Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine
Shaban / Ramadan 1423 H
November 2002
Volume 15-11 No : 191
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Spirit of Ramadan


Flashback to the Past-Events that Took Place in Ramadan
Preparing for Ramadan
Fasting with Friends
Spare a Thought for the Poor!
Sleepless in Ramadan?
Ramadan-the Month of Joy and Purity
Qadha Saum
Nisab
Conditions that make Zakat Obligatory
On Whom Zakat is Obligatory
To Whom Zakat cannot be Given
Calendar of Muslim Festivals 2002-2003
Fasting is a Shield Against Satan!
Prophet Muhammad's (Pbuh) Sermon About Ramadan
Night of Power-Shab-e-Qadr
Fasting Soothes the Stomach
Smoking or Nibbling? Fasting Breaks these Habits
Eight or Twenty Rakats of Taraweeh is Fine
Itikaf-A voluntary type of Worship
'T's of Ramadan
The Significance and Rewards of Fasting (And Other Interesting Article)
Sehri and Iftar-Blessing From Allah!
Dua's to Recite at time of Ramadan
Don't Forget Dates and Figs on your Diet!
The following mosques in Bangalore have made arrangements for women to offer Tarawih


Flashback to the Past-Events that
Took Place in Ramadan

The Holy month of Ramadan which is the 9th month in the Islamic calendar, has been full of events in the history of Muslims. The most important event for Muslims in this month was the revelation of the Quran to Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh), the conquest of Makkah and the victory in the battle of Badr which was a turning point in the history of Islam and Muslims.

Here is a chronology of some of the most important events that took place during the month of Ramadan.

(Source : Saudi Gazette)

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Preparing for Ramadan

By Umm Bilal

Ramadan is the month of excitement for Muslims. It is the month of revelation of the Quran, the month of reading and reciting the whole Quran, the month of Tahajjud and the month of Tarawih prayers, of Sadaqah and Zakah-ul-Fitr.

No one can go anywhere without preparation, and no one invites a guest without preparing to welcome him/her. Similarly, to welcome Ramadan, the month of fasting, one has to prepare. Here are some tips:

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Fasting with Friends

M. Hanif Lakdawala takes a journey into the homes of non-Muslims to discover that quite a few of them fast during Ramadan to please God and to cherish the spiritual benefits, fasting creates on their psyche.

Fasting with FriendsThese are just few non-Muslims who not only fast during the month of Ramadan, but also firmly believe that it spiritually enhances them. Dilip's neighbours in Mahim in central Mumbai are Muslims. "Since childhood, I have been observing my neighbours fasting during Ramadan. The spiritual atmosphere and discipline it creates motivated me to fast for a few days in Ramadan", he said. Majority of Shahil's customers are Muslims. During Ramadan, his business is at the peak. "I was very curious how Muslims keep away from food and water for 15-16 hours and also work normally. Initially it was curiosity, which made me to fast. But when I experienced its positive effect on my psyche and health, I made it a regular feature in every Ramadan" he said. Ramesh, during every Ramadan visited the Minara Masjid area in south Mumbai to have non-vegetarian food. But once when he visited the area on the 26th of Ramadan late at night, he was shocked to see the area overcrowded. "Next day, I asked my Muslim friend about it. Then I came to know the importance of the 27th of Ramadan. I am myself a very religious person. So I decided to fast on the 27th of Ramadan every year, as I also want to please God," he said.

Even in the city like Mumbai where one is often unaware about the people residing in the vicinity, slew of non-Muslims fast during Ramadan. The majority of them fast for the spiritual experience and the associated benefits relating to health and the psyche. Vijaya fasts during Ramadan since the last three years. Once she was very worried about her daughter's marriage and she asked her Muslim neighbour about any provisions in Islam by way of prayers through which she can pray and ask God to send a suitable match for her daughter. "I was advised to fast and pray at night to seek God's help", she said. "Now since my daughter is engaged this year, I will also fast in Ramadan this year too and thank God for being so kind to us," she said.

Iftiyar with Friends.... (Another Photo)There are people like Sunil Chaurasia, who discover the benefit of fasting while overcoming the habit of chain-smoking. The Iftar parties in Ramadan are more often a public relations exercise or a political event. But there are a few Iftar parties, which soften the heart of some and attract them towards Islam. Heela Desai, a journalist with a Gujarati weekly attended an Iftar gathering hosted by her close school friend Saeeda at her home last year. "I was so impressed by the etiquettes and belief of my Muslim friends during the three hours I spent with them that at the end of the iftar gathering I asked Saeeda whether I can also fast. Last year I kept just two days of fast, but this year I am eagerly waiting for Ramadan and will fast once a week on my off days," she confessed. Kusum Sonavne, a domestic servant in a Muslim household was impressed by the invitation of her employer Nargis to have Iftar with them everyday in Ramadan and then wash the utensils. "I was so overwhelmed by this gesture of them giving me a status of having dinner sitting along with their family that, I also started fasting in Ramadan. Since the last three years, I fast during the entire month of Ramadan," says Kusum. She intends to convert if she gets a suitable proposal from a Muslim boy, she discloses.

