EveR year in the month of Ramadan, all Muslims fast from first light until sundown, abstaining from food and drink. Those who are sick, elderly, or on a journey, and women who are pregnant or nursing are exempted 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.The fasting during Ramadan 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.
Also known as Ramadhan or Ramazan.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim lunar year which is celebrated from beginning to end as holy - in fact, many regard it as the holiest time of the Muslim year. The principle outward characteristic of Ramadan is that Muslims are expected to fast all day, every day. Traditionally the times of fast are marked as whenever a white thread can be distinguished from a black thread. Once those threads can no longer told apart, eating is permitted.
Fasting during Ramadan is considered one of the Five Pillars, meaning it is one of the five most basic beliefs/acts which a Muslim has to do. However, it's not accurate to say that everyone simply goes without food or water - there are quite a few rules which apply to it. For one thing, a Muslim must consciously formulate the intention to fast as part of a rite. This is to prevent fasting from becoming an empty symbol which people don't give much thought to. The full formulation reads: "to fast tomorrow to acquit my duty towards God of fasting Ramadan this year."
There are all sorts of ways in which a person can be legitimately be exempted from fasting:
People in poor health
Travelers, if the distance traveled is great
If one feeds thirty poor people each day
The status of children is actually mixed. The youngest are not expected to fast, but as they get older they gradually begin fasting for more and more of the day until they are able to go the entire day without food or water without endangering one's health.
Although travelers and menstruating women can be exempted from fasting, they are nevertheless expected to make up the same number of missed days some time later in the year after Ramadan. Thus, they fast the same number of days as everyone else, but not at the same time.
Feeding thirty poor people each day is a technical excuse for avoiding the fast which everyone must observe, but it is rare for a rich person to actually use this exemption. It would be looked up very, very badly by the rest of the community and the rich person would probably lose much too much respect for it to be worthwhile.
There are also a number of things which would not otherwise qualify as food, but which are also prohibited:
Putting drops in the eyes
Saliva leaving the mouth and then reentering
Listening to music
The theological reason for abstaining from food, water and other things is to better learn the nature of personal limitation. It is believed that knowledge cannot be acquired unless a person can first learn his or her limits - then, and only then, can the true nature of something become evident. Muslims also believe that fasting during Ramadan allows a them to purify themselves through a kind of sacrifice.
Because the Muslim calendar is lunar rather than solar, the month of Ramadan moves through the year. Thus, sometimes if falls during the winter when the days are shorter and fasting is easier but other times it falls during the summer when the days are longer and fasting is more difficult.
After the sun sets, Muslims break their fast first with a small meal and then, often, a larger meal later on in the evening. It is also common for Muslims to take a meal early in the morning before dawn, a meal known as suhur. There are musicians and others who volunteer to walk through town to wake people for this early meal.
There are a number of special days during the month of Ramadan which are considered special. They are:
Battle of Badr: This was a key battle in the year 625 CE and which occurred on the 17th of Ramadan
Retaking of Mecca: On the 19th of Ramadan in the year 630 CE it is believed that Muhammad manage to return and retake the city of Mecca from his opponents.
Deaths: A number of important deaths occurred during the month of Ramadan: Muhammad's first wife, Khadija (10th) and both Ali and the eight Shiite Imam, Ali Reza (21st).
Births: A number of important births also occurred during the month of Ramadan: Hussein (6th), who was later martyred and Ali (22nd).
Laylat al-Qadr: This literally means "the night of power," and is celebrated on one of the last ten days during the month of Ramadan, but always on an odd numbered day. Tradition holds that on this night, the prayers of a sincere and devout Muslim are sure to be answered because it is believed to be the night when the Quran was first revealed to Muhammad. Many Muslims also believe that, on this night, the tree of Paradise is shaken and the names of all those who will die in the coming year can be found on the fallen leaves.
Eid al Fitr: On this day a large feast is celebrated on the breaking of the fast of Ramadan, and is held on the first day of Shawwal, right after the month of Ramadan. Also called "Eid," on this day many elaborate dishes are served at banquet-like gatherings. Additionally, houses are decorated and gifts are exchanged.
It is possible that the obligation to fast during Ramadan comes from early injunction to fast on Ashura, the 10th day of the month of Muharram, which may have once been identical with the Jewish observance of the Day of Atonement. This obligation, however, was ended by the command to fast during Ramadan instead in the Quran verse 2:184.
