Saturday, 27 May 2017

Ramadan Mubarak 1438AH and Ramadan Greetings 2017

Ramadan Mubarak 1438AH and
Ramadan Greetings 2017

Dr. Mozammel Haque

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

Muslims almost everywhere welcome the coming of the month of Ramadan on the same day, on Saturday, the 27th of May, 2017 this year. Saudi Arabia, the heartland of Islam, the country of the Two Holy Mosques, the birthplace of Prophet Peace be upon him, is performing Ramadan on Saturday. The Supreme Judicial Council of Saudi Arabia was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the Royal court that “27th of May Saturday will be the first of Ramadan for the year 1438H. The Supreme Court confirmed the start of the month of Ramadan following the sighting of the Ramadan crescent, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Friday evening.

The statement further said the Supreme Court held a session to receive testimonies of those who sighted the Ramadan crescent this evening. After looking into the testimonies it received, the Supreme Court confirmed that the moon was sighted in several governorates and rural centres of the Kingdom. As the Prophet (peace be upon him) said that we should start and complete our fasting on sighting the moon, the Supreme Court decided that Saturday is the 1st of Ramadan 1438H corresponding to May 27, 2017.

British Muslims welcome Ramadan: the month of discipline, compassion and solidarity on Saturday, 27th of May 2017. British Muslims join over a billion Muslims all over the world in a month of fasting, charity and solidarity.

The governments of many countries issued Ramadan Message to Muslims in their countries and around the world (see below).

Ramadan Mubarak to you All
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.

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).

Islam is a universal global religion. There is 1.6 billion Muslims the world over. Leaders of the Asian, African, European and American continents welcome the advent of the month of Ramadan and sent messages to the Muslims. The 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) welcomed the beginning of Ramadan. On this auspicious occasion, the Secretary General of the OIC issued a welcoming message.

OIC Secretary General’s Message
The OIC Secretary General Yousef Al-Othaimeen, the Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC), has congratulated on Saturday the Islamic Nation on the advent of the holy month of Ramadan. In a press statement, the OIC Secretary General wished Muslims worldwide happiness, prosperity, well-being and peace. He expressed greetings to the Islamic Ummah, or global community of Muslims, on the occasion of the advent of Ramadan.

The OIC Secretary-General also prayed to Allah to shower His blessings and guidance on the leaders of OIC member states and the people of the Muslim world.

Al-Othaimeen drew the Muslim world’s attention to the moral imperative of standing side by side with fellow Muslims in the grip of humanitarian crises. Al-Othaimeen also expressed the hope that the leaders of the Islamic world will succeed during the holy month of Ramadan in boosting Islamic solidarity and establishing peace and anchoring security.

The OIC Secretary-General said that the month of Ramadan is an occasion to better demonstrate the noble Islamic values that include altruism, generosity, moderation, tolerance, mutual co-existence among all humans, rejecting violence and extremism and combating terrorism.

From Asian Continent
King Salman’s Ramadan Message
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques of Saudi Arabia King Salman thanked on Saturday, 27th of May, 2017 in Jeddah Almighty Allah for blessing Muslims with such an august month for worship and contemplation while addressing the people of the Kingdom and Muslims all over the world on the advent of Ramadan 1438H, a month-long compulsory fasting season for all adult Muslims.

At the outset of the speech, which was delivered on King Salman’s behalf by Dr. Awwad Saleh Al-Awwad, minister of culture and information, the King cited a number of Qur’anic verses explaining Almighty Allah’s wisdom behind ordering Muslims to fast during the month-long period.

He also cited a verse of the Qur’an saying that the Holy Qur’an was revealed to the Prophet (peace be upon him) during the month of Ramadan as guidance to people. The verse also mentions that we should start fasting on sighting the moon. The Prophet said whoever fasts the month of Ramadan seeking recompense (reward) from Allah his sins will be forgiven.

The King prayed that Allah grant us success in fasting during the holy month and performing our prayers. He thanked Allah for honouring this country, as it is the cradle of revelation, the land of the two holy mosques and the Qiblah of Muslims worldwide (that is, Muslims all over the world pray facing the Holy Kaaba in Makkah).

The King prayed to Allah Almighty to grant the Kingdom success to continue serving the two holy mosques as well as pilgrims, performers of Umrah and visitors. The King added that it is an honour “we are proud of”.

King Salman, also, reminded Muslims of the ordainment by our Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) that Muslims are like one human entity, whenever one part feels pain, all the other parts suffer and share the burden due to the fever, insomnia and fatigue, recalling the role played by the Kingdom since the time of the founder King Abdulaziz to best serve Muslims and to close and unify their ranks, adding that a noble goal will persist, forever.

The King said that Allah Almighty was generous to us and He specified certain times as being of more importance than others, as His mercy descends. Allah Almighty honoured Ramadan, the month of fasting, as His mercy, bounties and blessings descend and sins are forgiven. Those who are blessed with Allah’s mercy are saved from the Hellfire.

In conclusion, the King recalled the recently held Arab-Islamic-American summit as a testimonial of the Kingdom’s resolve to synergize efforts, in order to eradicate extremism and terrorism, in all forms and manifestations, henceforth, saving humanity of their mischief and evils. He added that the inception of a world centre to combat extremist thought is in line with that goal and to prove that Islam is a religion of mercy, moderation and co-existence. – reported Saudi Press Agency (SPA)

From European Continent
British Prime Minister Theresa May’s
Message for Ramadan
British Prime Minister Theresa May, MP, sent her “best wishes to everyone in Britain and around the world celebrating Ramadan.” She said, “Ramadan is a unique and special time for Muslims in Britain and around the world.”

