting equivalent number of dates when she is able to.Those who are ill or traveling provided that they make up for the missed days of fasting when they are well. Allah (SWT) says: "...But if any one is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed period (should be made up) by days later. Allah intends every facility for you; He does not want to put you to difficulties..."(2:185)Women during the period of menstruation or of post-childbirth confinement.'5 Fasting during these periods is not permitted and it should be made up for later, a day for a day. Some women may at times continue to menstruate long after their usual menstruation period (usually with a "lighter" blood). In these cases, jurists estimated different maximal of days, which are regarded as the "usual" menstruation periods. These estimates included 10 days, 13 days and 15 days. Mother interpretation is to establish the maximum period of menstruation in the above cases on the basis of the "usual period" for any individual woman before the occurrence of the irregularity.As to post childbirth confinement, it ends with the cessation of bleeding. Its maximum is forty days after delivery.VI. DURATION OF FASTINGFasting starts, every day in Ramadan at Fajr time (Adhan) and ends soon after sunset. If one doubts whether it is Fajr time yet, he may continue to eat and drink until he is certain. It is certainty that counts not doubt. Allah says: "And eat and drink, until the white thread of dawn appear to you distinct from its black thread; then complete your fast till the night appears..." (2:187)VII. REQUIREMENTS FOR A VALID FASTINGAbstaining from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset for each day in Ramadan.The intention to fast before dawn every day. The intention need not be in words and is valid at any time after sunset (for the following day). According to some Jurists, the intention can be made only once for the whole month (i.e. in the night proceeding the first day of Ramadan).VIII. DESIRABLE THINGS IN FASTINGTo take a night meal (called Suhoor) as close to Fajr time as possible. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) says: "Partake Suhoor for there is blessing in Suhoor." (Bukhari & Muslim.). The blessings of Suhoor include strengthening the fasting person, enabling him/her to continue to be active during the day, and making fasting tolerable.'To break the fast as soon as one is sure that the sun has set. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: "If any of you was fasting, let him break the fast with dates. If he can't find dates let him break the fast with water for water is wholesome." (at-Tirmidhi).When breaking the fast, it is recommended to make Du 'aa (prayer). Following are two versions of the Prophet's Du’aa. ALLAHUMMAA LAKA SUMTU WA 'ALA RIZQIKA AFTARTU "O Allah! For you did I fast and with your bounties did I break the fast." (Abu Dawood). DHA-HABADH-DHAMA 'U WAB-TALLATIL-UROOQU WA THABATAL-AJRU JN-SHA ALLAH "Gone is the thirst and moistured are the veins and achieved is the reward by the will of Allah." (Abu Dawood)To avoid any act, which is contradictory to fasting, the Prophet (PBUH) said: "Fasting is not (mere) refraining from food and drink. Fasting is refraining from vain talk and indecency. And if one slanders you or aggresses against you, say I am fasting, I am fasting." (al-Hakim).To be more generous especially to the poor and to spend more time studying the Quran. Also to have more voluntary Saiah (prayer) especially in the last ten days of Rainadhan. During Ramadan, this voluntary Salah is called (Taraweeh Prayer). Several authentic Ahadeeth show that the Prophet (PBUH) prayed only eight Rak'ah plus three Witr for a total of eleven Rak 'ah. (al-Bukhari).Some early Muslims used to pray twenty Rak'ah instead of eight. Taraweeh prayer can be said individually or in a group (which is better, especially in the Masjid).IX. THINGS WHICH DO NOT INVALIDATE YOUR FASTINGDuring fasting, the following things are permissible:Bathing. The Prophet (PBUH) was reported to have poured water over his head while he was fasting either because of thirst or heat. (Ahmad, Malik & Abu-Dawood) If water is swallowed involuntarily, it does not invalidate fasting.The use of al-Kuhi (eye powder). Anas (RA) reported that the Prophet (PBUH) used to use al-Kuhi while fasting.Kissing one's husband or wife provided that one is able to control himself/herself; 'Aa'isha (RA) reported that the Prophet (PBUH) used to kiss while fasting and touch while fasting (but) he was the most (able) of you in controlling himself.Rinsing the mouth or nostrils with water provided that it is not overdone (so as to avoid swallowing water).Swallowing things which are not possible to avoid such as one's own secretions (i. g. saliva) or street dust etc.Tasting the food being purchased (or cooked) with the tip of the tongue. (this was reported by Ibn 'Abbas (RA)).Taking injections (of any type).Smelling flowers or wearing perfumes, etc.One may continue his/her fast even if he/she is Junub, (the state after intercourse or night discharge and before bathing). Likewise, women at the end of the periods of menstruation or post childbirth confinement periods may start fasting if bleeding stops at night (any time before dawn). In all of the above cases, bathing may be delayed until the following morning and the fast is valid.If one forgets that he/she is fasting and he/she eats or drinks, provided that one should stop eating or drinking as soon as he/she