Renu Bala, a housewife's first encounter with the Ramadan fasting was the Tarawih prayers offered by Muslim women in their society compound in Bandra, in the western suburb of Mumbai. Out of curiosity, she asked Maryam her friend from the same society and "when I was explained in detail about the Tarawih prayers, I liked the concept. Initially I hesitated to join them for the prayers but as I became acquainted with them I decided to learn more about Ramadan. Gradually, I started fasting. The experience of fasting which I had is beyond description,'' she said.

Iftiyar with Friends.... (Another Photo)Manoj 29, an auto parts dealer, was impressed by his friends, Salim and Abbas who were consistent in offering their daily prayers and fasting during Ramadan. Manoj has a close group of five friends including Salim and Abbas since college days. "Once in a month, we friends go out for a lunch. But once in Ramadan, though both Salim and Abbas joined the group for the lunch party, but did not eat anything despite our pressure to have something. That really increased my respect for them and Islam. I thought that inspite of fasting they gave us company so that our party is not spoilt. I decided then that I should also join them in fasting. So every year, I fast for a couple of days in Ramadan. Now our lunch party is held on a day after Idd and not in Ramadan as a mark of respect for the holy month," said Manoj. In this great country where the media is flooded with horrifying articles on communal tensions and riots, a majority of non-Muslims still share and experience the rich spiritual and cultural aspect of Islam.

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Spare a Thought for the Poor!

Lavish Iftar parties have become part of Ramadan. But let us spare a thought to the deprived sections of the Muslim society who toil the entire day and complete their Iftar at a roadside Dhaba, points out M. Hanif Lakdawala

Ramadan is the month of fasting. It is nothing unusual about Muslims fasting in Ramadan. But there are a slew of Muslims whose fasting is quite noteworthy as compared to the other Muslims keeping the fast.

Shakil Babu, a coolie works for 14 hours everyday to earn Rs 200 daily in the hot tropical climate of Mumbai. During Ramadan, Shakil has no respite inspite of fasting throughout the month. "The most difficult part is the afternoons ,when the heat is maximum and I do not have any shelter over my head to cool down. Most often after Zuhr (afternoon prayers), the work pressure is maximum which makes me dehydrated", says Shakil.

Rehan Ansari a cab driver, starts work early morning. In fact, the work duration in Ramadan increases for him as he makes specific provision for prayers as well as reciting Quran daily. "In Ramadan also, I start my work by 8 and return home after Tarawih. "The heat inside the cab drains off my energy. After every prayer, I recite Quran for 10 minutes. As far as Iftar is concerned, I do make it a point to be near a mosque and do my Iftar," said Rehan.

What about those who live in filthy slums? Sabira Begum, a housewife has a 10x10 santy at Sankli Street in south Mumbai. Her major worry in Ramadan is a clean space for the prayers and reciting Quran. "Many times, I have to hunt for the clean space in the slums. Usually we women of the area offer prayers in a madrasa nearby, but in Ramadan, the men usually take rest there, depriving us of our only clean and spacious space for Namaz. Since no mosque in the area makes any provision for the women, we have to wait till the last moment for the Namaz,"confesses Sabira.

Tahir Ali, 32, a clerk in a private firm has to travel 25 kms from south Mumbai to Andheri everyday to reach office. In Ramadan, though he gets permission to offer prayers in the Mosque with the congregation, except on holidays, most of his Iftar is in the local train. "I carry a packet of dates with me and do Iftar while travelling back home. The most painful part in Ramadan is the fact that I cannot offer Maghrib (sunset) prayers with the congregation because if I stay back for Maghrib, I will miss my Tarawih," says Tahir.

Safi Shaikh is a heavy vehicle driver. Most often, he has to drive the lorry on a long distance. Despite his desire to offer Namaz with the congregation, he is unable to do so. "That really hurts and many a times, makes me feel spiritually bankruptted. I do my Iftar and sehri in roadside Dhabas and also offer Namaz there as most of the time there are no mosques on the highway. I asked for Allah's forgiveness and pray to him to change my situation so that I am able to offer Namaz with the Jamaat," confides Safi.

Javeed Memon,is a hawker selling footwear on Mohammed Ali road. He is the group leader of the hawkers for Ramadan. It is Javeed's responsibility to collect funds from the hawkers of the group and make arrangement for the Iftar. All ten hawkers in the group have combined Iftar. "One of us stays back for prayers to look after our wares. After the group returns from prayer, that person goes to another mosque where the Namaz is offered a little later", said Javeed. "But Ramadan is our peak season, we are unable to concentrate on prayers or do Ibaadat as one should in Ramadan," he adds.

Abida, a domestic worker works in four houses. In Ramadan, her schedule becomes very hectic. The timing of every household changes as per the individual's convenience. She has to start work around 9 am in the morning which continues till 9 in the evening. "Usually, I complete my work around 5 pm. But in Ramadan, the employers insist that I work after Iftar to wash the utensils. After Iftar and offering Magrib, I rush to work. That's the most difficult part. As after Iftar, I feel urge to relax for half an hour, but I cannot as otherwise, I will be late and sacked," said Abida.

