Thursday, 3 September 2009

Welcome Ramadan Mubarak and Ramadan Greetings from Balad al-Ameen to you all

Welcome Ramadan Mubarak and Ramadan Greetings from Balad al-Ameen to you all

Dr. Mozammel Haque

It is very happy and good news that most communities and schools of thoughts of the United Kingdom have decided to start Ramadan from the same day, Saturday, the 22nd of August 2009 like their brothers and sisters in other parts of the world. In Canada, the month of Shaaban was completed 29 days on Friday when Ottawans got the shahadah from cities in Texas and Florida about the clear sighting of the Crescest, thus beginning Ramadan 1430 on Saturday 22 August 2009. Alhamdo Lillah, the wish of the Imam and Khateeb of the Masjid Al-Haram Shaykh Abdul Rahman al-Sudais expressed in his meeting with Muslim leaders at the East London Mosque and the Islamic Cultural Centre has been accepted and fulfilled.

I am sending my Ramadan greetings and prayer from the Balad al-Ameen, the City of Peace, Makkah al-Mukarramah and from the Masjid al-Haram to all the readers: May this holy month bring barakah, and Allah's boundless mercy upon the believers and harmony and tolerance for the world. Saudi Arabia also started Ramadan on the same day, Saturday, the 22nd of August 2009.

I welcome Ramadan, the month of Mercy and Repentance, the month of the Qur’an, of laylatul qadr (the night of power) and of repentance and forgiveness. Fasting in the month of Ramadan is one of the Pillars of the Islamic faith. It was declared an obligatory duty (Fard) in the second year of the Hijrah upon each and every mukallaf (one capable of carrying out religious duties, i.e. a sane adult).

Allah the Almighty made Ramadan fasting compulsory for Muslims. Allah said, “O those who believe, the fasts have been enjoined upon you as were enjoined upon those before so that you be God-fearing.’ [Surah Baqarah, 183]. Literally, Sawm means ‘to abstain’. In the terminology of Islamic law, Sawm means ‘to abstain from eating, drinking and sexual intercourse: with the conditions that one abstains continuously from dawn to sunset, and that there is an intention to fast.’ Therefore, should one eat or drink anything even a minute before sunset, the fast will not be valid. Similarly, if one abstained from all these things throughout the day but made no intention to fast, there will be no fast here too.

Allah the Almighty said in the Qur’an “…And eat and drink, until the white thread of dawn appears to you distinct from its black thread…” (Al-Qur’an, 2:187) Literally defined, fasting means to abstain “completely” from foods, drinks, intimate intercourse and smoking, before the break of the dawn till sunset, during the entire month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic year.

Fasting in Islam is based on the lunar calendar and is tied to the sightings of hilal, the crescent, or new moon. Allah the Almighty stated: “They ask you concerning the new moons. Say: They are but signs to mark fixed periods of time… (Al-Qur’an, 2:189). And the Traditions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Eat until you see the crescent and break not until you see the crescent. If it is cloudy calculate the period of the month.” (Muslim and others).

Fasting in Ramadan is compulsory upon every Muslim, male or female, who has these qualifications, e.g. mentally and physically fit, adult full of age which is normally fourteen and fairly certain that fasting is unlikely to cause any harm, physical or mental, other than the normal reactions to hunger, thirst etc.

The said qualifications exclude the following categories: children under the age of puberty and discretion; men and women who are too old and feeble to undertake the obligation of fast and bear its hardships; sick people whose health is likely to be severely affected by the observance of fast; travellers may break the fast temporarily during their travel; pregnant women and women breast-feeding their children may also break their fast and women in the period of menstruation (of a maximum of ten days or of confinement (of a maximum of forty days. They must postpone the fast till recovery and then make up for it.

The holy month of Ramadan is the month of mercy, forgiveness, and seeking release from the Hell-fire. It is the month of repentance and acceptance of prayers. It is the month when the devils are chained, the gates of Hell are looked and the gates of Paradise are opened. That’s why; Muslims welcome Ramadan each year with energy and happiness, and are saddened only when the month departs. Fasting is for the living, not for mourning.

Ramadan is a month of worship. Muslims should welcome the month with repentance and seeking Allah’s pardon. We should keep away from committing sins; worship Allah sincerely and spending the night and day in prayer, supplication and recitation of the Holy Qur’an.

Fasting is a shield which helps prevent many sins and with which Muslim protects himself from Hell-fire. Fasting is more than abstaining from food and drink. It also means to abstain from any falsehood in speech and action, from any ignorant and indecent speech, and from arguing and quarrelling. Therefore, fasting helps to develop good behaviour.

Fasting inculcates a sense of brotherhood and solidarity, as a Muslim feels and experiences what his needy and hungry brothers feel. This gives Muslim a new sense of togetherness and association.