remembers. The same rule applies to those who are involuntarily forced to break the fast. The Prophet (PBUH) said: “If anyone forgets that he/she is fasting and eats or thinks he/she should complete his fast, for it is only Allah who has fed him/her and given him/her drink. (Muslim, al-Bukhari).Involuntary throw-up. The Prophet (PBUH) said: "If anyone involuntarily vomits (while fasting), he does not have to make up (for that day). (But if anyone deliberately causes himself to vomit, he must make up (for that day)." (Ahmad, Abu-Dawood, at-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah)In either case, the person must continue to fast for the rest of the day.X. INVALIDATING THE FASTA. Those which Invalidate Fasting and Require Qada' only (making up for the missed day or days, a day for a day). This category includes:Eating and/or drinking deliberately (including partaking non-nourishing items by the mouth).Deliberately causing oneself to vomit.The beginning of menstruation or post-childbirth bleeding even in the last moment before sunset.Ejaculation for reasons other than sexual intercourse, (e. g. kissing or hugging one's wife).Eating, thinking, smoking or having sexual intercourse after Fajr (dawn) on the mistaken assumption that it is not Fajr time yet. Similarly, engaging in these acts before Maghrib (sunset) on the mistaken assumption that it is already Maghrib time.B. An Act which Invalidates Fasting and Requires Qada' and Kaffarah (an act of atonement).Sexual intercourse during the period of fast (dawn to sunset) not only invalidates the fast but involves an additional penalty as well. The penalty is to set a slave free. If this is not available or possible, one must fast an additional period of 60 continuous days. If one is not able to, then he must feed sixty poor persons one average meal each.Abu Hurairah (RA) reported that a man broke the fast in Ramadan (deliberately). The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) instructed him to atone for this by setting a slave free or to fast two continuous months or to feed sixty poor persons. (Muslim)The majority of jurists make no distinction between men and women in the applicability of the above penalty provided that both deliberately engaged in sexual intercourse during the day (dawn to sunset in Ramadan).If both forgot that they were fasting, or did not intend to fast, (e. g. due to illness or travel), or were fasting before or after the month of Ramadan, the penalty does not apply. If the wife was forced into intercourse by her husband (during the day in Ramadan) or if she was not fasting for a legitimate reason, then the penalty applies to the husband only. Ash-Shafi'i, however, believes that the wife is not penalized even if she accepts to engage in sexual intercourse with her husband. She is required only to make up for the missed day (a day-for-day). One version attributed to Ahmad Ibn Hanbal concurs with this.XI. WHEN TO MAKE UP FOR MISSED FASTINGThe Quran does not specify any time limit during which one must make up for fasting missed in Ramadan. ". . .But if any of you is ill or on a journey, the prescribed number (should be made up) from days later. . ." (2:184).XII. DEATH BEFORE MAKING UP FOR MISSED FASTINGThe majority of jurists believe that the "guardian" of the deceased is only required to give in charity a certain amount of food. According to lbn Hambal and one version of Ash-Shafi'i, it is better for the guardian to make up for the missed days of fasting (of the deceased) by fasting equivalent number of days on his/her behalf. Ibn 'Abbas (RA) reported that a man came to the Prophet (PBUH) and he said: "O Messenger of Allah! My mother has died and due from her is Siyam (fast) of a month. Should I complete them on her behalf? Thereupon (the Prophet PBUH) said: Would you not pay the debt if your mother had died (without paying it)? He said: "Yes!" (The Prophet PBUH) said: "the debts of Allah are of priority to be paid." (Muslim, Ahmad).XII. FASTING IN PLACES WHERE THE DAY AND NIGHT ARE UNUSALLY LONGFasting in Places Where the Days or Nights are Unusually LongIn some areas like Scandinavia and the Poles, the day (or night) sometimes lasts for several weeks. How can the residents of such areas determine the duration of fasting? Some jurists concluded that such residents might fast a number of hours similar to the dawn-to-sunset period in Mecca or Madinah. Others concluded that they may fast a number of hours similar to the dawn-to-sunset period in the nearest “moderate” place to them.XIV. ZAKAT-UL-FITRAn essential thing which relates to fasting is the mandatory Zakah at the end of Ramadan. It is different from and is in addition to the Zakat-ul-Mal. It is the due on every adult Muslim who possesses an amount of food in excess of his needs and those of his family for 24 hours. If the person is a provider for others, Zakat-ul-fitr is also due on him on behalf of his dependants (e. g. wife, children, servants, or other dependent relatives).Most jurists indicated that it could be paid one or two days before the end of Ramadan. They agreed, however, that it should be paid before 'Eid prayer. This gives the poor a chance to enjoy the 'Eid day. If Zakah is not paid before 'Eid prayer, one is not exempt from it. It should be paid in the first day of 'Eid.lbn 'Abbas (RA) reported that "the Prophet (PBUH) prescribed Zakat-ul-Fitr as a purification for the fasting person from vain and indecent talk and as a provision for the needy. Whoever pays it before Salah ('Eid