Thursday, 4 August 2011

Ramadan Mubarak from Masjid al-Haram and Balad al-Ameen

Ramadan Mubarak from Masjid
al-Haram and Balad al-Ameen

Dr. Mozammel Haque

Makkah al-Mukarramah: Ramadan Mubarak and Ramadan Greetings from the Masjid al-Haram and the Balad al-Ameen to all of you, especially to all the readers of the Islamic Monitor blog: May this holy month bring barakah, and Allah's boundless mercy upon the believers and harmony and tolerance for the world. The Supreme Judicial Council of Saudi Arabia called on all Muslims in the Kingdom to sight the crescent of the lunar month of Ramadan on July 30 (Saturday) evening. But the lunar moon was not sighted at sunset Saturday evening. So the holy month of Ramadan begun on Monday, 1st of August, 2011.

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.

Ramadan is an excellent opportunity to bring about permanent improvement into our lives. We can do this by making a goal to remove a harmful trait from our character or speech, whether it be argumentation, backbiting, making false promises, or resentment against a fellow Muslim, or a sinful matter from our lives. Insha’Allah by the baraka of this month, this effort will result in change that will benefit us in this world and the next.

I would again like to take this opportunity to wish all of you a blessed Ramadan. May this blessed month bring unadulterated peace to everyone in the world. May Allah make this Ramadan a month of increasing nearness to Him, and May He accept all of our fasts and worship. Ameen.

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).

King Abdullah and Crown Prince
Greet Muslims on Ramadan
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah and the Crown Prince Sultan, deputy Premier greeted Muslims in the Kingdom and the rest of the world on Sunday on the beginning of the blessed month of Ramadan. In a joint address read out by the Minister of Culture and Information Abdul Aziz Khoja, the King and the Crown prince said, “We pray to Almighty Allah to make the advent of this month an opportunity for the Muslim Ummah to learn more, to strive to reject disunity and to achieve the ideals of brotherhood. That is when the strong stands by the weak, the wealthy supports the needy and the oppressed forgives the oppressor. Thus, they will build a tolerant society where people coexist peacefully preserving the rights and respecting the rights of others.”

British Foreign Secretary sent
very best wishes to Muslims
The British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, M.P. sent his “very best wishes to Muslim communities in Britain and across the world”. In his Ramadan Message, Mr. Hague said, “Ramadan is a time of intense devotion and reflection. Its importance is emphasised in prayer and as a time when families and friends gather to remember those less fortunate. Its values remind us of the principles that we hold in common – tolerance, justice, progress and the dignity of all human beings. The key messages of selflessness, charity, and compassion are values that unite Muslims and non Muslims alike.”

Imams lead Taraweeh Prayer at Grand Mosque
Imam of Taraweeh prayers at the Grand Mosque of Makkah was announced. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Awwad Al-Juhani will lead the first 10 rak’as of Taraweeh and Witr prayers, while Sheikh Abdulrahman Al-Sudais will lead the last 10 rak’as at the Grand Mosque, it was announced Saturday.

Dr. Saud Al-Shuraim and Sheikh Maher Bin Hamad Al-Muaiqli will lead the prayers in even nights during the last ten days of the holy month. During this period Al-Juhani and Al-Muaiqli will lead the Taraweeh prayers and Al-Shuraim and Al-Sudais will lead the Tahajjud (voluntary night) prayers.

On the night of the Khatm (completion or conclusion) of the Qur’an, the congregation will be led by Sheikh Al-Sudais. Ramadan Friday sermons will be delivered by Sheikh Saleh Bin Muhammad Aal Taleb, Dr. Osama Bin Abdullah Khayyat, Dr. Saleh Bin Abdullah Bin Humaid, and Dr. Saud Bin Ibrahim Al-Shuraim, respectively.

King Abdullah: Double efforts in
serving Umrah pilgrims
King Abdullah has directed all agencies to spare no effort in providing quality services for Umrah pilgrims and visitors to the two Holy Mosques. The Grand Mosque is already full of worshippers and Umrah pilgrims. Over 4.5 million Umrah visas have been issued to this year’s Ramadan. Authorities have devised elaborate plans to provide all comfort to visitors to the holy city. The General Presidency of the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques has a special Ramadan plan in place to ensure millions of worshippers and Umrah pilgrims can perform their rituals in ease and comfort.

Hand out Ramadan meals
Close to 500 new officials including supervisors are appointed to ensure the hand out the free Ramadan meals at the courtyards of the Grand Mosque.

Makkah Health Plan for Ramadan Pilgrims
The General Health Directorate in Makkah has worked out an integrated plan to provide comprehensive health services to the Umrah pilgrims and visitors to the Grand Mosque. There will be 36 health and first aid centres at the Grand Mosque for Umrah pilgrims and visitors this Ramadan said Dr. Khaled Obaid Zafar, Director General of Health affairs in Makkah region. The centres are Ajyad Al-Sufli Gate, Ajyad Al-Alwi Gate, Gate 94, Gate 64 and Nadwa Gate. The directorate plans to operate three new first aid centres at the Grand Mosque plazas in addition to 29 permanent first aid centres, the official said.

There are 29 permanent primary healthcare centres in Makkah. All Makkah hospitals have been prepared to work at full capacity in Ramadan.

120 units of blood donated for pilgrims
Pilgrims who come for Hajj and Umrah sometimes face tough challenges. King Fahd Medical City (KFMC) organised Blood donation campaign in view of the forthcoming month of Ramadan to alleviate some of the problems by donating blood for pilgrims coming to Saudi Arabia on Umrah. About 150 people participated and donated 120 units (50 litres) of blood that would be delivered to blood banks in Makkah and Madinah.

Improved Zamzam water coolers
The Holy Mosques General Presidency has launched new improved Zamzam water coolers in the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque during Ramadan. The new coolers are easy to move and distribute, can maintain the water temperature, and are made of materials resistant to bacteria. It will guarantee a high-level of cleanliness and preserve the purity of water. They can be sealed so that only workers can open them for filling or washing, it is reported.

Prophet’s Mosque ready to welcome worshippers
The Presidency of the Affairs of the Prophet’s Mosque has initiated a new operational plan to enable worshippers and visitors to perform their prayers at ease and comfort during the Holy Month of Ramadan.

The plan includes an increase in the number of female inspectors, preachers conducting religious sessions and cleaning personnel, as well as an expansion of facilities and services provided to those who visit the Prophet’s Mosque, it is reported. The presidency has hired 1,000 seasonal female inspectors to help its staff deal with the growing number of female worshippers and visitors, which it is thought will reach more than three million, he said. More preachers have also been engaged to hold religious teaching sessions to meet the demand of worshippers who seek to increase their understanding of Islamic issues.

1 comment:

Shaykh Faisal said...

As-Salamu `Alaykum Dr. Mozammel,
and Ramadan Mubarak to you and your family.
May Almighty Allah bless you in the Noble Month of Ramadan.

Shaykh Faisal Abdur-Razak
Islamic Forum of Canada