Kareem The Generous Month to Fast
He leaves his food, drink and desires; for My sake. His fasting is only for me. I will give the reward for it & for every good deed during it, he will receive ten similar, said God to the Prophet Mohammed about the fasting Muslim.
The Fast of Ramadan
The fast during the month of Ramadan is to daily abstain from any nourishment of the body; such as food, drink, and intimate relations before the start of the call to prayer before sunrise, until it is heard for the prayer at sunset. It is also encouraged that a Muslim stays patient, kind and humble during the fast, as they should be all year round. Smoking, inhalants or medicines which will reach the nose or stomach are also not allowed. Those who are severely sick or traveling during that day are urged not to fast, but make up the day after Ramadan. Pregnant women and the elderly are not required to fast, but must make up the days missed throughout the year or feed poor individuals. Young children
are not meant to fast at all, though some like to try a few days or parts of the day. Ramadan is special because it is a challenge required of Muslims from God and is therefore faced with excited determination. A Muslim must focus on the needs of the soul rather than the body for at least a few hours a day during at least this one month. It is a time for the soul to take precedence and be allowed to thrive in its natural instincts of worship; such as remembering God, doing extra prayers, reading the Quran and giving charity. The body tires, becomes hungry, desires comfort, but a Muslim must fight these feelings to focus on the soul and a Muslim usually realizes how much they have and yet how little they need.
Ramadan as a Pillar of Islamic Faith Muslims must follow five required pillars of faith. that there is only 1- Belief one God and Prophet Mohammed is the final prophet. (Shahadtha)
during the month of 2- Fast Ramadan (Saum)
the 5 mandatory daily 3- Pray prayers (Salat Al Fard)
Sunset (Maghrib) Night (Isha) Pre-dawn (Fejr) Noon (Dhuhr) Afternoon (Aser) (see
page 4 to lean why we start with Sunset)
the pilgrimage 4- Make during the month of Hajj once in life (Hajj)
2.5% of annually ma5- Give tured savings as charity (Zakat)
The Last 10 Nights & Ramadan Prayers
During Ramadan there is a special night called Laylat Al Qadr. Nobody knows which night it is exactly, but Allah has told us it is an odd dated night within the last ten nights. This lack of knowing the precise date is possibly a way to make Muslims continue to strive harder in positive acts at the end of the month. The first Laylat Al Qadr was the night the Quran was first revealed to the Prophet Mohammed. Any positive act of faith done during this night will bring multiple rewards to the worshiper. This is why voluntary charity and acts of generosity are increased with every effort. Also during these last ten nights, at least one member of the community, but often a few will give up their regular routine to partake in itikaf; seclusion in a mosque, to focus only on worship for these days and nights. They are visited and supported by worshipers who not only attend the five regular prayers, but the taraweh; nightly prayers of Ramadan, and the Qiyam Al Layel, prayers which are stood for after a Muslim has slept and awoken for the sake of praying in the last third of any night of the year and especially done during these last ten nights of Ramadan in the mosque. The Taraweh and Qiyam Al Layl are optional prayers but very highly encouraged. The last day of fasting is announced after the night prayer on either the 29th or 30th. The Muslim feels a mixture of feelings; pride at completing a long challenge, a tinge of sadness that the regular routine of daily life will return with some challenges to worship and often a lessening of community spirit and then excitement at the coming three days of Eid Al Fitr celebrations, visiting family and enjoyment of delicacies. As there are only two truly Islamic holidays (the other being at the end of Hajj), so Muslims enjoy these occasions. However, celebrations don›t begin until the next morning, by which time Zakat Al-Fitr must have been given to the poor by means of a non-perishable, local food in the amount of at least two double hand-fulls. This ensures all will be able to eat during the days of Eid. Then the Eid prayer is performed in large special public areas set aside for the occasion, often able to hold up to the equivalent of what many mosques would hold. After this prayer the celebrations and visiting commence.
Residents of Muslim communities fast together and break fast together and Dubai is no different other than the range of nationalities and cultures of people who reside here. It is a time to build relations with neighbors, friends and even strangers, by inviting them to break the fast; a meal called Futoor or Iftar. In Dubai, the cannons can still be heard announcing the start of the sunset call to prayer, to ensure all are ready. The Dubai Police have select officers who find this traditional duty which dates back hundreds of years as a great honor. The fast is traditionally broken by all Muslims worldwide as the Prophet Mohammed did, with an odd number of dates and water. In the Emirates, a favorite pastry; Lugaymat, is often consumed at this time also. Then people go off to perform the sunset prayer and return to eat a meal which often includes favorite dishes, followed by tea and Arabic coffee. After a bit of thankfulness and relaxing it is quickly time to head to the mosque for the night prayer which is directly followed by the special prayers of Ramadan called
Taraweh. Often these prayers can last around an hour. Afterward, it is traditionally time for visiting family and friends in special tents or a Majlis families prepare on their property and all are welcome. Others do shopping for provisions, ordering clothes from tailors for the Eid Al Fitr Holiday or watching month long specials on television often reenacting parts of Islamic history. One mini series is annually written by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashed Al Maktoum - U.A.E. Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai and poet. Reading Quran during any time of the day and night is also encouraged, but after all of these activities sleep is a must. Muslims then wake up a few hours before sunrise to consume a meal called Suhur with those living in the household and a Muslim announces to God the intention to fast for the day for His pleasure. Reading Quran is encouraged until the call to prayer is heard, which also announces the start of the fast.
