Friday, July 27, 2012

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Ramadan(رمضان): What is Ramadan Month and Eid ul-Fitr.Significance of Ramadan, Fasting and Eid ul-Fitr

Ramadan is a time of praying  spiritual reflection, improvement and increased devotion & worship. Muslims want to put more effort into following the teachings of Islam and to avoid obscene and irreligious sights and sounds. Sexual intercourse among spouses is allowed after one has ended the daily fast. During fasting, intercourse is prohibited as well as eating and drinking, and resistance of all temptations is encouraged. Purity of both thoughts and actions is important. The act of fasting is said to redirect the heart away from worldly activities, its purpose being to cleanse the soul and free it from harmful impurities. Ramadan also teaches Muslims to practice self-discipline, self-control, sacrifice, and empathy for those who are less fortunate; thus encouraging actions of generosity and charity

The month of Ramadan is a guidance for mankind, and clear proofs of the guidance, and the criterion (of right and wrong). And whosoever of you is present, let him fast the month, and whosoever of you is sick or on a journey, a number of other days. Allah desires for you ease; He desires not hardship for you; and that you should complete the period, and that you should magnify Allah for having guided you, and that perhaps you may be thankful.

It  is very essential for Muslims to start fasting when they reach puberty, so long as they are healthy, sane and have no disabilities or illnesses. Exemptions to fasting are travel, menstruation, illness, older age, pregnancy, and breast-feeding. However, many Muslims with medical conditions insist on fasting to satisfy their spiritual needs, and healthcare professionals must work with their patients to reach common ground. Professionals should closely monitor individuals who decide to persist with fasting.



In Fasting there are no risks to healthy individuals. In fact, Sarah Amer, MS,  says, “The body has the incredible ability to adapt.” She reveals that it takes her only a few days of fasting to get back to her usual activity level. A team of cardiologists in the UAE found that people observing Ramadan enjoy a positive effect on their lipid profile, which means there is a reduction of cholesterol in the blood



Any food are not allowed between dawn (fajr), and sunset (maghrib). During Ramadan, Muslims are also expected to put more effort into following the teachings of Islam by refraining from violence, anger, envy, greed, lust, angry/sarcastic retorts, gossip, and are meant to try to get along with each other better than normal. All obscene and irreligious sights and sounds are to be avoided. Purity of both thought and action is important. Fasting is an act of deeply personal worship in which Muslims seek a raised level of closeness to Allah.

 Everyday before dawn, Muslims observe a pre-fast meal called Suhoor. Considering the high diversity of the global Muslim community (ummah), it is impossible to describe typical suhoor or iftaar meals. It can be anything halal - from dinner or iftar leftovers to typical breakfast foods to various ethnic food preferences. A few dates and a cup of water are usually the first foods to break the fast, while fried pastries, salads, nuts, legumes, and breads are also common. After stopping a short time before dawn, Muslims hasten to pray the first prayer of the day, the Fajr prayer



At sunset, families hasten for the fast-breaking meal known as Iftar. Considering the high diversity of the global muslim population, it is impossible to describe typical suhur or iftar meals. Suhur can be dinner, or iftar, leftovers, typical breakfast foods, or ethnic foods. Social gatherings, many times buffet style, at iftar are frequent, and traditional dishes are often highlighted. A few dates and a cup of water are usually the first foods to break the fast, while fried pastries, salads, nuts, legumes, and breads are common. Traditional desserts are often unavoidable, especially those made only during Ramadan. Water is usually the beverage of choice, but juice and milk are also consumed. Soft drinks and caffeinated beverages are consumed to a lesser extent.


In the Middle East, the Iftar meal consists of water, juices, dates, salads and appetizers, one or more entrees, and dessert. Typical entrees are "lamb stewed with wheat berries, lamb kebabs with grilled vegetables, or roast chicken served with chickpea-studded rice pilaf". A rich dessert such as baklava or kunafeh ("a buttery, syrup-sweetened kadaifi noodle pastry filled with cheese") concludes the meal.
Over time, iftar has grown into banquet festivals. This is a time of fellowship with families, friends and surrounding communities, but may also occupy larger spaces at masjid or banquet halls for 100 or more diners.


For many around the world, iftar starts with the eating of one or more (usually three) dates – as is believed that Muhammad used to do. Following that, Muslims adjourn for the Maghrib prayer, the fourth of the five daily prayers, after which the main meal is served.



Charity is very important in Islam, and even more so during Ramadan. Zakat, often translated as "the poor-rate", is obligatory as one of the pillars of Islam; a fixed percentage required to be given by those with savings. Sadaqa is voluntary charity in given above and beyond what is required from the obligation of zakat. Muslims believe that all good deeds are more handsomely rewarded in Ramadan than in any other month of the year. Consequently, many will choose this time to give a larger portion, if not all, of the zakat for which they are obligated to give.



The Muslim holiday of Eid ul-Fitr (Arabic: عيد الفطر‎, "festivity of breaking the fast"), sometimes spelled in English as Eid al-Fitr, marks the end of Ramadan and the beginning of the next lunar month called Shawwal in Arabic. This first day of the following month is declared after another crescent new moon has been sighted or the completion of 30 days of fasting if no visual sighting is possible due to weather conditions. This first day of Shawwal is called Eid ul-Fitr. Eid Ul-Fitr may also be a reference towards the festive nature of having endured the month of fasting successfully and returning to the more natural disposition (fitra) of being able to eat, drink and resume intimacy with spouses during the day.

If one does not fit into one of the exempt categories and breaks his fast out of forgetfulness, the fast is still valid. If, however, one intentionally breaks his fast, his fast is invalid and then must make up for the entire day later. If one breaks the fast intentionally or through consensual sexual intercourse, the transgressor must make up for the day by fasting for sixty consecutive days, freeing a slave or feeding sixty people in need.


Various cultural additions are mistakenly associated as part of the original celebrations arising from the time of Muhammad, as many of the forms of celebration in various cultures and countries have added. For example, no symbols of Ramadan were evident in any scholarly literature of Muhammad's lifetime, yet in some places Ramadan is met with various decorations throughout the streets.



The Ramadan, as a name for the month, is of Islamic origin. Some scholars have made claims that Ramadan existed before Islam as one of the twelve months of the Arabic lunar calendar. However, prior to Islam and the exclusion of intercalary days from the Islamic calendar, the name of the month was Natiq and the month fell in the warm season.

The first revelation to Muhammad was sent down during this month. Furthermore, Allah proclaimed to Muhammad that fasting for His Sake was not a new innovation in monotheism, but rather an obligation practiced by those truly devoted to The Oneness of Allah. One such example of those who observed fasting before Islam were the Jews who had migrated to Medinah awaiting the foretold unlettered Prophet.

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