What is the Fast of the Month of Ramadan?

O Believers!  Fast is prescribed for you as it was for those before you so that you may ward off evil. (Fast) a certain number of days…

(Qur’an: Chapter 2, Verses 182-183) 

Every year in the ninth lunar month of the Islamic calendar, Muslims around the world abstain from food, drink, vain talk and certain other actions from before sunrise until after sunset.

 Fasting is prescribed in the Abrahamic faiths 

The Jewish, Christian and Muslim religions all enjoin fasting.  Moses observed a fast of forty days at Mount Sinai at the time of the revelation of the Ten Commandments. (Exodus 24:18)  Although less common now, it is Jewish tradition to fast when mourning or when in danger.  Most practicing Jews still fast on the Day of Atonement and for the one-week commemoration of the destruction of Jerusalem in 597 B.C.   Jesus of Nazareth, peace be upon him, also fasted on the Day of Atonement and the forty days of Moses’ fast to ward off Satanic temptation.

  “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.  After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.” (Matthew 4:2) 

Many Christians observe a forty-day pre-Easter fast, although now it includes abstention from only certain food items rather than all food and drink. Muslims fast the month of Ramadan and may, optionally, fast on most other days of the year. The One God prescribes fasting for the faithful; and it has many benefits.  Material pleasures can be generalized into food and drink, sexual pleasures, and vanity.  Fasting requires abstaining from these, going against the natural instinct of Man to observe the commandment of God. This builds and strengthens a person’s self-control, nearing them to their Creator.  Other benefits of fasting include:

 q  Fasting instills patience, teaches self control and discipline. 

q  Fasting increases compassion for the less fortunate. 

q  Fasting builds focus on spirituality and deminishes focus on materialism.  

q  Fasting has many health benefits. 

q  Fasting can be atonement for sin and can earn great reward. 

q  Fasting is part of a strong spiritual and physical renewal plan. 

q  Fasting commemorates important sacred religious events. 

The Muslim fast of the month of Ramadan is a continuation of the long history of fasting in the Abrahamic faiths.  The self-improvement benefits of fasting make it an important means of improving one’s faith and practice of religion.  

“And men who fast and women who fast…God has prepared for them forgiveness and a vast reward.”

( Qur’an 33:35) 

What does the fast of the month of Ramadan entail? 

In short, the fast involves abstention from all food, drink, vain talk, and sexual intercourse for married couples from the time before dawn when the sky becomes light enough to distinguish a black thread from the white thread of the horizon, until after sunset when redness leaves the Eastern half of the sky.  Some people are not to able to fast due to age, health, child-bearing conditions, etc., and instead give charity, and/or make up the days of fast they missed at a later time. However, the true spirit of the fast of the month of Ramadan is more than just abstention from a few things.  It is a time of sustained, amplified effort toward spiritual perfection. 

Thirst and hunger you undergo, feel and live through, here and now, to bring to your mind the severity and sharpness of the drought and starvation that will be the order of the day on the Day of Judgment.  

q  Give alms to the poor and destitute.

q  Treat your parents and elders with respect.

q  Be kind and loving to your children and juniors.

q  Take care of and look after your relatives.

q  Keep from giving tongue to that which should not even be whispered.

q  Shut your eyes to that which is indecent to have an eye for.

q  Turn a deaf ear to that which is too slanderous to be all ears to.

q  Be compassionate, gentle and benign unto orphans so that after you, your children, if need be, receive the same treatment from others.

q  Turn repentant to God and seek His nearness.”     

  Holy Prophet, peace be upon him and his family 

In addition to fasting and aiming for excellent moral character, Muslims devote as much time and energy as possible in the month of Ramadan toward prayer and supplication to the One and Only God.  During some of the nights of this month, Muslims will remain awake the whole night in worship.   After the last day of the month of Ramadan, Muslims celebrate Eid ul Fitr to commemorate the completion of the fast.  They get together for prayer, food, and modest gift exchange (particularly for children).  However, it is a day of mixed feelings, because the most blessed month of Ramadan with all of its opportunities for forgiveness and reward are gone for another year.

