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Islam: This is Ramadan

Ramadan (also Ramadhan, or Ramadaan) is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and the name “Ramadan” has been the name of the ninth month in Arabian Culture long before the arrival of Islam.

The word itself denoting intense heat,scorched ground, and shortness of rations.  In the Qur’an (known as the “Koran” in English), God (Arabic: ALLAH), proclaims that “fasting has been written down (as obligatory) upon you, as it was upon those before you.”  According to the earliest hadith (which is an appendix to the Qur’an of Muhammad’s sayings and deeds), this refers to the Jewish practice of fasting on Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement, a day of prayer for atonement and repentance).

However, this is the month when Muhammad received his initial revelation.  From the Qur’an, we have this verse.

Ramadan is the month in which was sent down the Qur’an as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (Between right and wrong).  So every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting, but if any one is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed period (Should be made up) by days later.  Allah intends every facility for you; He does not want to put to difficulties.  (He wants you) to complete the prescribed period, and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perchance ye shall be grateful.

Ayah 185, Sura 2 (Al-Baqara), translation by Abdullah Yusuf Ali

[Notes to explain. "Ayah" is the Arabic word for sign, or miracle, in that Muslims regard each ayah as a sign from Allah, and therefore, the word refers to each one of the 6,236 verses found in the Qur’an.  A "Sura" (also spelled Surah) is a chapter of the Qur’an.  There are 114 Suras in the Qur'an. The shortest Surah (Al-Kawthar) has only three ayah (verses) while the longest (Al-Baqara, this one) contains 287 ayah (verses).  So, in Judeo/Christian language, this is the 185th verse in the Al-Barqara Chapter of the Koran.]

Aside from the five-times-daily prayer, fasting during the month of Ramadan is the most visible and recognizable of Muslim acts the world over.  Like other Islam traditions, fasting in Islam has its origins in Judaism and Christianity.

During the 30-odd days of Ramadan, Muslims are required to fast during daylight hours from dawn until sunset, neither food nor drink (except, water) nor smoke, and abstain from sexual pleasures.  [The very young, those who are physically ill, the elderly, and certain groups (military, out door hard labor workers, ) are excused from fasting.]  Daylight hours are those when a white thread can be distinguished from a black thread.

The purpose of fasting is to make one think, and teaches self-discipline.  Fasting sensitizes compassion (only those who have been hungry can know what hunger means), and is intended to teach Muslims about patience, humility, spirituality, and also focus on social oneness with the ummah (which means the Islamic community) across the globe.

It is a time for Muslims to fast for the sake of God and to offer more prayer than usual, praying for forgiveness, and praying for guidance – trying to purify themselves through self-restraint and good deeds.

Based on sight ability of the moon in North America for 2010, the dates for Ramadan are from the 12th of August until the 9th of September.  Note that in the Muslim calendar, a holiday begins on the sunset of the previous day (this is from Judaism), so observing Muslims will celebrate Ramadan beginning with sunset on the 10th of August.

Hilal (Arabic; meaning, the crescent, or new moon) is typically a day after the astronomical new moon, the crescent moon. Since the new moon indicates the beginning of a new month, Muslims can estimate the beginning of Ramadan.

The Islamic calendar, called the Hijri calendar, is a lunar calendar consisting of 12 lunar months in a year of either 354 or 355 days.  Although Ramadan is always on the same day of the Islamic calendar, the date on the Gregorian calendar varies from year to year, since the Gregorian calendar is a solar calendar and the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar.  This difference means Ramadan moves on the Gregorian calendar approximately 11 days every year.  The date of Ramadan may also vary from country to country depending on when the moon is sighted.

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Blog Contents
Christianity
      What is Lent?
      Holy Week
      This is Christmas
Other Religions:
      Religion in Southeast Asia
Hinduism:
      The Concept of God in the Hindu World
Judaism
      Why Jews Don't Believe in Jesus
      Religious Allegiance vs Belief & Faith
      This is Yom Kippur
      This is Rosh Hashanah
Islam, Shiite:
     This is Ashura
     This is Ramadan
Religion:
      Religions are Forms of Superstition
      How America Sees God
      Hearing with Different Ears
Text of Religions:
      This is the Bible, on One Page
      The Da Vinci Code versus the Bible
Houses of Worship:
      Brick and Mortar

Major Religions of the World
 
 
 
 
 

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