Zahid, 32, a hand-cart puller operates from textile market in south Mumbai. It is business as usual in Ramadan also till around 3 pm in the afternoon for him. "Every day in the afternoon, when I am very exhausted in Ramadan, I decide that I will skip the fast next day as many times it is the unbearable heat which tires me, after having carried heavy loads. But once I go home and relax, I thank Allah for letting one more day pass without any major incident and decide to fast the next day'', he said.

Firoj Badshah is employed with a Kirana shop in Bandra. His job is to deliver goods to the residence of the customers who place orders on telephone. "While fasting, it is so exhausting climbing floors with heavy load on your shoulders", said Firoj. "Though most of the housing societies in the area have lift, but they do not allow hawkers, salesman and even delivery boys to use lift. Many a times, I am on the verge of fainting when delivering goods while fasting," he says.

The spirit of these Muslims from the deprived sections of the Muslim society is quite appreciable and a lesson for those who inspite of having all the facilities do not fast in Ramadan. Most of them when asked what keeps them going despite heavy odds said that the spiritual pleasure they feel after Iftar makes them forget all the pain and they eagerly wait for the Sehri (pre-dawn meal) the next day.

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Sleepless in Ramadan?

Cut afternoon naps short and cooperate with your biological clock.

By Tariq A. Al-Maeena

Ramadan will soon be here. And overnight you expect your body clock to change? With each passing day, your mind and body will take a heavy toll in keeping up with this sudden change in your normal schedule. And the number one victim is your sleep pattern. All previous standards seem to fly out of the window during this month.

Here are some tips to avoid the gradual degeneration into being a sleepless night owl during this month:

  1. The number one rule is to try as much as possible to stick to your normal routine. Go to bed the same time every night. Discourage late night visitation or shopping excursions. Turn your phones off at a certain hour.

  2. Eat basic and bland foods during Sahoor. A leg of lamb and a hefty helping of greasy rice alongside a dozen samosas will only serve to put your fragile digestive systems into ungoverned overdrive. To sleep easy, avoid tea, coffee, or a gathering late at night.

  3. Cut afternoon naps short. If you find yourself having trouble falling asleep, then avoid them altogether. Or at the very least, limit them to no more than a half-hour. Extended sleep during daylight hours often leaves us more weary, restless, and morose.

  4. Exercise early before bedtime, and preferably before Iftar. If that is not possible, then do it at least two hours before Suhoor. But do get some exercise.

  5. Invest in heavy curtains or drapes and noise reduction devices. You need a dark and quiet environment to fade smoothly into sleep. Cooperate with your biological clock.

  6. Take a warm bath before bedtime. Researchers have found that when your body gets ready for sleep, your body temperature drops. A warm bath may just help nudge you into sleepy meadows.

  7. Try to deal with stress during daylight hours. If niggling thoughts persist in invading your bedroom, make notes of them on a note-pad, and defer them for action for the following day. In as much as you can, leave stressful issues outside the bedroom.

  8. Save the bed for sleep. Reading up on world events in the newspaper, watching TV, or reviewing your monthly electricity bill should be avoided altogether.

  9. If after all of this you find yourself tossing and turning, get out of bed and do something else. Water a plant or watch the starlit sky.

  10. Fix yourself a light snack. It is hard to sleep when hungry, so try a bowl of cereal with a banana.

Remember these tips when you are in a sleepless frenzy. Or better yet, cut out this column and paste it on your refrigerator door.

As days go on during this month, sleeplessness has a nasty way of catching up with you. No wonder, many I speak to tell of the onset of some mild depression during the later stages of the month. And that my friends can be attributed to a lack of proper sleep.

A blessed Ramadan to all!

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Ramadan-the Month of Joy and Purity

We should learn patience and endurance in this holy month.
We miss the chance to learn this lesson if we sleep during the daytime

By Wafaa Kridiyyah

Muslim Receiting QuranRamadan, the month of joy and purity, is around the corner. Let us thank Allah for all the blessings He has showered on us. While I greet you, I look forward for the sense of joy and spiritual elation experienced only at the moment of fast breaking. This joy can be experienced in full only by those who fast the whole day. It cannot be experienced by those who fast barely three hours from the time of the afternoon prayer to the sunset because they begin sleeping from the daybreak and wake up only in the afternoon.

However, this kind of fasting is better than those who sleep until the sunset when the iftar is served. I wonder how can we expect the blessings and benefits of the fasting by practising it in this manner. Indeed, I envy those who go about working during the days of fasting just as they do during other months. They work from the morning till the cannon goes off to mark the end of fasting. How beautiful will the moment of fast-breaking be. All the family is assembled around the dining table, and praying with one heart and voice.