prayer), it is an acceptable Zakah and whoever pays it after Salah, then it is (regarded only as a) charity." (Abu Dawood, Ibn Majah)The minimum amount due is the equivalent of about 5.5 pounds of flour, wheat, barley or rice for each person in the household (the head of the household and each dependent even if the dependent does not reside in the same house). About £ 2.00 is a safe estimate for those residing in the U.K.Recipient of Zakat-ul-Fitr are the same like those entitled to the Zakat-ul-Ma!. According to the Quran: "Alms are for the poor, the needy, those employed to administer (the funds), those whose hearts have been (recently) reconciled (to Truth), those in bondage, those in debt (due to a calamity), in the cause of Allah for the wayfarer: (thus it is) ordained by Allah and Allah is All-Knower, Wise. (9 : 60)The most deservants of Zakah are the pious and poor Muslims.According to Abu Hanifah, and others, Zakat-ul-Fitr can be paid as well to the poor among Jews or Christians (if there is no needy Muslim in the area).XV. SALAT-UL-'EIDOn 'Eid day it is recommended to have Ghusl (bath), put on the best clothes, eat a few dates, and gather for 'Eid prayer after sunrise, Prayer is composed of two Rak 'as (units) with no Ad/tan or Iqamah (call for prayer) Seven additional Takbeerahs (Allah Akbar) are added to the first Rak 'ah and five additional takbeerat in the second Rak 'ah. The rest of the Salah is identical to Fajr Prayer.After Salah, the Imam (leader) delivers a Khutbah (talk) similar to the Friday Khuthah. Some Jurists, however, say that the Eid Khuthah need not be broken into two portions; it can be delivered all in one continuous period. Exchange of gifts and visits are commendable acts on this day, especially among relatives.XVI. OTHER TYPES OF FASTINGIn addition to the Mandatory Fasting in Ramadan, two other types should be mentioned briefly:Forbidden Fasting: Fasting on certain days is forbidden. They include the following:Fasting on the first day of Eid-ul-Fitr (Feast of Breaking the Fast) or the first day of Eid-ul-adh-ha (Feast of sacrifice).Fasting on the second, third or fourth days of Eid-ul-Adh-ha.Singling out Friday for voluntary fasting unless one is fasting one day before it or one day after it.Fasting on the day when there is doubt as to whether the month of Ramadan has begun or not.Fasting continuously (all year).The wife's voluntary fasting in the presence of her husband without his consent.Desirable Fasting: In addition to the mandatory fasting in Ramadan, the following fasts are Sunnah (desirable and encouraged). They include:Fasting six days during the month of Shawwal (the month following Ramadan). They may be fasted consecutively or separately (after the first day of Eid-ul-Fitr).Fasting the 9th day of the month of Dhil-Hijjah (the day before Eid-uI-Adh-ha) provided that the person is not performing Hajj/ (pilgrimage) that year.Fasting during the month of al-Muharram especially the l0t~l day ('Aashuraa') and if possible the 9th and the I ~ of the same month.Fasting as many days as possible during the month of S/ta 'baan (but not the whole month).Fasting during the months of Rajab, Dhul-Qa 'dah, and Dhul-HOjah.Fasting Mondays and Thursdays (at least 3 days per month).A person in any of the above six categories may decide to break the fast without any penalty.XVII. THER ASPECTS OF FASTINGOTHER ASPECTS OF RAMADANA. Lailat-ul-Qadr (the Night of Honor and Excellence):This is the night in which the first passage of the Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Sincere worship and devotion in that night is better in value than 1000 months of worship. Angel Gabriel and other angels descend to the earth in that night invoking blessings on those who are worshipping Allah (S.W.T.).Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) says: "Whoever stood (in prayer) in the night of Qadr, on the basis of Imaan (faith) and seeking the reward (from Allah), Allah will forgive his previous sins." (al-Bukhari)This night is not specifically known to us. However the Prophet (PBUH) said: "Look for the night of Qadr in the last ten days of Ramadan". (al-Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmad)In another Hadeeth, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) especially recommended the odd-numbered nights of the last ten days of Ramadan. (al-Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmad)The least thing that should be done in that night is to pray 'Ishaa' and Fajr in Jamaa 'ah (collectively). Prayer, recitation of the Quran and supplication are highly recommended acts of devotion. One of the recommended Du'aa in that night is to say :ALLHUMMA INNAKA 'AFU-WON TUHIBBUL- 'AFWA FA 'FU 'ANNEE"O Allah! You are Forgiver who loves to forgive so forgive me." (al-Tirmidhi)B. I'tikaaf'Aaishah (RA) reported that "the Prophet (PBUH) used to be in I'itkaaf during the last ten days of Rainadhan." (al-Bukhaari, Muslim)I'tikaaf means devoting a specific time to be spent in the Masjid (Mosque) for worship with that intention. It can be done at any time for any duration. One may go out for his essential needs, or to bring food, but he should not get too involved in other worldly affairs. The period of I'tikaaf is spent in prayer, supplication, recitation of the Quran or study of IslamC. Za/tht-ul-MaalIt was indicated earlier that good deeds are specially and generously rewarded if done during Ramadan. As such, it is desirable (but not mandatory) to pay Zakaat-ul-Maal during Ramadan as well.