“I take refuge with Thy kindest disposition, O Lord, lest the dawn of this night breaks forth, or the month of Ramadan comes to an end, and I still stand as an accused (unforgiven) sinner, liable to be punished, on the Day I am presented before Thee.”

[From a prayer of the last night of the month of Ramadan, taught by Imam Jafar as-Sadiq, peace be upon him]

 

Why is fasting prescribed particularly in the month of Ramadan for Muslims?

 

The month of Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic lunar calendar.  Since a lunar year is about a week and a half shorter than a solar year, the month of Ramadan cycles backward through the seasons.  It is a sacred month because God ordained it for the revelation of sacred texts.  Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq quotes the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him and his family, as saying,

 

 “The Books of Abraham were revealed on the first night of the month of Ramadan; the Torah was revealed on the sixth of the month of Ramadan; the Gospel was revealed on the thirteenth of the month of Ramadan . . ., and the Holy Qur’an on the twenty-third of the month of Ramadan.”

 

 It is also considered sacred because it contains the Night of Power (Laylatul Qadr).  “Qadr” literally means destiny, and on this night God determines each and every event to occur during the next year to any and all of His creation. Imam as-Sadiq, peace be upon him, informs us that, 

“During Laylatul Qadr, the angels, the spirit, and the trusted scribes all descend to the lower heavens and write down whatever God decrees that year, and if God wishes to advance something or postpone it or add thereto, He orders the angel to erase it and replace it with whatever He decrees.” 

 

The Holy Prophet of Islam, peace be upon him and his family, tells us about the great blessings of the month of Ramadan.

 

 “[The month of Ramadan is] overflowing with advantages, merciful, ready to put up your sins of omission and commission to God for obtaining his forgiveness.  Its days, nights and hours, in the estimation of God, are more select, refined and important than the days, nights and hours of other months.  It surpasses all months in merits and favors.…. So, sincerely, free from evil and sinful thoughts and actions, with clear conscience, pray and request that God may give you heart and confidence to observe fast… throughout this month..” 

Conclusion: Muslims observe fast, as in any act of devotion, to seek nearness to God, seek His pleasure and Forgiveness, and generate a spirit of piety in Man.  Fasting in this month honors the revelation of God’s word and purifies one in preparation for the night of decrees and in hope of forgiveness. Fasting is a yearly spiritual renewal, given abundant reward in this month of God’s Mercy that is part of the Islamic path to the ideal self.  

To find out more about Islam, visit: http://al-islam.org/faq/

FAQ’s

1. What is the month of Ramadan? (the Islamic lunar month of fasting)

2. Why is this month important for Muslims? (Because it is believed by Muslims to be the month in which the first verses of the Quran were revealed to Prophet Muhammad & Allah himself has made this month as beneficial by showering with N’ number of bounties)

3. What does fasting mean? ( Fast involves abstention from all food, drink, vain talk, and sexual intercourse for married couples from the time before dawn till sun set)

4. At what age does fasting become a requirement for Muslims? (Puberty)

5. Explain the terms SAWM, SUHOOR, IFTAR. (Sawm = fasting, Suhoor = pre-dawn breakfast meal, Iftar = meal at the end of the daily fast)

6. What are the benefits of fasting? (Many… but fews as to feel compassion for the poor and underprivileged, to build a sense of self-control, and to purify the body and the soul)

7. What marks the end of Ramadan? (Eid al-Fitr holiday)

8. How do Muslims finish off the month of Ramadan? (By seeing the crescent of moon of the next month & celebrating the Eid’ul Fitr)

 

 

 

Self Accounting

 Self Accounting Excel sheet >> self-accountings.pdf

This is just a sample file you can use it as it is or you can add/delete as per your requirements.

The other important deeds of this night is self scrutinizing, and it would be so much better and desirable that at the end of the month, the fast observing believer should audit his investment and profit, exactly like two partners who scrutinize their investments and gains at the end of the day. He should look at his investment, i.e., age, faith, blessings and illuminations of the Holy Month of Ramadhan and should find out whether at the end of the month his faith in Allah, (the Glorious, the Exalted), the Holy Prophet [s], and religion has increased or not ? He should think how are his ethics and his spiritual condition?