Kaa'baAs for the dear ones who are away from home, we should pray for their early return to join these moments of get-together. My heart goes out for those who are away from their homes and I pray for their safe return to their homes and for them to be successful in their endeavours. If they cannot come home this Ramadan, they will be able to next year - or the year after that.

How wonderful is Ramadan which brings together all members of the family. Our life needs plenty of patience. We should learn patience and endurance this month. We miss the chance to learn this lesson if we sleep during the daytime. That is why I said earlier that I envy those who fast from daybreak to dusk without sleeping. They alone can benefit from the wisdom of Ramadan.

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Qadha Saum

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Nisab

Don't pay Zakat as Burden, but give it as Gift for Poor Zakat is paid on the surplus of wealth which is left over after the passage of a year (Lunar Year). It is thus a payment on the accumulated wealth, leaving our animal and agricultural yield. Zakat is paid at almost a uniform rate of 2 1/2%. The minimum standard of surplus of wealth over which Zakat is charged is known as Nisab. It differs with different kinds of property. In case of silver it is 52 1/2 Tolas (634 grams), in case of gold it is 7 1/2 Tolas (88 grams). The Nisab for cash is the same as that of gold and silver.

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Conditions that make Zakat Obligatory

There are two conditions for Zakat to be obligatory on the wealth.

  1. Being in possession of Nisab i.e. possessing property in excess of a minimum exemption limit.

  2. On completion of one Lunar year on the wealth. According to Hanafi, if a person possess wealth equal to or in surplus of Nisab in the beginning and at the end of the lunar year, (even though in between the year, the wealth was less than the Nisab), Zakat is obligatory, but if at the end of the lunar year if the wealth is less than the Nisab(though one had wealth equal to or in surplus during the year) Zakat is not obligatory. According to Shafie, the passage of one lunar year is a must on the wealth (Nisab) (in Hanbali almost a year). The Zakat is calculated on the day on which a year is completed on that wealth (Nisab).

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On Whom Zakat is Obligatory

Zakat is obligatory on every adult Muslim man and woman provided the above two conditions are fulfilled. According to Imam Malik, Shafie and Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal, Zakat is obligatory on the wealth of the minor and insane person, and it has to be paid by the guardian. Where as, according to Imam Abu Hanafi it is not obligatory. Since Zakat is an act of worship, the intention is a must and hence it is not obligatory on the wealth of a minor and the insane person.

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To Whom Zakat cannot be Given

  1. Zakat cannot be given to a person who owns atleast 7 1/2 tolas of gold or 52 1/2 tolas of silver or equivalent wealth in cash, kind or in trade goods. If Zakat money is given to such a person, then the obligation will not be discharged. For such a person to receive and accept Zakat is forbidden, and to use it is haraam. If a person owns household goods over and above that which are necessary for his normal use, such as carpets, utensils or other goods which are owned and kept in possession but are hardly in frequent use, then such goods do not come under essentials, but in accumulated wealth, and Zakat cannot be given to the person possessing them.

  2. To non-Muslims.

  3. To some relatives: Zakat cannot be given to one's mother, father, paternal and maternal grandparents, great grand-parents, etc. Likewise, Zakat cannot be given to one's offspring-sons, daughters, grand-children, great grand-children, etc. Zakat cannot be given by husband to wife, nor by wife to husband. Except for these, Zakat can be given to other relatives such as brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces, nephews, etc.

  4. To children: The position of a minor child is linked with his or her father. If the father is wealthy, then the child will also be considered as rich and Zakat cannot be given to him If the father is poor enough to receive Zakat, but the mother is rich, then Zakat could be given to the child because the child's financial position is linked with that of the father, not the mother.

  5. To Sayyeds : Sayyeds are the descendants of the Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) through his daughter Fatima and the descendants of his uncle Abbas and his cousins Aqeel, Haris, etc., Zakat as well as Sadaqah and Fitra cannot be given to them.

  6. Zakat cannot be given to a person in payment of services rendered by him or in payment of wages to a teacher, caretaker, etc. It can, however, be given to such a person as a gift, if desired.

  7. Zakat cannot be given to domestic or other servants as wages.

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Scientific and Shariah Facts

Calendar of Muslim Festivals 2002-2003

By Dr. Syed Abdul Zahir

Map

Construction of Hilal \ Crescent: It's Science: A hilal is born always after the occurrence of the event of the Amavas or Newmoon or Mahaq (Arabic) or Conjuction (Astronomy). Please note that a new moon means not a hilal or Crescent. It is wrongly named- but a dark and invisible moon in the space. The new moon occurs each time the moon comes exactly between the sun and the earth, when a fresh lunar month is born astronomically in the major religions, except Islam. One lunar month is exactly 29.53 days long. You may well imagine that at the time of a new moon, 100 per cent of the bright surface of the moon faces the sun and the darker half faces the Earth. At this time, the Moon becomes invisible for more than 40 hrs in the sky. The Moon has been moving continously and non-stop along its orbit around the Earth.