17Siyam (Fasting) (cont.) Towards Understanding Islam and Muslims12/06/2001Siyam (Fasting) (cont.)FastingRegular activityDAYNIGHTDAWNSUNSETBreak-Fast MealPre-DawnMealQur’an teaches that fasting is prescribed upon Muslims as was prescribed upon nations before them to gain piety.“Whosoever does not stop backbiting, and slander, God does not need his abstinence from food or drink” saying of prophet Muhammad.4. THE FASTEvery year in the month of Ramadan, all Muslims fast from first light until sundown, abstaining from food, drink, and sexual relations. Those who are sick, elderly, or on a journey, and women who are pregnant or nursing are permitted to break the fast and make up an equal number of days later in the year. If they are physically unable to do this, they must feed a needy person for every day missed. Children begin to fast (and to observe the prayer) from puberty, although many start earlier.Although the fast is most beneficial to the health, it is regarded principally as a method of self-purification. By cutting oneself off from worldly comforts, even for a short time, a fasting person gains true sympathy with those who go hungry as well as growth in one's spiritual life.Why Do Muslims Break Their Fast with Dates?Date Posted: Friday, October 17, 2003Dear Editor,Why is it considered healthy to break the Ramadan fast with dates, and why are Muslims recommended to pray before iftar? – S.H.Dear S.H.,Breaking the fast with dates is a Ramadan tradition, as most of its benefits are unique to this particular fast. Breaking one’s fast with dates, as well as praying before iftar, are both mentioned in the Hadith literature: "The Messenger of Allah would break his fast with ripe dates before he would pray. If those were not available, he would eat dried dates. If those were not available, he would drink some water.”One of the many physical benefits of breaking the fast with dates is that our body benefits from the date’s high level of natural sugars. Sugars travel most quickly to the liver, where they are converted into energy more quickly than any other nutrient. Muslims have an immediate need for this energy when they break their fast, for they need energy to perform their sunset prayers. Ironically, one also needs this energy to consume the iftar meal. When a person eats, the body uses energy to digest the food. Eating large quantities of food immediately after fasting is not healthy for the body, which is in a weakened condition. Eating a date first helps the body start its digestive process and gives it the energy to deal with the secondary, more complex foods, eaten during ifta.Dates are also high in vitamins A and B6, folic acid, potassium, natural sodium, iron, and magnesium. Thus, eating dates daily during Ramadan is like taking a daily multivitamin. This daily multivitamin can create a stronger and healthier body, one more fit for fasting. Dates also contain large amounts of dietary fiber, which can prevent any constipation that might result from eating the traditionally rich foods served during Ramadan. Additionally, dates protect the stomach and intestinal tract from parasites and bacteria, and thus is a good preventative medicine when eating iftar at unfamiliar locations.Dates also have a special place in Islam. In fact, they were one of the Prophet’s (SAW) most frequently consumed foods. For this reason, their benefit is most likely spiritual as well as physical. If their benefit were purely physical, one could perhaps consume any fruit high in natural sugars before iftar to gain similar benefits. However, the act of following the Prophet’s (SAW) tradition is one way of connecting and remembering him, which is spiritually beneficial for Muslims.One should pray after eating dates and before eating the main meal, because this short break gives the body time to metabolize the dates and water that have been consumed and to start the body’s digestive processes, which have been resting all day. Eating large amounts of food immediately after breaking the fast resembles starting a car and the driving it without giving it enough time to warm up. As we know, this can damage the engine’s internal mechanics.The same is true with the body, for jumpstarting the body’s digestive processes can shock the entire organ system. In some cases, this shock could be dangerous. In most cases, however, it is simply an unhealthy way to break the fast. The immediate dangers are apparent in the increased need to sleep after the iftar. This sleepy feeling comes about because the body has expended so much energy on the digestive system that it needs to lower its other bodily functions in order to perform its digestive duties properly. Over time, this habit can cause long-term damage to the body.Rules of SiyamBy Sheikh Muhammad Al-HanootiThere are two essential requirements for one's fast to be accepted: First, to have the intention to fast for the sake of Allah ta'ala only. The intention need not be expressed out loud. It is sufficient to make the intention in one's heart