He should think whether the Holy Month of Ramadhan has contributed towards the improvement, perfection and maturity of ethics, and affairs like fear, hope, patience, asceticism, Allah’s remembrance, enlightenment, love, reliance, surrender, consent, Monotheism, heart’s wideness, spiritual contemplation of hidden realities, acceptance of calamities, keeping secrets, detachment from the world, and attachment towards the Hereafter, etc., or not? He should think how are his deeds and character? Has he taken steps towards their betterment? Has he increased his efforts for their correct religious performance ? Especially, he should review his tongue’s actions, and should think whether its sins like lying, speaking nonsense, back-biting, accusation, obscenity and ill-speaking have decreased or not? If after this scrutiny he discovered that his heart’s affairs are still like before, and no step forward has been taken for their betterment, he should realize that he has not been benefited from this esteemed month and its bounties, the way he should have been. That his undesirable and unjust actions have closed the path for the illumination and blessings of this Holy Month, thus, making him deprived from its benefits. Otherwise, it is not possible that illuminations and bounties of this month, especially, the blessing of the Night of Power (Lailatul-Qadr) as well as illumination and bounties of prayers and supplications do not leave any influence upon his actions and affairs. Some one like this should feel sorry for his loss, and from this fear, lest the saying of the Holy Prophet [s], that: “Whoever passes the Holy Month of Ramadhan without his being pardoned, then there do not exist any pardon for him”, might be valid for him.

Therefore, he should arise for his reform, should seek refuge in Allah (the Glorious, the Exalted), should beseech Him for help, should All stretch his hands towards the threshold of His generosity, with his tongue and from the profundities of his heart must cry:

“Or, Who listens to the (soul) distressed when it calls on Him, and who relieves its suffering.”

– Holy Qur’an (27:62)

He must honestly and sincerely lament upon his sorry state of affairs, from the profundities of his soul and mobilizing his entire existence must cry:

“There is no god save Thee, be Thou glorified, Lo! I have been a wrong doer.”

– Holy Qur’an (21:87)

His condition should be such that shame and degradation of wrongdoers, anxiety and fear of sinners should be apparent upon his face. He must request for forgiveness and pardon with the degree of anxiety in proportion to the magnitude of his sins and the calamity inflicted upon him. If Allah forbid, his lazy and deviated self prevents him from offering repentance, at least, his case should not be worst than Satan’s; acting exactly in the same manner as he besought Allah (the Glorious, the Exalted), and also accomplished his objective – i.e., not to be disappointed from His kindness and generosity, not remaining negligent, in spite of all the damages and deviations, not closing the eyes from the Lord’s magnanimity; and in summary in the last night of this month, for compensation and provision of the benefits and rewards – lost by him during the entire month – as well as for reparation of losses and damages inflicted upon, he must do whatever he can, and in this manner should prepare himself for the Day of Eid ul-Fitr – the day for presenting ourselves before Allah, (the Glorious, the Exalted) so that he should not remain empty handed from being benefited from great rewards, because indeed deprivation of them would be a tremendous loss and damage which would be irreparable.

Good Soul

Last week, a man took his children to a restaurant.THE six-year-old son asked if he could say grace.

As they bowed their heads he said, “God is good, God is great. Thank you for the food, and I would even thank you more if Mom gets us ice cream for dessert. And Liberty and justice for all! Amen!”

Along with the laughter from the other customers nearby, he heard a woman remark, “That’s what’s wrong with this country. Kids today don’t even know how to pray. Asking God for ice cream! Why, I never!”

Hearing this, the son burst into tears and asked me, “Did I do it wrong?
Is God mad at me?”

As the man held him and assured him that he had done a terrific job, and God was certainly not mad at him, an elderly gentleman approached the table.

He winked at the son and said, “I happen to know that God thought that was a great prayer.”

“Really?” the son asked.

“Cross my heart,” the man replied.

Then, in a theatrical whisper, he added (indicating the woman whose remark had started this whole thing), “Too bad she never asks God for ice cream. A little ice cream is good for the soul sometimes.”

Naturally, the man bought to kids ice cream at the end of the meal. the son stared at his for a moment, and then did something to be remembered the rest of life.

He picked up his sundae and, without a word, walked over and placed it
in front of the woman. With a big smile he told her, “Here, this is for you.

