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Joyous And Blessed Ramadan - July 18th 2015

Ramadan (Ramzan), the ninth month of the Hijira (Islamic) year, is associated with the revelation of the Koran to the Prophet Muhammad. Ramadan is considered the most blessed and holiest month for prayers, fasting, self-accountability and charity. Ramadan is observed throughout the world by Muslims.

Ramadan is the observance of the annual fast according to the “fifth pillar” or duty of Islam. The Ramadan, (saum) is a 30-day fast, during the whole month, prescribed only for healthy, adult Muslims. During the fast, Muslims are forbidden to eat, drink or smoke between dawn, and sunset. Muslims should refrain from violence, anger, envy, greed, lust, sarcastic retorts, refrain from gambling and betting and gossip.

Before retirement each night, special congregational prayers are offered in which long passages of the Koran are recited. (Eat and drink, until the white thread of dawn appears to you distinct from it’s black thread; then complete your fast till the night appears. 2:187). Those who are sick or traveling during this time and women pregnant or nursing babies are excused, but are expected to make up for missing the fast when they are healthy again (or no longer nursing) at other times in the year. Children before the onset of puberty are not required to fast. (However, their parents or guardians are strongly recommended to encourage them to fast few days so that they get used to it and they grow up knowing of the worship of fasting as they would know that of praying.). All Muslims are brought closer together by supporting each other during the fast and often devote extra time to prayer and worship. The mosque becomes the centre for social as well as religious gatherings.

The night between the 26th and 27th days of Ramadan, on which the first revelation occurred, is called the Night of Determination, during which, according to the Koran (Al-Quran), God determines the course of the world for the following year. The day after the end of Ramadan is called the Fast-Breaking and is celebrated with special prayers and festivities.

The fasting of Ramadan ends with the festival of Id ul-Fitr on the first day of the following month of Shawal. Muslims attend Id prayers at the mosque and give Zakah (Zakat-ul-Fitr), a charitable donation, to ensure that all, rich and poor alike, can participate in the festivities. The customs associated with breaking the fast stem from the teachings of the Koran, but are also determined by local variations. The festivities last for several days and it is a time of rejoicing, when new clothes are worn, traditional food is prepared, and people gather to chant their praise of Allah and of his prophet, Muhammad. The first day of Id may vary from area to area according to the sighting of the new moon. The timing is determined by each local community.

READ MORE >>>>> Five Pillars of Islam
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