Incubation Period: The Moon moves on the orbit eastward called Waxing away from the Sun-Earth line called the Ecliptic @ 1( of the longitude every 2 hours and an angle stands developing between the Centre of the Sun, Earth and the Moon @ 1 hrs. The phase of the Moon means the ratio of the Sun's illuminated surface of the Moon to the invisible surface of the Moon from the Earth. The formula to calculate the phase is:

The Phase = 1/2 [1-Cos SEM], where SEM is the Sun Earth and Moon Angle.

The Moon also, moves on its orbit about 2160 miles each hour towards the East which is equal to its own diameter. As the Moon moves away from the Sun (Ecliptic) at the above rate, about 6 miles width of the bright surface of the Moon faces the Earth each one hour and hence 12 miles in 2 hrs; 24 miles in 4 hrs and so on. The narrow strip of the bright surface of the Moon-i.e the birth of the Hilal, cannot be seen as it is in close proximity with the blinding bright and long distance Sun. The nascent invisible hilal's incubation period starts growing each hour after the newmoon time at the above rate. At the end of about 20-22 hrs of the incubation period i.e (1) When the age of the Moon is about 20 hrs; (2) When about 120 to 130 miles of the bright surface of the Moon faces the Earth and (4) the Moon has orbited a distance of about 45 thousand miles away from the ecliptic and (5) the altitude of the Moon is above the line of the Horizon, and when the phase of the Moon is about 0.007, the maiden hilal shall be visible on the Western Horizon in the twilight for about for 20 to 30 minutes, after the sunset, never earlier. (7) At this time the period between the sunset occuring first and the moonset should be about 50 minutes. When the angle of the Moon is still about 17 to 18 hours and the Moon set lag is about 45 minutes, the invisible hilal can be seen through a binocular or a telescope, which is not permissible in Islam. The naked eye sighting of hilal is Farde-Kifaya.

Dr. Zahir's predictions

  • The first fasting day of Ramadan will be on November 7th, 2002
  • There will be 29 fasting days this year.
  • Eidul Fitr falls on December 6th, 2002.
  • Eidul Adha will take place on February 12th, 2003.
  • New Hijrah year i.e., 1424 starts on March 5th, 2003.

Criteria for Ruyath Hilal:

  1. As per the Shariat, the hilal has to been seen with the naked eyes on the 29th day of a lunar month. This criterion is being followed only in India (Except Kerala). Pakistan, Bangladesh, Morocco, Oman and South Africa.

  2. Egypt: When the Moon sets even one or two minutes after the sunset, it is considered as a positive ruyath hilal, even though the hilal is invisible to the naked eyes.

  3. Saudi Arabia and and other Arab Countries and Indonesia and Malaya: There are no particular fixed criteria. The criteria may change every month depending upon the whims and fancies of the authorities responsible. Ruyath hilal is declared even when the Moon has set before the sunset and even when a solar eclipse is on. This is most absurd, irregular, unscientific and against the Shariat, refer Quran chapter IX - 36 & 37

Ruyath Hilal for Ramadan 1423 H:See the map. The new moon or amavas or mahaq occurs on November 5th Tuesday at 2.04 am IST (Midnight). The chances of sighting the hilal the same evening in India or Saudi Arabia are impossible. But further west, the same evening the size of the hilal would be big enough for the naked eye sighting for the first time in the world in western Africa. Hence the hilal would be seen the same evening in Brazil and Central America. On Wednesday, November 6th, the age of the Moon in India would be nearly 40 hrs and the moonset lag from the sunset would be about 80 minutes. As per the above scientific facts, the ruyath hilal occurs Insha-Allah all over thworld on November 6th and insha-Allah the first day of Ramadan starts from Thursday the Nov 7th in India and Saudi Arabia and the whole world. General public sighting in most of the places is mandatory. These facts are confirmed by the top meteorological observatories in the world including the Royal Greenwich Observatory, London and the Positional Astronomy Centre, Calcutta and the International Islamic Calendar Program, Malaysia.

Ruyath Hilal for Shawwal or Eidul Fitr: See the Map. The Mahaq or newmoon or Amavas for this month occurs on Wednesday December 4th at 1-04 pm IST (Zohar) along with a Total Solar Eclipse - not seen in India (from 10-21 am to 3-41 pm IST). There are no chances of moon sighting the same evening any where in the world. The hilal becomes fit for naked eye sighting first time in the world close to the International Date line about 12 (south of the equator. The next day, Thursday, December 5th the age of the Moon in India would be about 29 hrs and the moonset lag from the sunset would be about 60 minutes. Accordingly, the Ruyath Hilal occurs cent per cent all over the world including India and Saudi Arabia on Thursday Insha-Allah, December 5th. General public sighting in most of the places is mandatory. We are going to have only 29 fasting days this month in India. All the top astronomical centres in the world watch for this fact.