any time of the day as long as nothing has been consumed. Second, to abstain from food, drink, and sexual intercourse, from sunrise to sunset.If a person eats or drinks or has forgotten he is fasting, he is not obligated to expiate or re-fast that day because, "Allah has fed him or given him drink," (Bokhari)A woman is not allowed to fast during her period or nifas (post-partum bleeding), but she must re-fast those days later. A sick person has the right not to fast and will re-fast when he recovers. If his sickness is chronic, then he need not re-fast, nor expiate for those days.A traveler has the right to break fast and must make up the days when he returns to his residence.The elderly who cannot fast are exempt and are not required to expiate for those missed days.There are same people who could be forced to break fast because of severe dehydration or starvation as a consequence of outdoor work. They are not required to make up the days not fasted, according to Ibn Hazm (Al-Muhalla: The Book of Siyam).A pregnant or nursing woman who is advised by a physician not to fast, need not fast, nor are they required to re-fast or expiate for the missing days (Malik Ibn Hazm)A Muslim is recommended, as a matter of sunnah, to delay the suhoor until the last moments before dawn; likewise, he takes iftar as soon as the sunsets.While fasting, behavior should be modified to ensure avoiding any empty talk, backbiting, cursing or other sinful actions. The Prophet (SAWS) says, "Whoever does not give up forged speech and evil actions, Allah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink." (Al-Bukhari). Married people can enjoy some aspects of intimacy, such as kissing, but must avoid any stimulating act, which might lead them into intercourse or ejaculation. Sleeping most of the day while fasting is not an appropriate way to observe the fast. One should stay awake and alert to feel the effects of fasting and to engage in remembrance of Allah.It is recommend to maintain normal oral hygiene and fresh breath by using a toothbrush and toothpaste, rinsing the mouth thoroughly. Swimming and diving is lawful and any water accidentally ingested is forgiven. Eye drops, and injections or anything that enters the body through inlets other than the mouth are halal. If a person eats or drinks, mistaking the time, he is forgiven and his fast is not broken.What breaks fasting? Eating, drinking or sexual intercourse. For the person who engages in sexual intercourse, the expiation is to fast two consecutive months. If he cannot do this, then he should feed 60 needy persons one meal each. However, those who eat or drink deliberately, cannot make up their broken fast through re-fasting or expiation. The only hope of forgiveness for this sin is tawba and istaghfar.Community Iftar (Break-Fast Meal)
18Qiyam (Night Prayer) Regular activity Time of Qiyam QIYAM: QAM: Stand FastingFastingDAYNIGHTSUNSETDAWNBreak-Fast MealTime of QiyamPre-DawnMealVoluntary (Qiyam) Night PrayersQIYAM: QAM: Stand“Verily, the rising by night is very hard and most potent and good for governing oneself, and most suitable for (understanding) the Word (of Allah)” Qur’an 73:6
19Towards Understanding Islam and Muslims 12/06/2001Aitikaf (Seclusion)AITIKAF:AKF: Sticking to something and holding oneself on/within itStaying in the Mosque or Mesjid (place of prostration) with the intention to getting closer to GodIn Columbus, Ohio, a Moroccan computer science student at Ohio State finds a quiet spot to read the Koran while waiting for evening prayer at the Omar Ibn Kahttab mosque. (AP/WWP)
20Aitikaf (Seclusion)Last ten days of Ramadan during which falls the night the Qur’an was first revelation to Prophet MuhammadThe Night of Decree/Power/Fate (Laylatu Al-Qadr)Muslim worshippers study at the Islamic Cultural Center of New York.(Jeff Christensen/REUTERS/TimePix)
21The Night of Decree/Power/Fate (Laylatu Al-Qadr) Towards Understanding Islam and Muslims12/06/2001The Night of Decree/Power/Fate (Laylatu Al-Qadr)In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the MercifulWe have indeed revealed this (Message) in the Night of Power:And what will explain to thee what the night of power is?The Night of Power is better than a thousand months.Therein come down the angels and the Spirit by Allah.s permission, on every errand:Peace!...This until the rise of morn!Thousand months = 83 years and 4 monthsQur’an 97
