Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ramadan Journal - Day 1 - What is Ramadan?

Ramadan Kareem!
That literally means Generous Ramadan ad is one of the many ways the Muslim world congratulates each other that the Holy Month of Ramadan has arrived.
It’s being called generous is no coincidence. Ramadan is a month full of giving, charity and love.
It is the ninth month of the Islamic Lunar Calendar and its start is marked by the sighting of the new moon and ends by the sighting of the next month’s new moon.
For the next 30 days, 1.5 billion Muslims around the globe will fast from dawn to sundown. They will spend their evenings in prayer and spreading happiness to the poor and needy by giving of food and money.
Ramadan is the month when Islam’s Holy Scripture, The Qu’ran ,was sent down to Islam’s Prophet Mohamed . We celebrate by reciting the Qu’ran all month long.
Ramadan is a chance to purify one’s soul by abstaining from worldly things. Doing so puts one in focus with himself, allowing people to set their priorities straight and find inner peace.
It is a gift from Allah – Arabic for God – to cleanse one’s self from sins accumulated all year long and a chance to rid the self of a bad habit or pick up a good one.
Fasting in Islam is not just abstaining from food and drink. The entire body fasts.
The tongue is to not backbite, gossip, lie, spread rumors or use foul language. The eyes are not to set sight on obscenities. The ears are to refrain from hearing another man’s backbiting and foul language. The feet are to refrain from going to sinful places and the hands are to not take what does not belong to it.
One may ask: How is it possible after 11 months of eating all day that in the summer heat a Muslim will withstand the fast?
The answer to this starts with the fact that fasting Ramadan is the fourth of the five pillars of Islam and that Muslims believe that during Ramadan Satan is shackled and thus is unable to whisper in one’s ear that he is unable to fast.
It teaches patience and mercy and is in a way like recharging the battery of one’s soul.
It is believed that the gates of Heaven are open during The Holy Month, making the self-sacrifice a pleasant task and as a personal witness, the most purifying, humbling way of worship.
Children, the elderly, those sick or traveling, pregnant or on the menstrual cycle do not fast and are pardoned to make it up on other days.
The day we break the fast differs from country to country.
Ramadan is also the time to strengthen family ties and so the iftar (breaking the fast meal), which literally means breakfast, is eaten with family and sometimes several relatives.

1 comment:

Natalie said...

Dear Jessica, I'm enjoying your Ramadan blog. This entry has given me a better idea of what the observance is all about and where it comes from. I like knowing how people are experiencing it day to day. The rhythm of life must change completely. I have a friend who is fasting and it is hard for her to do it here because she is doing it by herself.

Keep the thoughts and observations flowing.

Best,
Natalie
atlanta, ga, usa