Ice cream is good for the soul sometimes; and my soul is good already.”

10 Tips for Raising Moral Children

1. Commit to Raising A Moral Child
How important is it for you to raise a moral child? It’s a crucial question to ask, because research finds that parents who feel strongly about their kids turning out morally usually succeed because they committed themselves to that effort. If you really want to raise a moral child, then make a personal commitment to raise one.

2. Be a Strong Moral Example
Parents are their children’s first and most powerful moral teachers, so make sure the moral behaviors your kids are picking up from you are ones that you want them to copy. Try to make your life a living example of good moral behavior for your child to see. Each day ask yourself: “If my child had only my behavior to watch, what example would he/she catch?” The answer is often quite telling.

3. Know Your Beliefs & Share Them
Before you can raise a moral child, you must be clear about what you believe in. Take time to think through your values then share them regularly with your child explaining why you feel the way you do. After all, your child will be hearing endless messages that counter your beliefs, so it’s essential that he/she hears about your moral standards. TV shows, movies, newspapers, and literature are filled with moral issues, so use them as opportunities to discuss your beliefs with your child.

4. Use Teachable Moments
The best teaching moments aren’t ones that are planned—they happen unexpectedly. Look for moral issues to talk about as they come up. Take advantage of those moments because they help your child develop solid moral beliefs that will help guide his behavior the rest of his life.

5. Use Discipline as a Moral Lesson
Effective discipline ensures that the child not only recognizes why her behavior was wrong but also knows what to do to make it right next time. Using the right kind of questions helps kids expand their ability to take another person’s perspective and understand the consequences of their behavior. So help your child reflect: “Was that the right thing to do? What should I do next time?” That way your child learns from his mistakes and grows morally. Remember your ultimate goal is to wean your child from your guidance so he or she acts right on his or her own.

6. Expect Moral Behavior
Studies are very clear: kids who act morally have parents who expect them to do so. It sets a standard for your child’s conduct and also lets her know in no uncertain terms what you value. Post your moral standards at home then consistently reinforce them until your child internalizes them so they become his or her rules, too.

7. Reflect on the Behaviors’ Effects
Researchers tell us one of the best moral-building practices is to point out the impact of the child’s behavior on the other person. Doing so enhances a child’s moral growth: (“See, you made her cry”) or highlight the victim’s feeling (“Now he feels bad”). The trick is to help the child really imagine what it would be like to be in the victim’s place so he or she will be more sensitive to how his or her behavior impacts others.

8. Reinforce Moral Behaviors
One of the simplest ways to help kids learn new behaviors is to reinforce them as they happen. So purposely catch your child acting morally and acknowledge his or her good behavior by describing what he or she did right and why you appreciate it.

9. Prioritize Morals Daily
Kids don’t learn how to be moral from reading about it in textbooks but from doing good deeds. Encourage your child to lend a hand to make a difference in his world, and always help him or her recognize the positive effect the gesture had on the recipient. The real goal is for kids to become less and less dependent on adult guidance by incorporating moral principles into their daily lives and making them their own. That can happen only if parents emphasize the importance of the virtues over and over and their kids repeatedly practice those moral behaviors.

10. Incorporate the Golden Rule
Teach your child the Golden Rule that has guided many civilizations for centuries, “Treat others as you want to be treated.” Remind him or her to ask himself before acting, Would I want someone to treat me like that? It helps him or her think about his behavior and its consequences on others. Make the rule become your family’s over-arching moral principal 

Perplexion about Moon sighting

Please find the presentation forwarded by one of the brother to make more clear picture on Sighting of Moon, Fasting, Eid  & why there is a differences in the same.

 

Alhamdolilah!!  We should try to thank the brother/sister who has done this & tried to make it more clear/transparent the issue of moon sighting.

Attachment: fasting-l5-moon-1.ppt 

Miracle of QURAN

Please see the nicely presented the Miracles of the Holy Quran in the Power point.

Click here for downloading >> subhanallah.pps

.

.

Struggle

Maggie wasn’t rich like a millionaire or poor in a manner of being homeless. She was living an average comfortable life. It was made even better when a beautiful baby girl came her way. She and her husband made sure their daughter had her needs met and they were still able to take a yearly vacation by the beach.