The Last 10 Nights & Ramadan Prayers
A Day's Fast in Dubai
Non Muslims residing in Muslim countries are not required to fast, as they may eat and drink in private, at home and even order-in throughout the day; however in public the activities forbidden to Muslims during the day must also be adhered to by all residents in a Muslim country. Other laws that exist year round are also more strictly enforced; such as dress code and behavior. However, look at Ramadan as an opportunity! Consider it an open invite to visit your Emirati neighbors for the first time, especially in the late evening or just before sunset. A plate of favorite sweets is a welcoming conversation starter in any culture as it is here. Also take the month to increase your own acts of charity, such as financial, food or clothing gifts to those less fortunate and be extra generous with some of the Muslims around you; such as security guards, car washers, valet…who would all appreciate something extra to eat or the ability to call friends and family in their home countries. Some people even like to try fasting all or part of Ramadan and are amazed by the close bonds they make with their Muslim colleagues if only by understanding what they are doing but usually it sparks new friendships and invitations to home and other special locals during Ramadan. Ramadan is as special and profound as you make it.
Your Participation in Ramadan
The 9th Lunar Month Ramadan is the ninth month of the Hijri Calendar; which is the lunar calendar Muslims follow. Hijri means, migration, and the calendar was started when the Prophet Mohammed migrated from Mecca to Medina in Saudi Arabia. To see todayâ€şs Hijri date and the number of years from which this migration occurred, check the front cover of most regional newspapers. A lunar calendar is any calendar based on the moonâ€şs cycle. A new lunar day starts and ends at sunset. A new lunar month begins when the new moon arrives with the thin crescent which is concave towards the right. The 13th, 14th and 15th days of the lunar months; when the moon is the fullest, are known to Muslims as the white days; which are days each month a Muslim is encouraged to fast voluntarily. Then the moon starts to be concave toward the left, gets slimmer and slimmer until the month comes to an end after the moonless nights finish and then the thin crescent is sighted for the first day of the next month. All people living in a Muslim country await news at night to see if the fast will begin for Ramadan during the dark nights, as people look for the thin, new crescent announcing the month of Ramadan begins and thus the fast of Ramadan. The same eager search starts again toward the end of Ramadan as we look for the next new crescent to announce Ramadan has been completed and the Eid holiday has started.
Fun Quiz Use this booklet to help you find some of the answers. 1. Ramadan is a month, day or year in the Hijri Calendar? __________ 2. What are two other cultures that use a Lunar Calendar? _____________ & ______________ 3. This Ramadan is in the Hijri year ______. 4. When I see a Muslim during Ramadan I can say: ________________________. On Eid I say ______________________ 5. I will participate in at least this way during Ramadanâ€Ś ____________________________________________
Answers 1. Month 2. japanese & chinese 3. 1430 4. Ramadan Kareem - - Eid Mubarak
Ramadan Kareem!: Generous Ramadan! (Greeting during Ramadan) Eid Mubarak!: Blessed Holiday! (Greeting said on the days of Eid) Allah : Arabic word for God Eid Al Fitr: 3 Day Holiday at end of Ramadan Iftar / Fatoor: Meal to break the fast Islam: Monotheistic Religion of Muslims Itikaf: Seclusion in a Mosque Laylat Al Qadr : Night of Power (Quran was first revealed) Masjid: Mosque Muslim: Person of Islam Qiyam Al Layl: Optional prayer after waking from sleep in last 3rd of night Ramadan: 9th month in the Hijri Calendar of Muslims Sadaqa: Voluntary Charity Salat : Prayer (Dua: personal appeal, supplication to God) Saum: Fasting by abstaining from food, drink, intimacy pre-dawn to dusk Suhur: Meal consumed before beginning the days fast Taraweh : Prayer during Ramadan after the night prayer Zakat: Required charity (Zakat Al Fitr: reqd. charity of food before Eid)
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Written for the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding By Salamah Al-Muhajira 2009 The SMCCU and author assert their rights over this work in accordance with the International Copyright, Designs and Patents Act. Photocopying and plagiarism of this work amounts to theft and is also forbidden in Islam. Info on obtaining additional copies can be sent to: smccu@ emirates.net.ae Cover Hadith Qudsi was recorded by Al-Bukhari.