The derivation of the name Ramadan is in some dispute. Many believe that it comes from the Arabic ramad, which means scorching, and is thus a reference to the idea that the fast "scorches" away human sins. Others argue that is simply means "high summer" and has no reference to the act of fasting. During pre-Islamic times the month of Ramadan was already widely celebrated as a month when Arabic tribes observed a truce from all hostilitiesRamadan: The Month of Mercy to Muslims
by Shaykh `Aa'id Abdullah al-Qarnee Mercy is a favour from Allah which He places in the hearts of whomsoever He wills. Verily, Allah will have mercy on His servants who are merciful. Allah is the Most Compassionate the Most Merciful. He loves the merciful and calls to mercy. He orders His servants to enjoin patience and mercy. A person may lack mercy for any number of reasons, among them, an abundance of sins and disobedience. They stain their hearts so much so that they ultimately blind them until their hearts become harder than stones. Allah says of the Children of Israel: 'And yet, after all this, your hearts hardened and became like rocks, or even harder' (2:74).
Allah also says about them when they opposed and rebelled against the divine law: 'Then, for having broken their solemn pledge, We rejected them and caused their hearts to harden' (5:13).
Among the things that cause a loss of mercy is arrogance with wealth and pride with riches. Allah says: 'Nay, verily, man becomes grossly overweening whenever he believes himself to be self-sufficient' (96:6-7).
The day the heart is disciplined with faith and good deeds it fills with mercy and kindness.
Another reason for the weakness of mercy is an abundance of gluttony and saturation. They give rise to contempt and recklessness. Hence the month of fasting was prescribed to crush this unruliness and ill discipline. The fasting person is naturally among the most merciful people. That is because he has tasted hunger, experienced thirst and endured hardship. His soul is, therefore, enveloped with mercy, care and gentleness for Muslims.
Mercy is something which every Muslim is required to render to his brother Muslim. It is a requirement from every responsible custodian toward those under his care. He should feel sorry for them and be lenient toward them. Prophet Muhammad sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam said: 'O Allah! Whoever was entrusted with authority over any affair of the Muslims and made it difficult for them, please make it difficult for him. And whoever was entrusted over any affair of the Muslims and was kind toward them, then be kind toward him.'
In a related hadith Allah's Messenger also said: 'Whoever oversees an affair for my nation and disappeared or abandoned them without fulfilling their needs while impoverishing them, Allah will debar him from his needs and impoverish him on the Day of Judgement.'
Mercy demands that the scholar and teacher should be gentle toward his students and lead them to the easiest and best ways to love him and benefit from his teachings. If he does this Allah will decree for him the most excellent and abounding reward. Listen to the manner in which Allah praises His Prophet sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam : 'And it was by God's grace that thou [O Prophet] didst deal gently with thy followers: for if thou hadst been harsh and hard of heart, they would indeed have broken away from thee' (3:159).
Mercy further requires from the imam that he should not make worship difficult for his followers or cause them harm. On the contrary, he should be merciful, kind and wise. The Prophet sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam said: 'Whoever from you leads the people in prayer must make it easy because among them are the old, the sick, the young and the needy.' It was narrated that when Mu'adh once extended the prayer the Prophet sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam said to him: 'Are you a troublemaker O Mu'adh? Are you a troublemaker O Mu'adh? Are you a troublemaker O Mu'adh?'
In the same manner, when Uthman ibn Abi al As al Thaqafi requested: 'O Messenger of Allah, make me an imam of my people.' The Prophet sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam said: 'You are their imam so lead the prayer according to the weakest of them and take a caller to prayer who would seek no payment for doing so.'
Mercy dictates that the one who calls to Islam must advise
those whom he is inviting with tenderness. That he should, moreover, clarify issues to them with concern. He should not hurt, defame people or even revile the disobedient in public. Allah advised Moses and Aaron to employ the following methods in their call to the tyrant Pharaoh: 'But speak unto him in a mild manner, so that he might bethink himself or [at least] be filled with apprehension' (20:44).
He also says: 'Call thou [all mankind] unto thy Sustainer's path with wisdom and goodly exhortation, and argue with them in the most kindly manner' (16:125).
The eminent jurist and Islamic scholar, Imam al Shafe'e wrote:
Support me with your advice in private, and avoid advising me in public.
Surely giving advice among the people is a kind of reproach, which I would rather not listen to.
If you disobey and ignore my wish, don't be saddened if you are not obeyed.
Mercy is required from a father to his children. This matter was previously discussed in the lesson (No. 18) on how we train our children. The mercy of the father or mother toward her children has the greatest effect on their integrity, well-being and obedience. Self-praise and harshness only open the door to despair. The Prophet sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam said: 'Kindness was never bestowed upon something except that it beautified it, and it was never removed from that thing except that it made it ugly.'
O you who fast and cause hunger to your stomach, there are thousands of stomachs more awaiting a meal. Will there not arise from among you those who would feed them? O you who fast and cause thirst to your liver, there are thousands more who await a mouthful of water. Will there not arise from among you those who would quench their thirst? O you who fast and wear the finest garments, there are naked people out there awaiting only a piece of cloth to cover their bodies. Will there not then come forth from among you those who would clothe them?
O Allah! We implore your extended mercy that will forgive our sins and erase our misdeeds and errors. http://www.rumenmahmed.webs.com/Rumenahmed@yahoo.comRUMENAHMED