Maggie was a partner in her husband’s business. They both had a different set of duties which kept everything in balance. One day a devastating blow came to her husband’s business, and over a three year period the business dropped out of site. Her husband had to totally reinvent himself and was yearning to fulfill a dream with a new vocation. She was happy for him and supported him fully, but still the money was not coming in.

Maggie began to feel guilty that she wasn’t contributing with any kind of income. It had been a long time since she had worked outside the home and had to work for someone else. Needless to say she was scared but still had faith that everything would be okay. She began job hunting and found filling out applications somewhat difficult, especially the part asking for job references. Keep in mind that she was self-employed with her husband for almost 20 years. It felt as though that didn’t count for anything as she was never called for an interview.At the time she was job hunting her mom became more ill than she had been and ended up in the hospital for a week. Once Maggie’s mom returned home she became her mom’s helper one day a week. She did the shopping, changed sheets, vacuumed and did other things that her mother was not able to do anymore. Of course her mom would pay her for her time and labor but she still felt she needed to find another source of income.One of the first applications she had filled out finally came through. She passed the interview with flying colors and was told she was “exactly” what they were looking for. Although it was only part time it was exactly what she wanted. It was important for her to be home when her daughter arrived home from school. She was told they would be in touch when the schedule was ready. Knowing she had the job made her feel contented and productive again.Within a few weeks though, she received an e-mail saying that the company had changed the job into a full time position and she was not qualified. Maggie was devastated. She felt betrayed and felt she had been lied to. That evening she was alone as her husband and daughter had gone out for the night. She welcomed the aloneness and wanted to drown her sorrows in a hot tub of bubbles.As she knew she would, she began to cry, softly at first just from the sheer pain of being rejected. Three long years of struggle had finally caught up with her. Then she became angry; angry at everything from the circumstances that got her there, to God himself. She cried harder and yelled, “What do you want me to do?” She really felt that God had abandoned her.

When she was able to cry no more, she became exhausted and gave up. It was at that moment that a silent idea came to her to offer other elderly people home care assistance.

Using another talent for computers she printed off some flyers and cards and distributed them to her church, grocery stores and even placed a small ad in the newspaper. Within a week she had procured two new clients.

Now, even though she’s not a CEO of a major company or a power player she feels happy and productive again. So, had God really abandoned her? Let’s look at nature for the lessons and the answer.

Before a butterfly can emerge out of it’s chrysalis it has to go through a lot of struggling. Yes, struggling. Each time it lunges out to escape, acids are being removed from its wings. If someone were to come along and break the chrysalis open for it then the butterfly would die from those acids. In essence the struggle is necessary for the butterfly to survive. Then in the stillness, when the struggle is over, the butterfly can come out and share its beauty with the world.

We as humans are not any different. There are times that we need to struggle, to rid ourselves of the acids that make up sadness, fear, and anger. It is only at this time when we are exhausted and still that we begin to hear the Universe whisper to us.  

ISLAMIC EQUALITY AND FAIRPLAY IN PRACTICE

It was during the times when Hazrat Ali (A.S.) was the caliph of the Muslim Ummah. One day accompanied by his slave Qamber, he went to the cloth bazaar in Kufa. They stopped at one shop, and Ali (A.S.) requested to see some clothes. The shopkeeper recognized him and said “Oh Ameer-al- Mu’mineen! (Master of the faithful) I have and can offer you what you want.”

On noticing that he had already been recognized, Hazrat Ali (A.S.) withdrew from that shop without any deal.

Both then proceeded and stopped at another shop run by a young man. From him Hazrat Ali (A.S.) purchased two clothes, one costing three dirham and the other two. He gave the more expensive one of three dirhams to Qamber and retained the cheaper one of lower quality for himself. On seeing this, Qamber objected saying that the better quality cloth would befit him better since Ali (A.S.) was going on the pulpit to deliver Khutbas (sermons). To this Ali (A.S.) argued that the better grade cloth should be worn by Qamber who was younger and was more desirous of attractions. Besides, Ali (A.S.) added, that he had heard the Prophet recommending to them to clothe and feed their slaves the same way as they did for themselves.