22Qur’an The First Source of Islam Towards Understanding Islam and Muslims12/06/2001Qur’an The First Source of Islam114 Chapters (Suras)Each with a title, and start with “In the Name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful” (113)Not one word has changed over the centuriesRevealed over 23 yearsFirst verses reveled in one of the last nights of Ramadan (Lailatul-Qadr)The exact words revealedby God through the Angel Gabriel to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)Memorized by MillionsWHAT IS THE QUR'AN?For Muslims, the Qur'an is a record of the exact words revealed by God through the Angel Gabriel to the Prophet Muhammad during the twenty-three-year period of his prophetic mission. It was memorized by Muhammad and then dictated to his Companions, and written down by scribes, who cross-checked it during his lifetime. Not one word of its 114 chapters, Suras, has been changed over the centuries, so that the Qur'an is in every detail the unique and miraculous text which was revealed to Muhammad fourteen centuries ago.WHAT IS THE QUR'AN ABOUT?The Qur'an, the last revealed Word of God, is the prime source of every Muslim's faith and practice. It deals with all the subjects which concern us as human beings: wisdom, doctrine, worship, and law, but its basic theme is the relationship between God and His creatures. At the same time it provides guidelines for a just society, proper human conduct and an equitable economic system. First revealed verses were "Read in the name of your Lord Who created. He created man from a clot. Read and your Lord is Most Honorable, Who taught (to write) with the pen, Taught man what he knew not..." Holy Qur'an (96:1-5)Throughout all its chapters and verses, the Qur'an emphasizes the significance of knowledge and encourages Muslims to learn and to acquire knowledge not only of God's laws and religious injunctions, but also of the world of nature. The Qur'an refers, in a language rich in its varied terminology, to the importance of seeing, contemplating, and reasoning about the world of creation and its diverse phenomena. It places the gaining of knowledge as the highest religious activity. That is why wherever the message of the Qur'an was accepted and understood, the quest for knowledge flourished.Relationship between God and His creation – Allah is talks about himself and his attribute, role of man on earth, course to take, and man’s freedom of choice in selecting the course of life, and the resulting consequence from deviation from that course.The five domains of the quranic text are:The oneness of GodThe universe is a sign for its creatorStories: History LessonsResurrection and accountabilityEducation and Legislation
23Towards Understanding Islam and Muslims 12/06/2001The Qur’anIts basic theme is the relationship between God and His creaturesIt provides guidelines for a just society, proper human conduct and an equitable economic systemWHAT IS THE QUR'AN?For Muslims, the Qur'an is a record of the exact words revealed by God through the Angel Gabriel to the Prophet Muhammad during the twenty-three-year period of his prophetic mission. It was memorized by Muhammad and then dictated to his Companions, and written down by scribes, who cross-checked it during his lifetime. Not one word of its chapters, Suras, has been changed over the centuries, so that the Qur'an is in every detail the unique and miraculous text which was revealed to Muhammad fourteen centuries ago.WHAT IS THE QUR'AN ABOUT?The Qur'an, the last revealed Word of God, is the prime source of every Muslim's faith and practice. It deals with all the subjects which concern us as human beings: wisdom, doctrine, worship, and law, but its basic theme is the relationship between God and His creatures. At the same time it provides guidelines for a just society, proper human conduct and an equitable economic system. First revealed verses were "Read in the name of your Lord Who created. He created man from a clot. Read and your Lord is Most Honorable, Who taught (to write) with the pen, Taught man what he knew not..." Holy Qur'an (96:1-5)Throughout all its chapters and verses, the Qur'an emphasizes the significance of knowledge and encourages Muslims to learn and to acquire knowledge not only of God's laws and religious injunctions, but also of the world of nature. The Qur'an refers, in a language rich in its varied terminology, to the importance of seeing, contemplating, and reasoning about the world of creation and its diverse phenomena. It places the gaining of knowledge as the highest religious activity. That is why wherever the message of the Qur'an was accepted and understood, the quest for knowledge flourished.Copy of the Qur’an of Caliph Uthman, kept in Tashkent
24End of Ramadan 1. Alms Giving (Zakatu Al-Fitr) Towards Understanding Islam and Muslims12/06/2001End of Ramadan 1. Alms Giving (Zakatu Al-Fitr)Charity of breaking the Fast (Zakatu Al-Fitr)Alms given prior to the end of the month of Ramadan to the needyNormally given in grain or the food of the localityIt is different than one pays on wealthEveryone must payWay of sharing the blessingsZakatul-Fitr is a special alms given prior to the end of the month of Ramadan to the needy so they can enjoy the Eid holiday. It is normally given in grain or the food of the locality to make sure the receiver has something to eat on Eid day. It is different than the zakat one pays on their wealth. Everyone must pay Zakatul-Fitr and it is even paid on behalf of infants and newborn babies. It is a nice way of sharing the blessings of Ramadan and the Eid and thanking ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, for