It may be likely that Saudi Arabia, as usual, may declare a positive riyath suited on the December 4th itself and celebrate the Eid on December 5th. If so, this fact is a scientific proof enough to indicate the tampering of our calendar. Since it is one billion percent impossible for moon sighting to occur on December 4th evening at the time of a Solar Eclipse, as 100 per cent of the bright surface of the Moon faces the Sun and only the darker half faces the Earth. On innumerable previous occasions, Saudi Arabia has committed blunders like this and I am in possession of ample proof to substantiate this unpardonable mistake. Can Saudi Arabia clarify scientifically and as per Shariat - how come the ruyath hilal occurs always one or two days earlier only in Saudi Arabia and not in the other places in the world. When hilal is supposed to have been seen in Saudi Arabia, a little bigger hilal must be seen the same evening cent percent in Morocco, West Africa, situated about 3000 miles west of Saudi Arabia, but as usual the hilal is never seen in Morocco the same evening, but usually invisible the next day. Whatever Saudi Arabia declares pertaining to ruyath hilal, all the other puppet Arab Countries acknowledge blindly. Refer Quran Chapter IX 36-37 Ruyath Hilal for Zul-Hijja: Look at the Map.

The Mahaq or the new moon occurs on Saturday,February 1st at 4-18 pm IST in India. There are no chances of ruyath hilal the same evening anywhere in the world. The incubating hilal becomes fit for naked eye sighting for the first time in the world in the western Pacific Ocean just south of the equator on Sunday February 2nd. The age of the Moon in India would be about 25 hours and the moonset lag from the sunset would be 53 minutes. In these conditions, ruyath hilal occurs Insha-Allah cent per cent in India and Saudi Arabia and the Central and the Western world on February 2nd. Chances of the sighting are better in South India than in the North. Ruyath hilal might not occur this day in East India, Bangladesh, Japan, China, Australia etc as such Eidul Adha falls on Wednesday, February 12th. All the top observatories in the world confirm this fact.

Moharramul Haram 1424 H: The ruyath hilal occurs on Tuesday, March 4th and our new year 1424 H starts Insha-Allah from Wednesday, March 5th.

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Fasting is a Shield Against Satan!

Fasting is a great opportunity for believers who genuinely fear Allah
and search for a means of drawing closer to Him.

By Harun Yahya

The month of Ramadan is an extremely profitable display and market for the trade of the hereafter. It is an extremely fertile piece of land for the crops of the hereafter. For the growth and flourishing of actions, it is like April showers in the spring. It is like a brilliant holy festival for the parade of mankind's worship in the face of the sovereignty of Divine dominicality. (The Risale-i Nur Collection, Letters, The Twenty-Ninth Letter, The Second Section, Seventh Point)

As Bediuzzaman Said Nursi has informed us in these wise words, the month of Ramadan has the force of a sacred festival for Muslims. Muslims who fear Allah and live to gain His good pleasure fulfill their obligation to fast during the month with great enthusiasm and excitement. Fasting, which Allah has made a religious obligation in the verses, "You who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that hopefully you will have taqwa," (Surah al-Baqara: 183) and "That you should fast is better for you, if you only knew," (Surah al-Baqara: 184), is a duty that brings countless benefits to Muslims. This obligation, fulfilled by all Muslims together, further increases the enthusiasm of and solidarity between Muslims, who are dispersed all over the world. The fact it is observed en masse further increases its spiritual nature. In one of his sayings, Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) emphasises the importance of Ramadan as follows: "Oh people! A great month has come over you; a blessed month. A month in which Allah has made it compulsory upon you to fast by day, and voluntarily 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. 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." (narrated by Ibn Khuzaymah).

Fasting is a great opportunity for believers who genuinely fear Allah and search for a means of drawing closer to Him. Obeying Allah's command, waiting patiently the whole day through to earn His good pleasure, breaking one's fast, and rising early to eat and drink are all means of gaining a divine reward. For that reason, Muslims who are in a constant search for divine recompense greet the month of Ramadan with enormous joy. Throughout the month, Muslims who seek to please Allah with every step they take and to live in the manner revealed by Him earn both the reward for all the obligations they always perform, and also further reward by fasting. This is how Bediuzzaman Said Nursi explained the importance of the obligation of fasting to Muslims in the hereafter: "The month of Ramadan comprises and gains a permanent and eternal life in this fleeting world and brief transient life".

Many people who do not fully live by Islamic values the rest of the time display many examples of pleasing morality along with fasting during Ramadan. That is because Allah enhances the clarity and frees the conscience of these people as they perform their obligation. For that reason, the month is a means whereby many people are able to draw closer to their religion and abandon the bad things they do.

Indeed, there is a serious drop in the crime rate in Muslim countries during Ramadan. A great number of people turn away from many examples of poor morality that are displeasing to Allah, such as lying, doing that which is forbidden, gossiping and back-biting, because they are fasting. Their desire and enthusiasm for thinking and doing good increase. By means of fasting, they begin to think about many matters they had never considered before. A fear of Allah and the hereafter thus develops in such people, and they draw closer to religion. Some of them then begin to live the rest of their lives in a more devout and sincere manner. In another wise analysis, Bediuzzaman Said Nursi explains how all the senses of someone fasting are turned in the direction of worship: "The most excellent fasting is to make the human senses and organs, like the eyes, ears, heart and thoughts, fast together with the stomach. That is, to withdraw them from all unlawful things and from trivia, and to urge each of them to their particular worship". (The Risale-i Nur Collection).

