Anyone ready for Ramadan?!?

Originally uploaded by nascity

According to this website, scientifically we’ll probably be observing Ramadan on the 31st of August be it when we’re in Egypt or flying over to Australia, but knowing what the Perth muslim community is like (sadly un-united) -Perth, Hepburn Heights, Mirrabooka, Bosnian Community, Rockingham, Thornlie Mosque will probably say on that day whilst the Turkish mosque 2 days earlier (like Turkey’s on another planet or something) and Rivervale 2 days later -like it is every year! 😛 (rolling eyes) So I won’t be surprised if they stuff it up this year. Many do the Eid Prayers traditionally at King’s Park (which has awesome views of the city) but I normally do it at the Mirrabooka Mosque ‘coz its just around the corner from my place and its just nice to catch up with all my other South African adopted mothers.

I just checked the calender today and its only going to be another 2 MORE WEEKS!!! Yikes! -And we’ll be flying on that day…and looking for jobs and an apartment in that week…so will be BUSY BUSY BUSY!

But!!! -who can complain about the merits and blessings and just the time you’re going to devote to our Creator, even whilst you do your every day errands so as to practise implementing it (the spirit of it) for the next 365 days…its like you’re going on a detox -mind, body, soul -just cleaning out all the s@!t that you’ve got pented up inside you from the last year and putting in things that nourishes all aspects of you…you particularly learn self-restraint/willpower, learning what you can do without…so much that if there ever was (God-forbid and protect us) another Tsunami, earthquake or Hurricane Katrina -you’ll be able to survive for days, months because this is what the fast prepares you to for -you really don’t know what the next year or even day might unfold for you…and whilst you’re going through this -the hunger that you experience also reminds you of those who aren’t as bless or fortunate as you, who are poor and starving the world -now this truly and END POVERTY stance -wonder if any stars could try and go through this -ahem BONO?…also just when you’re about to break your fast when the sun sets (particularly in summer) just quenching one drop of water feels like gold…paradise…because you’re senses are so heightened its such am amazing feeling…not just the food but also the feeling that you get each day, the people around you or who you come across…

If my hubby gets some time off work I’d really like him to do ik’tikaf at the masjid…will be his first since I found out the government here greatly discourages it because they’re afraid people might politically make the most of it -which makes me wonder -do they even understand Islam?!? Gees! You get such extremes here in terms of the faithful. But I know my hubby’s going to miss all the iftar delights that his mum and sisters normally do every year for Ramadan, which reminds me I have stock up on a lot of festive recipes from his mum before I go.

Here’s just some brief intro about Ramadan for those who don’t know much about it.


by Omer bin Abdullah

“Fasting during Ramadan is a unique opportunity to attain both peace of mind and heart,” says Imam Gayth Nur Kashif, Director of Washington, DC’s inner city Masjid ash-Shura.

Imam Kashif, who came to Islam by way of the Black Muslim movement and was an editor of the movement’s Muhammad Speaks newspaper and a contemporary of Malcolm X, explains: “During Ramadan one concentrates on rendering good and abstaining from the wrong. Such a pursuit creates peaceful serenity in the hearts of men and women. Ramadan fasting cannot be complete and in fact, the fast can be invalidated if one fails to control his or her temper. The fasting persons are advised to refrain from argument and to inform the other party that they cannot continue the troublesome dialogue because they are engaged in the sublime obligation of fasting. Without doubt a full month of such restraint is destined to leave its mark upon our bodies and souls.”

The fasting during Ramadan that requires certain restraints from dawn to dusk, the hours when the human interaction is the greatest, is designed to mould the lives of its practitioners.

Dr. Molook Roghanizad, a member of the Curriculum Advisory Committee of the Fairfax County School Board in Virginia and an educational consultant, says, “Ramadan fasting offers an opportunity for Tazkiyah, – the cleansing of the self – through its disciplinary regimen. And on another level, Ramadan offers a unique opportunity for synthesizing with the less fortunate.”

