All praise is to Allah, Whom we thank and seek for His help and forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah from the evils of ourselves and the burden of our evil deeds. Whomsoever He guides, will never misled, and whomsoever He misguides, will never find enlightenment. I testify that there is non worthy of worship except Allah, and that Mohammad is His slave and Messenger.
Allah Almighty said in the Holy Qura’an, “Oh, you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Mottaqun (The pious).”
قال تعالى في كتابه العزيز: "يا أيها الذين آمنوا كتب عليكم الصيام كما كتب على الذين من قبلكم لعلكم تتقون."
Narrated Abu Huraira (May Allah be pleased with) Allah’s Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) said; “As the Month of Ramadan starts, Heaven’s gates are opened, hell’s gates are closed, and the devils are chained.”
روى أبو هريرة رضي الله عنه أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال: "إذا جاء شهر رمضان تفتح أبواب الجنان, وتغلق أبواب النيران, وتصفد الشياطين."
Brothers and Sisters:
We are to live in a Holy Month where blessings, mercy, forgiveness, and salvation are. Where rewards and credits are multiplied, and gates of goodness are opened for all good doers.
“Ramadan” is a Muslim religious observance that takes place during the ninth Month of the Islamic calendar. It is believed to be the Month in which the Qur'an began to be revealed. “Ramadan” is the Islamic Month of fasting, in which Muslims get abstain form: eating, drinking, and practicing sex from sunrise (dawn) until sunset (dust).
Ramadan is a time to fast for the sake of Allah, to offer even more prayers than normal, to ask forgiveness for the sins of your past and guidance in the future, and to refrain from every day evils and try to purify oneself through self-restraint and good deeds.
(Arabic: رمضان, Ramadan): The name of "Ramadan" is the name of the 9th month; the word itself is derived from an Arabic word for intense heat, scorched ground, and shortness of rations. It is considered as the most venerated and blessed Month of the Islamic year. Prayers, sawm (fasting), charity, and self-accountability are especially stressed at this time; religious observances associated with Ramadan are kept throughout the month.
Practices During Ramadan:
During Ramadan, Muslims are expected to exert more effort into following the teachings of Islam and to avoid obscene and irreligious sights and sounds.
The most prominent event of this Month is fasting (sawm) practiced by observant Muslims. Every day during the Month of Ramadan, Muslims around the world get up before dawn in order to eat the Suhoor meal (the pre dawn meal) and perform their fajr prayer. They break their fast when the fourth prayer of the day, Maghrib (sunset) is due.
The fast is intended to be an exacting act of deep personal worship in which Muslims seek a raised level of closeness to Allah Almighty. The act of fasting is said to redirect the heart away from worldly activities, its purpose being to cleanse the inner soul and free it from harm. Properly observing the fast is supposed to induce a comfortable feeling of peace and calm. It also allows Muslims to practice self-discipline, sacrifice, and sympathy for those who are less fortunate; intended to make Muslims more generous and charitable.
However, in some cases, minors, who have not reached puberty, aged, sick, and travellers are all exempted from fasting as lack of food and liquid in these situations could be detrimental to health. Moreover, pregnant, suckling, and menstruating women are also exempted from fasting. Yet, they all should an equivalent number of days afterwards.
In addition to fasting, Muslims are encouraged to read the entire Qur'an. Muslims tend to perform the recitation of the entire Qur'an by two ways: Either lonely, or in special prayers, called Tarawih, which are held in the mosques every night of the month, during which a whole part of the Qur'an is recited, so that by the end of the Month the entire Qur'an will be completed; “Tarawih” is an Arabic word referring to those extra voluntary prayers. These prayers are performed after Al- Isha'a Prayer.
In this connection, we can not disregard the Muslim children who used to celebrate Ramadan coming by their special way. We can imagine those kids while carrying the lanterns and going in rows around the neighborhood by their slogans related to Ramadan.
Furthermore, Muslims used to pay Charity “Zakat” (only applicable if one can afford it) during the month. For those who qualify to pay Zakat, as per the Islamic rate (that is those whose wealth exceeds their necessities), of the leftover of their wealth earned in that Islamic calendar year. Although Zakat can be paid any time of the year, it has to be calculated on a year to year basis, and many Muslims use Ramadan as the Month for calculation and disbursement.
Ramadan is also a time when Muslims are to slow down from worldly affairs and focus on self reformation, spiritual cleansing and enlightenment, establishing a link between Allah Almighty and themselves by prayers, supplication, charity, good deeds, kindness and helping others.
Since it is a festival of giving and sharing, Muslims prepare special foods and buy gifts for their family and friends and for giving to the poor and needy who can not afford it, this can involve buying new attires, shoes and other items of need. There is also a social aspect involved; the preparing of special foods and inviting people for the Iftar meal ( meal of Fast breaking).
In many Muslim and non-Muslim countries with large Muslim populations, markets close down in the evening to enable people to perform prayers and consume the Iftar meal (the meal to end the fast); these markets then re-open and stay open for a good part of the night. Muslims can be seen shopping, eating, spending time with their friends and families during the evening hours.
All of Ramadan Month’s nights, it is the most blessed night. Laylat Al-Qadr (Arabic: لیلة القدر), literally the "Night of Decrees" or "Night of Measures"; it is the anniversary of two very important dates in Islam that occurred in the Month of Ramadan. Muslims used to believe that in this blessed night the Quran's first verse was revealed. Also, they used to know that Laylat Al-Qadr is in the last ten days of Ramadan Month, but they do not know the exact night; it is only known to Allah and His messenger Mohammed (Peace Be upon Him) but He chose to keep it to Himself so that Muslims will keep doing their best in the whole nights and they will not pray only that night. That is why Mohammad indicated that it was on one of the last ten nights of Ramadan without mentioning the exact night.
End of Ramadan:
The Islamic holiday of Eid Al-Fitr (Arabic: عيد الفطر) marks the end of Ramadan Month and the mandatory fasting period of Ramadan and the first day of the following month, after another new moon has been sighted. The Eid falls after 29 or 30 days of fasting, as per the lunar sighting. Eid Al-Fitr means the Festival of Breaking the Fast, a special celebration is made. Food is donated to the poor (‘Zakat Al-Fitr’), (Arabic زكاة الفطر) everyone puts on their best, preferably new, clothes, and communal prayers are held in the early morning, followed by feasting and visiting relatives and friends. Yet, the prayer of the Eid is two rakaahs only, and it is an optional prayer as opposed to the compulsory 5 daily prayers.
After the Blessed Month:
After all, Muslims are encouraged to fast six days in Shawwal, the Month following Ramadan that begins after Eid Al-Fitr; these days need not be consecutive. According to a prophetic hadeeth, one who fasts the Month of Ramadan and six days during Shawwal will be rewarded as though he fasted the entire year.