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Assalam O Alikum, in this Holy Month of Ramadan. A time for Fasting, Families and Celebration. May Peace, Blessings and Mercy be with each of You, and ALL of us, especially at this Holy Month Ramadan and the following days. Insha Allah. Ameen. Allah O Akbar.
RAMADAN started on March 23, 2023, to April 21, 2023, depending on the appearance of the crescent moon. It is the ninth and holiest month of the Islamic, Hijri calendar. It is also believed to be the month the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH).
The QURAN actively encourages its followers to live in peace with those of other faiths. Similarly, the HADITH, a collection of sayings attributed to the Prophet Muhammad, (PBUH), calls for love and understanding towards other religions. ISLAM IS A WAY OF LIFE. Found from my 4 years Tenure, that they are 3 Keys in Islamic culture, Relationships, Patience (Sabr) and Respect which takes many years to earn, cultivate and bear fruits.
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was both a Prophet of Allah and a Statesman. His leadership was most comprehensive, compassionate, and dynamic. He was the paragon of virtue and spirituality. He was a noble and compassionate teacher, guide, and reformer. He was a family man and was also a political leader.
RAMADAN fasting for 30 or 31 days is EASY for BELIEVERS with Allah’s Blessings. Islam is the world’s second most widely practiced religion. It is also one of the fastest growing religions and today, with approximately 2 billion followers. This religion is based on the Quran, a religious text that followers of Islam believe is the direct word of God. Under Islam, Muhammad (PBUH) is considered the last Prophet of God and many believers adhere to his teachings. Followers of Islam are called Muslims.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim calendar and the holy month of fasting. It begins and ends with the appearance of the crescent moon. Because the Muslim calendar year is shorter than the Gregorian calendar year, Ramadan begins 10–12 days earlier each year, allowing it to fall in every season throughout a 33-year cycle.
Islamic tradition states that it was during Ramadan, on the “Night of Power” (Laylat al-Qadr)—commemorated on one of the last 10 nights of Ramadan, usually the 27th night—that God revealed to the Prophet Muhammad the QURAN, Islam’s holy book, “as a guidance for the people.” For Muslims, Ramadan is a period of introspection, communal prayer (ṣalāt) in the Masjid, and reading of the Quran. God forgives the past sins of those who observe the holy month with fasting, prayer, and faithful intention.
Muslims believe that Jesus Christ (called “Isa” in Arabic) was a Prophet of God and was born to a Virgin (Mary) and Muslims also believe, Jesus Christ, Isa, will return to Earth before the Day of Judgment. In Islam Jesus Christ is the Son of Maryam and is the Penultimate Prophet and Messenger. In the Quran, Jesus is described as the Messiah (al-Masīḥ), born of a Virgin, performing miracles, accompanied by disciples, rejected by the Jewish establishment, and being raised to heaven.
The History of Ramadan
Muslims and non-Muslims alike recognize Ramadan as the most significant and holy time of the Islamic calendar. During the ninth month of the lunar year, Muslims around the world refrain from eating and drinking between sunrise and sunset, and they use their free time to recite the Quran and strengthen their bond with Allah (SWT).
The Beginning of Islam
To understand how Ramadan became such an important part of Islam, we need to go back to the very beginning, 610 A.D. This is the year during which an Arabian man by the name of Muhammad (PBUH) meditated in the cave of Hira, located in the Jabal an-Nour mountain close to Mecca. Whilst he was meditating, Muhammad (PBUH) was visited by the angel Jibril who revealed the first words of what would later be known as the Quran. The angel told Muhammad (PBUH) that these words came directly from Allah (SWT) and that He is the one and only God. At this time in Arabia, it was common for people to worship several different gods, but the angel told Muhammad (PBUH) that Allah (SWT) was the only, all-knowing, true God.
After revealing the first words of Allah (SWT), the angel commanded that Muhammad (PBUH) recite what he had just been shown. Muhammad (PBUH) could not read or write, but he was able to recite the words perfectly. It was explained to Muhammad (PBUH) that he was the final of the Prophets Allah (SWT) had sent to spread the teachings of the religion of Islam. Other Prophets Allah (SWT) had sent also feature in the teachings of Judaism and Christianity and include Nuh (Noah), Ibrahim (Abraham), Musa (Moses) and Isa (Jesus).
The night the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) first saw the angel Jibril is known as Laylat al-Qadr (the Night of Power). Many Muslims believe this night occurred on the 27th night of the lunar year (which the Islamic calendar is based on), though some believe it occurred on any of the other odd nights in the final 10 days of the month.
The FIVE core values are known as the Pillars of Islam, and they are:
This is the first and arguably most important pillar because it is when a person declares belief in the one true God, Allah (SWT).
Those who follow Islam must make every effort to pray five times every day to cement dedication to Allah (SWT) and strengthen their bond with Allah.
One of Allah’s (SWT) key teachings is that Muslims must give charity to those less fortunate, known as Zakat which is 2.5 % of NET WEALTH, is the Obligation.
Ramadan is observed by Muslims to target this pillar. Ramadan is mandatory for all Muslims in good health.
Hajj: PILGRIMAGE to MECCA, Saudi Arabia
All able-bodied Muslims are expected to make at least one pilgrimage to Mecca, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the location where the first words of Allah (SWT) were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
The Origin of Ramadan
Those who believe the revelations took place over 23 years are of the firm belief that the teachings of Sawm (and subsequently Ramadan) were revealed towards the latter half of that period, in around 622 A.D. to be exact. At this time, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his followers lived in Medina after they faced fierce persecution in Mecca when they tried to spread the words of Allah (SWT).
The Teachings of Ramadan
Ramadan is observed to honor the fourth pillar of Islam, known as Sawm. As per the history of Ramadan fasting, there are several reasons why Muslims are required to observe Sawm, including:
- To demonstrate self-control and restraint
- To cleanse their bodies
- To be reminded that some people do not have access to food and go hungry every day.
- To be more compassionate and grateful for what they do have.
- To strengthen their bond with Allah (SWT)
Time spent not eating during Ramadan should be spent reciting the Quran and praying instead. In combination with the five teachings of Ramadan listed above, persons will be able to become better Muslims and better members of their wider community.
Whilst Ramadan is a key part of Islam, staying healthy is of utmost importance, and for that reason, not everyone will be able to abstain from eating and drinking during the day. Those who are pre-pubescent and growing, old and frail, sick and on medication, pregnant, breastfeeding, menstruating or travelling are NOT required to fast (they must pay Fidyah (instead) ( missed Ramadan Fasts, will need a donation to the poor and needy).
In addition to not eating between sunrise and sunset, Muslims must also refrain from all impure thoughts and activities, including swearing, gossiping, arguing, fighting and sexual contact. It is also a requirement that all Muslims with food in excess of their means make a charitable payment called Fitrana (Charitable donation of food BEFORE EID PRAYER, at end of Ramadan). This dates to the time of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), right at the start of the history of Ramadan, with those who had food beyond their means, donating food. In modern times, most Muslims pay their Fitrana as a monetary donation to a charity, which then uses the money to distribute food for the hungry. In many countries Iftar, the fast-breaking meal is provided by one or more members, for the Ramadan observers and the poor.
It is traditional for Muslims to break their fast for their Suhoor (predawn meal) , Iftar (meal after sunset during Ramadan) and Eid ul-Fitr (end of Ramadan) celebrations by eating dates. This is a custom that goes back to the very first observance of Ramadan, as it is said that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) ate dates before he broke his fast. Though it is a custom, it is not a requirement, but this is the practice in the 57 OIC and IsDB Countries.