She points out that the tazkiyah aspect is clearly emphasized by Prophet Muhammad who, according to Ka’b ibn Malik, said: “Two hungry wolves sent against a herd of sheep will not do more damage to it than a man’s eagerness for wealth and prestige does to his religion.” [Cited in Ahmad, al-Tirmidhi and Abu Yahya]

“The Quran,” she adds, “started to be revealed during Ramadan and it is recommended that during this month we concentrate on the reading of the Quran. Why? This is because during this month, we are less involved with physical needs and have a better opportunity of understanding the Message – the Quran, that is. Therefore there is a better chance of understanding the truth and reaching that spiritual elevation that we all desire.” This state of ‘special elevation’, she is says comes when we elevate ourselves through understanding the true message. “The moment you have reached the absolute truth is your Lailut ul Qadr, the Night of Power,” she stresses.

She says that the real attainment of Qadr for ordinary beings is not a physical act, nothing sort of pulling a spiritual rabbit out of a hat, but in reality that indescribable moment when all things become clear to you and this moment of truth is worth one thousand months, more than a lifetime. The Quran says: “But those will prosper who purify themselves and glorify of their Guardian-Lord and (lift their hearts) in Prayer.” (Quran 87:14-15)

Dr. Muhammad Hamidullah, the eminent scholar and translator of the Quran into French, in his monograph Why Fast? (Centre Culturale Islamique, Wilkes Barre, PA) discusses the physical aspect of fasting. He likens fasting to the break from the ordinary to sleeping and to the weekend breaks in work and school. He points out that just as sleep renovates the body, the fast rejuvenates and invigorates the body, noting that Prophet Muhammad said, “There is a tax on everything, the tax of the body being the fast.”

What fasting does to a Muslim is perhaps best explained by Jim Quraishi, who wrote in an internet religion forum, “I am much more forgiving and accepting of my coworkers. I am more liable to overlook their frailties and petty jealousies. I’m like a man who knows that at the end of the day there is a pot of gold that awaits him.”

Islam does not promote withdrawal from society, however during Ramadan a brief withdrawal from society is allowed for those who desire to do so, which is called itikaf. In itikaf a person can confine oneself to a secluded corner of a mosque – women can select a corner at home – during the last ten days of Ramadan to devote their full-time to prayer and remembrance of God. The itikaf experience can be likened to a retreat in a secluded camp. Ibn Umar said, “The Messenger of Allah [Prophet Muhammad] used to seclude himself for the last ten days of the month of Ramadan.”

According to the late Dr. Alija Izetbekovic, President of Bosnia, “The Islamic fast which is the union of asceticism and joy – and even pleasure in certain cases – is the most natural and most radical educational measure that has ever been put into practice. It is equally present in the king’s palace and the peasant’s hut, in a philosopher’s home and a worker’s home. Its greatest advantage is that it is really practiced.”

The fasting during Ramadan has been ordained for Muslims as fasting had been ordained for people that preceded them. Prophet Muhammad, addressing his companions on the last day of Shaban, the preceding month, said: “O people! A great month has come over you; a blessed month; a month in which is a night better than a thousand months; month in which Allah has made it compulsory upon you to fast by day, and voluntary to pray by night. Whoever draws nearer (to Allah) by performing any of the (optional) good deeds in (this month) shall receive the same reward as performing an obligatory deed at any other time, and whoever discharges an obligatory deed in (this month) shall receive the reward of performing seventy obligations at any other time. It is the month of patience, and the reward of patience is Heaven. It is the month of charity, and a month in which a believer’s sustenance is increased. Whoever gives food to a fasting person to break his fast, shall have his sins forgiven, and he will be saved from the Fire of Hell, and he shall have the same reward as the fasting person, without his reward being diminished at all.” [Narrated by Ibn Khuzaymah]

~ by nursheikha on August 15, 2008.

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