granting us the observance of the blessed month of Ramadan. As with the zakat on wealth, it is preferable that the giver personally deliver the goods to the receiver.The wisdom behind this obligation is, among other things, to extend a benevolent helping hand to needy Muslims so that they will not have to beg from their fellow wealthier believers on this happiest occasion of the year in a Muslim's life - Ramadan fast culminates with the festivity of `Eid Prayer. On the other hand, it helps the faster cleanse his fast from any shortcoming, or un-Islamic act during Ramadan. It is also to express gratitude to Allah for helping the servant live through another Ramadan. In a hadith reported by Ibn Abbas (raa) he said: "The Messenger of Allah (saas) has mandated the obligation of fast breaking alms as a cleanser of the faster from (what one may have done) mistakes or obscene acts, and to provide for the poor. Whoever gives it before `Eid prayer, it is an accepted alms, but whoever gives it after Eid prayer, it is only a charity like any ordinary charity." (Abu Dawud)
25End of Ramadan 2. Prayer and Sermon (SalatulEid and Khutba) Towards Understanding Islam and Muslims12/06/2001End of Ramadan 2. Prayer and Sermon (SalatulEid and Khutba)Eid prayer is strongly recommended and an important tradition in Islam: men, women and children participate.Self Preparation for 'Id PrayerIt is a time for everyone to be in their best appearanceThere is also a tradition that one should eat something, preferably dates, before going to the Eid al-Fitr prayerTime:The time for the Eid prayer is mid-morningFollowed by a community sermon or khutbaPlace:It is better to hold 'Id prayers in an open place or ground if there is no obstacle like rain or bad weather.Srinagar, Dec. 17. (PTI): Eid-ul-Fitr, marking the end of the fasting month of Ramzan, was celebrated throughout Kashmir valley with religious fervour and gaiety today.Egyptian women decorate their daughters with ballons after peforming morning prayers of Eid al-Fitr, the end of the Islamic month of Ramadan. Photo: AP/Wide WorldEid al-Fitr is the day of celebration that marks the end of Ramadan. Muslims visit family members, enjoy special meals together and wear new clothes. Children receive gifts of money from their relatives. Amusement rides for children are set up in the streets, and people watch fireworks at night. Officially, the celebration lasts for three days, but if it falls in the middle of the week, shops and schools may stay closed for the entire week.Eid Prayer -Kashmir
26End of Ramadan 3. Feast (Eidu Al-Fitr) Egyptian women decorate their daughters with balloons after performing morning prayers of Eid al-Fitr, the end of the Islamic month of Ramadan.Celebration that marks the end of Ramadan.Visit family membersEnjoy meals togetherWear new clothesChildren receive gifts from relativesAmusement rides for children are set up in the streetsEid Celebration – Amusement Ride Damascus
27End of Ramadan in America 4. Feast (Edu Al-Fitr) cont. Towards Understanding Islam and Muslims12/06/2001End of Ramadan in America 4. Feast (Edu Al-Fitr) cont.The holy day of Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan. Members of the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn, Michigan, celebrate the day with prayers. (AP/WWP)"Eid mubarak," or "May your religious holiday be blessed," is the message on the Eid stamp, honoring the two important Muslim festivals. The U.S. Postal Service issued the stamp on September 1, 2001, at the annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America. (Photo by REUTERS/TimePix)The new Eid stamp features in Arabic the phrase "Eid mubarak" written in gold against a blue background and in English it has the words "Eid Greetings." The phrase Eid mubarak translates from Arabic as "blessed festival." The stamp will be available to the public in October 2001, in time for next year's holiday celebration.The stamp showcases the beautiful art of Islamic calligraphy and was designed by internationally renowned American-born Islamic calligrapher Mohamed Zakariya. Zakariya, 57, studied calligraphy after he converted from Christianity to Islam and has since become one of the most accomplished Islamic calligraphers in the United States. He began his study of Islamic calligraphy with A.S. Ali Nour in Tangier and London in 1964 and was invited in 1984 to study at the Research Center for Islamic History, Art, and Culture in Istanbul, Turkey. He was the first American to receive an "icazet" or diploma from the Research Center for Islamic History, certifying his mastery of calligraphy and his expertise in teaching this breathtaking and timeless art.The issuance of the Eid stamp in 2001 is a first and has been long in coming. Since the early 90s, American Muslim groups and individuals have lobbied to get an Eid ul-Fitr or Ramadan stamp issued that represents the Islamic faith's holiday. In 1996 hundreds of Muslim children responded to an action alert from the Council on American-Islamic Relations