Allah the Almighty said in the Qur’an: The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for mankind, and clear proofs of the guidance, and the criterion (between right and wrong). (Surah Al-Baqarah 2: 185) As Ramadan is the month of the Qur’an, every Muslim should prepare himself to welcome the blessed month of Ramadan by strengthening his relationship with the Qur’an. A Muslim is encouraged to complete one recitation of the Holy Qur’an during Ramadan.

We should engage more and more in the recitation of the Qur’an, in dhikr (remembrance of Allah), perform extra Salah (ritual prayers) at night and renew identity with one another in our obedience to Allah.

Ramadan is called the month of charity and sympathy; a month of giving in charity and sharing meals to break the fast together. Many Muslims also pay Zakah in the month of Ramadan.

Thus Ramadan becomes a blessed month of physical, moral and spiritual renewal through fasting, charity and worship. This is the moral and spiritual gifts of Ramadan. “We can say that Ramadan gives us the great gift of Taqwa (Piety). Taqwa is the sum total of Islamic life. It is the highest of all virtues in the Islamic scheme of things. It means God-consciousness, piety, fear and awe of Allah and it signifies submission to Allah and total commitment to all that is good and rejection of all that is evil and bad,” said Dr. Muzzammil H. Siddiqi, former President of Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).

In this connection, I would like to convey the Ramadan Message from the British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown and British Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, who have issued Ramadan Message in August 2009.

Message from British Prime Minister
On this auspicious occasion of the Blessed month of Ramadan, the British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, MP, in his Ramadan Message in August 2009, said, “The message of compassion and justice is strong in the Islamic faith, not just in the holy month of Ramadan. It is a universal message that unites us all.”

While saying “Ramadan Mubarak” to the two million Muslims living in the United Kingdom, the British Prime Minister expressed his wishes to share with all the Muslim communities along with their families in the United Kingdom and throughout the world, his “sincerest best wishes for this the sacred month of Ramadan.”

British Prime Minister said, “Ramadan is a time for family and friends. A time when Muslims around the world focus more on others than themselves. As you come together everyday for the next month to break the fast, thoughts will be of faith, families and togetherness.”

“It will also be a time for prayer, contemplation and reflection; a time to remember those who are less fortunate today,” observed British Prime Minister.

Brown also said, “Britain is a country of around 2 million Muslims in a Europe of over 20 million. Britain today is a better place because of our diversity and openness. Our culture and society are stronger because of the contribution Muslims make everyday.”

British Prime Minister also said, “As British Muslim communities across the United Kingdom prepare for Ramadan, may I take this opportunity to say: may your Ramadan be peaceful and blessed. Once again Ramadan Mubarak to you all.”

Message from British Foreign Secretary
British Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, MP, also sent his “warmest wishes to Muslim communities around the world for the holy month of Ramadan” in his Ramadan Message to the British Muslim Community. Miliband said, “Ramadan marks an important time in the Islamic calendar. Wherever they are in the world, Muslims will be busy preparing for this month of fasting, prayer and contemplation.”

“Ramadan also has a strong social aspect. It is a time for charity and giving – the outward expression of faith through acts of kindness and love, to complement the inner devotion and prayer. Ramadan’s focus on helping those in need is a good message for all of us, both Muslim and non Muslim,” Miliband said in his Ramadan Message.

“As we approach the holy month, let me wish you Ramadan Mubarak,” Miliband said

Message from British Communities Secretary
British Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, John Denham, MP, while passing on to all Muslim communities his “sincerest best wishes for the holy month of Ramadan” said, “Ramadan teaches patience and humility, and empathy for the less fortunate.”

“The Ramadan's message of compassion and social justice spreads beyond Muslim communities; it speaks of shared values that unite us all. Ramadan Karim,” said John Denham Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

Message from the Custodian of Two Holy Mosques
‘Promote sympathy, love’

King Abdullah, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, and Crown Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz, Deputy Premier, Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector General, urged Friday Muslims around the world to use the blessed month of Ramadan to promote sympathy, compassion and love for other human beings.

“Let us seek to embrace the spirit of brotherhood and fraternity, promote sympathy, compassion and openhandedness, and let us recall the great values of religion which are of the blessings of this good month and this tolerant religion,” the messages read.

The King and the Crown Prince thanked Almighty Allah for bestowing this blessed month on the Muslims. “Praise be to God Who said in His Holy Book: ‘(Ramadan is the (month) in which the Qur’an was sent down, as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (between right and wrong)’, and peace and prayers be upon Prophet Muhammad, who was a Messenger of God, and upon his companions and followers until the Day of Resurrection.”

The King and the Crown Prince thanked Allah for honoring Muslims with the blessed month, with its first part of mercy, middle of forgiveness and last part a pardon from fire.

They said that in this blessed month “all Muslims begin to recall, during its great days and nights, sympathy, compassion and love, and acquire from its generosity all the great meanings given by the religion: the meanings of compassion, tolerance and generosity, of following the example of our master Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who hastened to perform acts of generosity and good.”

The speech ended by beseeching Allah to help “us worship Him, observe the fast including its night rituals, show us the way to acts of obedience, and make us among the pardoned during this month.”

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