One of the many instances of wisdom in fasting is that in this act of worship, people are better able to understand the blessings they enjoy. Even for a sincere Muslim, there is a danger of taking the blessings he enjoys for granted. That prevents a person from giving thanks for the blessings given to him by Allah in the way he should. In a number of verses, however, Allah has told people they should give thanks to Him for the blessings He has imparted, and that those who do so will be given still greater blessings. A person who fasts is protected from the danger of being led by Satan to forget these things and take the blessings given to him for granted. Someone who has never thought deeply before, begins to consider how many things Allah has given him, and what great blessings all things are. Moreover, someone who fasts considers how needful he is of Allah, and understands the weakness of his own body. The urgings of his desires are weakened, and arrogance becomes impossible. Fasting is also a means whereby such pleasing characteristics as patience, trust in Allah and fortitude come to develop in a person. That makes him a more sympathetic individual, keen to help others. These are by no means all the benefits that come from Ramadan and fasting. There are a great many more, unknown to or unappreciated by us, but which Allah has decided are advantageous for us, hidden within the obligation.

The writer can be reached at
info@harunyahya.com

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Prophet Muhammad's (Pbuh) Sermon About Ramadan

A Sermon On The Last Friday Of Sha'ban On The Reception Of The Month of Ramadan.

"O People ! Indeed ahead of you is the blessed month of Allah. A month of blessing, mercy and forgiveness. A month which with Allah is the best of months. Its days, the best of days, its nights, the best of nights, and its hours, the best of hours. It is the month which invites you to be the guests of Allah and invites you to be one of those near to Him. Each breath you take glorifies him; your sleep is worship, your deeds are accepted and your supplications are answered. So, ask Allah, your Lord; to give you a sound body and an enlightened heart so you may be able to fast and recite his book, for only he is unhappy who is devoid of Allah's forgiveness during this great month. Remember the hunger and thirst of the day of Qiyamah (Judgement) with your hunger and thirst; give alms to the needy and poor, honour your old, show kindness to the young ones, maintain relations with your blood relations; guard your tongues, close your eyes to that which is not permissible for your sight, close your ears to that which is forbidden to hear, show compassion to the orphans of people, so compassion may be shown to your orphans. Repent to Allah for your sins and raise your hands in dua during these times, for they are the best of times and Allah looks towards his creatures with kindness, replying to them during the hours and granting their needs if he is asked ...

"O People! Indeed your souls are dependant on your deeds, free it with Istighfar (repentance) lighten its loads by long prostrations; and know that Allah swears by his might: That there is no punishment for the one who prays and prostrates and he shall have no fear of the fire on the day when man stands before the Lord of the worlds.

"O People! One who gives Iftaar to a fasting person during this month will be like one who has freed someone and his past sins will be forgiven. Some of the people who were there then asked the Prophet (s): "Not all of us are able to invite those who are fasting?"

The Prophet replied: "Allah gives this reward even if the Iftaar (meal) is a drink of water." "One who has good morals (Akhlaq) during this month will be able to pass the 'Siraat' ... on the day that feet will slip ... "One who covers the faults of others will benefit in that Allah will curb His anger on the day of Judgement ... "As for one who honour an orphan; Allah will honour him on the day of judgement, "And for the one who spreads his kindness, Allah will spread His mercy over him on the day of Judgement. "As for the one who cuts the ties of relation; Allah will cut His mercy from him ... "Who so ever performs a recommended prayer in this month Allah will keep the fire of Hell away from him ... "Whoever performs an obligatory prayer Allah will reward him with seventy prayers [worth] in this month. "And who so ever prays a lot during this month will have his load lightened on the day of measure. "He who recites one verse of the Holy Quran will be given the rewards of reciting the whole Quran during other months. "O People! Indeed during this month the doors of heaven are open, therefore ask Allah not to close them for you; The doors of hell are closed, so ask Allah to keep them closed for you. During this month Shaytan (Satan) is imprisoned so ask your Lord not to let him have power over you."

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Night of Power-Shab-e-Qadr

Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) exerted more efforts in prayers during the last ten days of Ramadan.
He has taught his ummah to keep vigil in the expectation of the most blessed Night of Power

By Dr. Omar Bagabas

We have indeed revealed this (Message) in the Night of Power-And what will explain to thee what the night of power is?-The Night of Power is better than a thousand months.- Therein come down the angels and the Spirit by Allah's permission, on every errand;-Peace!...This until the rise of morn! Surah Al Qadr

How fast time goes by! Ramadan, the period of mercy and forgiveness passes off within the wink of an eye. Islam has provided the believers with unique opportunities for self-examination which compel them to turn inwards, make a journey into the soul to purify it and bring it to perfection. The Islamic calendar is replete with specific occasions that offer us the chance to return in repentance to Allah and connect our hearts to His overwhelming mercy. The believers are aware that these occasions are scattered all year around and this dispersal of spiritual occasions arouses in us the deep feeling that Allah is summoning us back to Him. He extends His merciful hands at night to give the chance for the sinners of the day to respond to His call for genuine repentance. He stretches His generous hands during the day to allow the sinners of the night to come back to Him.

