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Rama’daan: What Is It All About?

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The blessed month of Rama’daan: is the month of mercy, forgiveness, piety, love and brotherhood.  In this month, the ’Qura~n, the final testament to all humanity was first revealed to Prophet Mu’hammad (PBUH). “The month of Rama’daan in which was revealed the ‘Qura~n, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong”. [Chapter of Alba’qarah,185]

God has singled out the month of Rama’daan with special virtues that are not present in any other month. It is the best of the months in the lunar calendar. With regard to what Muslims do in Rama’daan, we seek to draw closer to God and strive hard in worship. Various kinds of worship have been prescribed for Muslims, these include the following:

1– Fasting.  
This means refraining from food, drink, and sexual intercourse from dawn until sunset. Muslims are not the only nation on whom God has enjoined fasting, rather previous nations were also prescribed fasting. “O you who believe fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you so that you can learn Ta’qwa” [Chapter of Alba’qarah,183]  The Arabic word ‘Ta’qwa’ is translated in many ways including God consciousness, God fearing, piety, and self restraining. Thus we are asked to fast daily for one month from dawn to dusk and avoid food, water, sex and vulgar talk during that period

But why do Muslims fast? What is the purpose of fasting?
We can summarizie the reasons in the following points:
a. It is a prescription from the Lord
and Creator Whom they love
b. To allow them to be pious
c. Forgiveness of ‘minor’ previous sins
d. Acquiring patience and strong will
e. Being more charitable since they are experiencing the feelings of the poor
f. Sensing the unity of the Muslims
g. Learning discipline

2– Prayers at night.
Praying at night has a great effect in purifying and reforming the heart and soul, and is also a means of asking for and receiving forgiveness.

3 – Reading the ‘Qura~n.
Rama’daan is the month of the ‘Qura~n, hence you will find the Muslims reading the entire ‘Qura~n during Rama’daan, and some of them might read the entire it more than once. The Muslim knows that reading a single letter of the ‘Qura~n brings a tenfold reward, and that reading a single page brings a thousand rewards.
“(This is) a Book (the ‘Qura~n), which We have sent down to you, full of blessings that they may ponder over its verses, and that people of understanding may reflect” [Chapter of ’Saad, 29].

4– Charity and feeding the poor
Prophet Mu’hammad (PBUH) was the most generous of people, and he was most generous in Rama’daan.  Prophet Mu’hammad encouraged Muslims to feed the poor and to give fasting people food to break their fast. He told us that the reward of the one who gives food to a fasting person to break his fast is equivalent to the reward of the fasting person, without that detracting from the reward of the fasting person in the slightest.

5 – I‘tikaaf (“Retreat” for worship)
This means staying in the mosque in order to devote oneself to worship. It is optional, but highly encouraged during the last ten days of Rama’daan.

6– Zakaat Al-Fi’tr :
God has enjoined a special charity to be given at the end of Rama’daan. This is called Zakaat Al-Fi’tr, by means of which the fasting person offers expiation for any idle or obscene speech he may have uttered during his fast; it is also a means of feeding and helping the poor.   It is obligatory upon every Muslim, young and old, male and female. It is one of the ways of making people feel the unity, cohesion and mutual compassion of the Muslim community.

7 – ‘Eed prayer:
God has also enjoined that those who have fasted should offer the ‘Eed prayer, as a conclusion to these good deeds that they have done during Rama’daan, and as a way of bringing them together to express their joy and gratitude towards the Lord and Creator of the heavens and earth.

May Allaah (Almighty-God, in Arabic) accept our deeds and forgive our shortcomings, Amen.

Abdullah Alqenaei -
Abdullah Al-Qenaei is a Ph.D. researcher at the University of Bath.

Last Updated on Sunday, 23 August 2009 23:28  

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