“It is a time for them to renew their faith in God and increase their devotion and spirituality. A time when, despite the long summer days, Muslims across Britain will find strength through devotion to fulfil one of the five pillars of their religion,” said British Prime Minister May.

Prime Minister Theresa May also said, “Ramadan fosters a strong sense of community spirit, reflected in the way mosques open their doors and welcome people of all faiths and none to share in the Iftar meal – something I have experienced in my own constituency of Maidenhead. It is an important chance for people from all walks of life to meet together, discuss and share experiences with their neighbours, and to increase familiarity and foster friendships.”

British Prime Minister May concluded by saying, “This Ramadan, let us celebrate the way in which this festival of peace, reflection and religious devotion brings people closer together. And let us say to Muslims here in Britain and across the world, Ramadan Kareem.”

From American Continent
U.S. President Donald J. Trump’s Ramadan
Message to Muslims
U.S. President Donald J. Trump has issued a statement on Ramadan on behalf of the American people, “I would like to wish all Muslims a joyful Ramadan.”

“During this month of fasting from dawn to dusk, many Muslims in America and around the world will find meaning and inspiration in acts of charity and meditation that strengthen our communities. At its core, the spirit of Ramadan strengthens awareness of our shared obligation to reject violence, to pursue peace, and to give to those in need who are suffering from poverty or conflict,” Trump said in a statement.

“This year, the holiday begins as the world mourns the innocent victims of barbaric terrorist attacks in the United Kingdom and Egypt, acts of depravity that are directly contrary to the spirit of Ramadan. Such acts only steel our resolve to defeat the terrorists and their perverted ideology,” he added.

In his Ramadan message, President Trump mentioned, “On my recent visit to Saudi Arabia, I had the honor of meeting with the leaders of more than 50 Muslim nations. There, in the land of the two holiest sites in the Muslim world, we gathered to deliver together an emphatic message of partnership for the sake of peace, security, and prosperity for our countries and for the world.”

He also said, “I reiterate my message delivered in Riyadh: America will always stand with our partners against terrorism and the ideology that fuels it. During this month of Ramadan, let us be resolved to spare no measure so that we may ensure that future generations will be free of this scourge and able to worship and commune in peace.”

President Trump concluded by saying, “I extend my best wishes to Muslims everywhere for a blessed month as you observe the Ramadan traditions of charity, fasting, and prayer. May God bless you and your families.”

Statement by the Prime Minister of
Canada on Ramadan
The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, issued on 26 May, 2017 from Ottawa, Ontario, the following statement on Ramadan: “Tonight at sunset, Muslims in Canada and around the world will mark the start of Ramadan.”

“Ramadan is a sacred time of the year for the Muslim community, and commemorates the revealing of the Qur'an to Prophet Muhammad. The month-long journey of fasting and prayer encourages spiritual growth, reflection, and compassion for those who are less fortunate,” he said.

The Prime Minister of Canada Trudeau said, “Ramadan is also a time of community, when Muslims gather with family and friends to pray and share iftar, the evening meal. For all of us, Ramadan is a reminder to appreciate the many gifts we are given, and to give generously to others, in our communities and around the world.”

In his Ramadan message, Prime Minister Trudeau mentioned, “This year, as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation, let us take the opportunity to honour the many cultures, traditions, and beliefs that make Canada such a wonderful place to live. Muslim Canadians help make Canada the strong, diverse, and inclusive country it is today.”

The Prime Minister of Canada Trudeau concluded by saying, “On behalf of our family, Sophie and I extend our best wishes to Muslim communities here in Canada and around the world. “Ramadan Mubarak!””

Elaborate preparations are in place to
Provide best services to Pilgrims during Ramadan
The chairman of the Central Hajj Committee, Makkah Governor Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, has vowed to provide best services to pilgrims and visitors to the Grand Mosque in Makkah al-Mukarramah. In the meeting, also attended by Makkah’s Vice Governor, Prince Bandar bin Abdullah, the government’s preparations for the holy month of Ramadan were discussed, it is reported in Arab News.

The Hajj Ministry presented its operational plan for Ramadan, including the development of the automated system at the King Abdulaziz International Airport and the Jeddah Islamic Port to register shortcomings in onsite performance and report them to Umrah companies. The project will also establish an online monitoring room linked to a control network in Makkah and Madinah.

Ramadan preparations by the General Presidency of the Holy Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque include supervising imams, organizing and recording speeches, coordinating with security authorities, facilitating the entry and exit of pilgrims, opening corridors inside the Grand Mosque, arranging scientific courses in Shariah, language and history, and ensuring that copies and translations of the Holy Qur’an are available. The presidency supervises mosques’ cleanliness, maintenance and facilities, provides Zamzam water, carries out surveillance, guards the mosques’ doors and secures multipurpose vehicles for people with special needs for free, reported in the paper.

It is also reported that The Makkah municipality’s plan includes waste management, insect control, monitoring shops and food for sale. The municipality will also supervise operating and maintaining infrastructure such as roads, tunnels, lighting networks, parking lots, public toilets, public parks and green spaces. The plan also includes increasing the number of cleaning and hygiene workers, extending their work hours and providing additional support teams for labour and equipment to meet any emergencies.

It is also mentioned that the Makkah Health Affairs Directorate will increase staff in medical centres at the King Abdulaziz International Airport by 20 percent, and implement inoculation campaigns against infectious diseases. The Saudi Red Crescent Society (SRCS) aims to provide medical emergency services quickly and effectively, minimize the complications and effects of accidents and emergency medical cases, activate volunteer systems and support relevant authorities in multiple emergencies.

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