by sending requests for an Eid ul-Fitr stamp to the Postmaster General. According to CAIR, the postal service said it received hundreds of letters requesting the stamp.Eid-ul-Fitr original context on the page: 12/images/ htmlAmerica's Muslims Celebrate Eid al-FitrBy Laura J. Brown Washington File Staff WriterWashington -- On December 16, Muslims across the United States celebrated the end of Ramadan, a holy month of prayer and fasting. Local media covered the day of feasting and gift-giving known as Eid al-Fitr, showing that the holiday's festivities are as diverse as those who observe it.Some donned colorful African dress, while others painted their skin in intricate henna designs. For some, the traditional Eid meal featured stewed goat and rice, while for others it was egg rolls and other Asian delicacies. The sweets ranged from Egyptian cookies to a popular treat known as helwa.The Seattle Times described how Muslims of various ethnicities gathered at the Washington State Convention Center to celebrate the day. Muslims in the state include those of Arab, South Asian, Cham (from Champa, a region in Cambodia and Vietnam), Somali, Indonesian, Egyptian, Moroccan and Bosnian descent, the Times said."We have Cham mosques, Pakistani mosques, Somali mosques," said Aziz Junejo, who helped organize the convention-center gathering. "But on this particular day, they all make it a point to come to this particular prayer and to be a part of this one big community."Despite differences in ethnic backgrounds or national origins, Muslims across the nation spoke of an increased sense of solidarity with one another. Chris Aceto, president of the Islamic Society of Portland, Maine, told the Portland Press Herald that Muslims rely heavily on their strong faith and each other, especially during the tensions that followed the September 11 attacks."In tough times, a person looks for what he can fall back on," Aceto said. "In Islam, it's faith in God and community."In Los Angeles, a spokesman for the American Muslim Council said that although Sunday was a time to celebrate, it also was an opportunity to remember the September 11 terrorist attacks and the war in Afghanistan, the Los Angeles Times reported.This year, the Eid celebration is "more important, more significant," Faiz Rehman told the Times. "We came to pray for the victims and to pray for the country."An Associated Press article captured the sentiments of one Muslim in Florida as he celebrated Eid. "It's a very happy day with a very heavy heart," said Rafiq Mahdi, an imam from a Fort Lauderdale mosque. Mahdi asked worshippers to think of Muslims in areas such as Palestine and Afghanistan who might not be able to celebrate Eid.The Islamic House of Wisdom in Dearborn Heights, Michigan, overflowed with worshippers for Eid, the Associated Press reported. Those seeking comfort and reassurance at the mosque Sunday increased attendance by 20 percent compared to last year, with nearly 3,000 people attending three services that day, the news wire reported."We would have more joy on this Eid if the terrorist attacks of September 11 had never happened," Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi told the Associated Press.In Rhode Island, Donna Alqassar told the Providence Journal that it was important for Muslims to gather, as they did, "to show the world we're God-fearing people and these people who claim to be Islamic aren't really practicing the faith."On the September 11 terrorist attacks, Alqassar commented, "The only good thing that came out of this event is there's been more awareness about what Islam is, and what it is not."President Bush marked the end of Ramadan by a White House ceremony December 17 with 20 Muslim children and their families from the Washington area. Thanking his guests for visiting during the special Eid celebration, Bush remarked, "It reminds us how much we all have in common, how similar boys and girls are, no matter what their religion may be. And your joy during this season enriches the life of our great country."Eid Celebration – Eid StampUSAPresident George W. Bush takes a small break to hear what Alexandria Hudome, 3, has to say as he reads a poem to Muslim children during Eid Al-Fitr at the White House December 17, 2001
28Towards Understanding Islam and Muslims 12/06/2001ConclusionRamadan is the ninth month in the Islamic Lunar CalendarDuring RamadanMuslims perform Siyam (Fasting), the third pillar of Islam is performedQur’an was revealedMonth to renew the spiritual and self disciplinary aspects through extra prayers at night, reciting the Qur’an, contemplation, acts of charity, and socialization
29References“The Nobel Qur’an”, Translations of the meanings by Yousef Ali, Picthal, and Shaker.“Fiqh as-Sunna”, As-Sayyed SabiqIslam in Your Life – Spirituality“Fasting & Ramadan”, Dr. Jamal Badawi“Rules of Siyam”, Sheikh Muhammad Al-Hanooti“Ramadan, The Blessed Month”, Sheikh Muhammad Al-HanootiWhy Do Muslims Break Their Fast with Dates?“Seize the Ramadan Opportunity”, Safa Alshiraida