From this story, three things are noteworthy:

1. That those in high posts in government should be careful not to take advantage of their positions in matters of personal interests. At if Hazrat Ali (A.S.) by withdrawing from that first shopkeeper wanted to convey to him that the one who desired to purchase cloth was not the Caliph of the country but Ali bin Abi Talib in his personal capacity. The shopkeeper addressed him as Amir-al-Mu’mineen hence he went away without making a deal.

2. The Islamic Shariah has prescribed special and equitable rights for slaves who must receive consideration as human beings. Hence Hazrat Ali (A.S.) was putting this teaching into practice and setting an invaluable example.

3. That Islam has given consideration within limits to the natural desire of younger people to make themselves attractive. In giving better cloth to Qambar, Hazrat Ali (A.S.) wanted to make him feel happy.

Were men of high positions in public institutions today to serve the interests of the people only without misusing their positions for personal gains, people would enjoy better prosperity and peace in the world.

ALLAH IS THE GUIDE FOR EVERY CREATURE

Hamid had an inquisitive mind and was fond of learning all about wild life, how they lived and behaved. He used to obtain different books on animals and keenly study them. This hobby induced him to go out to the woods in order to observe animals in their natural surroundings.

One day he accompanied his friend Abdul, Professor of Zoology and expert on animal life, to a nearby lake. They strolled on the shore and came over to see storks, with their long legs, calmly standing in the water to snap up passing fish with their long beaks. Storks thrive on fish. One of them forlonely stood aside, looking rather sick and unable to fly.

Both Hamid and Abdul became curious to know what was wrong with that bird. As they went nearer, the bird tried to flee, but could not do so. It had a broken leg. Lovingly they caught hold of the bird and examined its leg. They were amazed to see that its injured leg had a plaster of dry mud over it. On removing it they found the leg rather swollen. The bone was either fractured or broken.

Hamid was amazed to see this phenomenon and wanted to know more about it. Surely, someone had shown mercy to the bird and had tried to help. “Is there a doctor around here who attends to sick or injured animals?” he asked.

“No” replied Abdul. He added, “Before doctors could discover the benefit of plaster, this bird was already aware of it. It knew instinctively how to make use of mud to hold fractured or broken bone in place.” The treatment of broken and fractured bones with lime plaster is well known in medical circles as Plaster of Paris.

Professor Henry Mondoor – a wellknown Zoologist Writes in one of his books on animal life that animals have amazing ways of curing their sicknesses. It is from observing such animals that medical experts have made discoveries about curing certain maladies.

It is mentioned that when a cat catches cold or suffers from headache, it immediately tries to find a particular herb which when eaten promptly cures this sickness. If it is not available the cat lies down in one corner to take complete rest. Alternatively it finds a warm place to lie down and thus feels better and is then able to move about normally.

No wonder if it is from this experience that doctors today advise patients suffering from cold to rest at home for some days. One of the animals in the forest is a fox. it is cunning and has many enemies. It has to contend with snakes in the forest. When bitten by a snake, the fox immediately looks for a particular herb which it applies to the bitten part of its body. That herb makes in ineffective the poison from the snake-bite.

A deer in the forest normally lives in the area where water is easily available.This animal by nature swings and runs from place to place. In so doing, it sometimes develops excessive acidity which causes it to suffer from rheumatic pain. When this happens, the deer is seen to go and stand for quite a time in a particular furrow of mineral water. Today Sulphur bath or mineral water is considered a natural cure for rheumatic pains even among human beings.

Now let us ask ourselves:

Who inspires a stork to use mud plaster for its fractured leg? Who guides a cat to find a particular herb to cure its cold? Who shows a fox how to remove poison from snakebite?

On deep reflection, we shall have to admit that it is no one else but the creator

Allah who inspires them how to remedy their ills. It is HE who inspires the ways of acquiring sustenance and meet the challenges of survival in this world. On this the holy Quran says:-

“He said: Our Lord is He Who gave to everything its creation, then guided it (to its goal).” (20:50)

However, it must be remembered that it is not good to hurt animals deliberately. Islam teaches universal charity even towards animals.

%d bloggers like this: