Tuesday, 19 July 2016

The Blessed Month of Ramadan 1437 AH

The Blessed Month of Ramadan 1437 AH

Dr. Mozammel Haque

The start of the Holy month of Ramadan will be determined on the sighting of the moon later this week. The Supreme Judicial Council of Saudi Arabia called on all Muslims in the Kingdom to sight the crescent of the lunar month of Ramadan. Ramadan is likely to start on Monday after astronomers said the new moon could be sighted Sunday evening. The crescent visibility maps on ICOUK website shows that on Sunday 5th June 2016, the Ramadan 1437 AH moon will not be possible to be sighted in the UK or East of UK/Morocco by the naked eye. However, many people will be looking for the Ramadan moon on that date (29th Shaban) as per Sunnah and to confirm if the moon can or cannot be sighted by the human eye.

Ramadan Mubarak
Muslims all over the world still stick to the tradition of looking to the sky to start their fasting and ending. The fasting month of Ramadan starts with the sighting of the Ramadan crescent in the horizon with the naked eye. Under the Shari’ah, if the new crescent was seen by any trustworthy person supported by two witnesses his testimony would be documented and the whole nation would accept that testimony. Whatever be the case, the holy month of Ramadan is going to start either Monday or Tuesday depending on the sighting of the crescent. This column will come to the reader on Friday, the 3rd of June, 2016. So this is the best time to say my readers RAMADAN MUBARAK.

Ramadan Mubarak and Ramadan Greetings to all of you, especially to all the readers of Plain Truth and the Bangla Mirror Weekly: May this holy month bring barakah, and Allah's boundless mercy upon the believers and harmony and tolerance for the world.

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).

Blessed Month of Ramadan
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).

Elaborate preparations are in place to
Serve Pilgrims during Ramadan
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has completed all preparations for the influx of millions of pilgrims into the country during Ramadan, the Saudi Council of Ministers announced Monday, the 30th of May, 2016. At a meeting chaired by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah on Monday, the King was reassured that the country was ready to offer a safe and secure visit for pilgrims, according to a statement issued by Culture and Information Minister Adel Al-Toraifi to SPA. Al-Toraifi said the Cabinet thanked King Salman for overseeing the expansion and development of the two holy mosques and holy sites, in conjunction with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif, chairman of the Supreme Hajj Committee; and for his patronage through the crown prince of the 16th Scholarly Forum on Hajj and Umrah organized by Umm Al-Qura University.

Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Naif, Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has approved a contingency plan prepared by Civil Defence to deal with any emergency in Makkah and Madinah during Ramadan, said a top official. Lt. Gen. Sulaiman Bin Abdullah Al-Amr, Director General of the Civil Defence, said preventive measures will also be taken to ward off any threats to the safety of pilgrims, visitors and others in the holy cities. “The Crown Prince has made it clear that the safety of pilgrims in Makkah and Madinah is paramount.

“The Crown Prince ordered the Civil Defence to take all precautions necessary to ensure the safety of pilgrims. Pilgrims come from all over the world to perform a religious duty, therefore they should feel safe and secure and focus on their spirituality,” said Al-Amr.

The Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques is geared up with unprecedented arrangements to receive hundreds of thousands of Umrah pilgrims and worshippers during the holy month of Ramadan. Sheikh Abdurahman Al-Sudais, head of the Presidency, said that all preparations and arrangements are well in place to offer the best services to pilgrims and visitors.

“Under the guidance of the rulers, the Presidency, in coordination with all the concerned government departments and security agencies, has mobilized all its personnel and resources to cope with the huge influx of the faithful at the Grand Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah. Our nation shoulders the great responsibility of serving those visiting the Two Holy Mosques by enabling them to perform their rituals in ease and comfort,” said Al-Sudais.

He also thanked the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman for his directive at Monday’s Cabinet session to make the best possible preparations in serving the pilgrims during Ramadan.

Sheikh Muhammad Al-Khuzaim, deputy head of the Presidency, “The Presidency has made available all kinds of services and facilities for the worshippers, and these included appointing scholars to offer Islamic lectures and guidance classes, distribution of Islamic books and leaflets, organizing iftar meals, making available golf carts for carrying elderly and disabled worshippers etc.

It is learnt that some 210 doors have been opened in the Grand Mosque in Makkah for the entry and exit of pilgrims, visitors and worshippers during Ramadan, according to director of the department of doors in the Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques Muhammad Bati. He told Makkah Arabic daily on Tuesday that about 600 employees, wearing official uniforms and carrying IDs, will be guarding the doors. Bati urged all pilgrims and visitors to cooperate with the guards to ensure smooth entry and exit.

Mr. Muhammad Bati also said the special needs people can enter Haram through a number of doors including Al-Salam, Al-Marwa, Quraish, Al-Abbas, King Fahd and Abdullah gates in addition to the doors No. 64, 68, 69, 74, 84, 89, 90, 93 and 94. He said there are lifts and escalators for special needs people.

1st June 2016

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