Ramadan offers the believers rare occasions to enter into a trade deal with Allah that will never suffer loss because heavenly rewards and spiritual profits are guaranteed and multiplied endlessly in a way that no human mind can imagine or figure out exactly. These days people have lost the capacity to visualize a heavenly reward. Their eyes can only believe in tangible things and therefore the criteria for loss and gain is determined by mathematical calculations, credits and debits. But this temporal method of counting does not operate with reference to spiritual gain or loss.

During the last ten days of Ramadan, there is the Night of Power or Divine Decree, which Allah tells us is "better than a thousand months." The human mind because of its limitations, may find it difficult to grasp the divine concept of time to which logic and reasoning do not apply. If one night is equivalent to a thousand months, then believers are encouraged to exert themselves to win Allah's pleasures because one moment of enlightenment under Allah's radiant light is more precious than thousands of months or years wasted in utter ignorance or darkness far removed from spiritual guidance.

Ramadan should increase our faith in the unseen since we should believe that what truly remains eternally is what we sacrifice for the sake of Allah. The best example to follow in that respect is Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) who has taught us how to receive these last 10 days in Ramadan. Hazrath Ayesha, narrated that the Prophet devoted all his time to worship. He was very active. He used to wake up his wives too for prayer, exert more efforts in prayer and would seclude himself from worldly involvements. He taught his Ummah to keep a vigil with a sincere hope not to miss the great advantage of being awake in supplication and prayer in expectation of the most blessed Night of Power.

The time of late night prayer is precious because Allah's mercy descends on the believers. Since Muslims are eager to know the exact night, the Prophet encouragingly said: " Seek it in the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan."

The Prophet also said that the person who stands to pray in the Night of Power with belief while seeking its reward is forgiven sins committed previously.

Dua often recited on Shab-e-Qadr
Allaahumma innaka afuwun tuhibbul afwa fa fu anni
O Allah, Verily You Are Most Forgiving, You Love Forgiving, Therefore Do Forgive My Sins

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Fasting Soothes the Stomach

Ramadan fasting has a healing effect on peptic ulcers as it curbs smoking which is recognised as a precipitating factor for the peptic ulcer. The whole gastro-intestinal system takes good rest for the first time in the whole year
By Dr Muhammad Karim Islamabadi

I feel pity for the stomach. I really feel pity for the stomach, intestines and infact the whole gastro-intestinal system. And this is so because the whole year, we never let this system take rest.

Apart from the three main meals, every few minutes, we pour something in our stomach, be it snacks, drinks, fruits or other eatables. None of us ever thinks that the food which we had already sent in before is being digested by the stomach and right when it has reached halfway, we dump some more into it only to disrupt the digestive work previously completed. This of course makes the food stay a longer time in the stomach which may result in dyspepsia, gastritis, irritable bowel syndrome etc.

In contrast, Ramadan is the only period in which our gastro-intestinal system takes good rest as the Muslims observe fasting for the whole month. Digestion is not just the name of churning movements of the stomach and the absorption by the intestines, but it is a huge integrated system involving the nervous system (eg. vagus nerve) as well as hormone secreting glands.

So the whole gastro-intestinal system takes good rest for the first time in the whole year. As digestion begins in the mouth where the salivary glands secrete excessive saliva which carries hormones to act upon the food, the burden on the salivary glands and teeth is reduced in the month of Ramadan. The oesophagus takes rest during fasting as there is no food to require its propelling movements which push the food to the stomach. Similarly, the stomach and the intestines also take good rest as after completing the digestion and absorption of food consumed at Sehri time, they have nothing to do till Iftar time. Even glands like pancreas and gall bladder which secrete hormones also reduce their secretions as there is no food to demand their hormones. Hence, there is substantial reduction in the gastrointestinal hormones like gastric juice, gastrain, gastric inhibitory peptide (GIP), motilin, vascoactive intestinal peptide (VIP),neurotension, enteroglucagon, neuropeptide Y, gallium etc. Lastly, the colon and the liver are also at ease during fasting. In short, Ramadan lifts the heavy burden and strain which we have put on our gastrointestinal system and gives it what can said to be a refreshing annual vacation of 30 days. Now coming to the diagnostic possibilities of Ramadan fasting, a good number of patients who consult physicians with abdominal pain, suffer from peptic ulcers. The peptic ulcer can be gastric or the duodenal type. The occurence of abdominal pain in both gastric and duodenal ulcers is different in relation to the food intake. Duodenal ulcer pain, though variable usually occurs when the stomach is empty and the gastric ulcer creates pain after the food intake.

In normal days, the differentiation of the two entities is difficult to make as people eat frequently, but in Ramadan, an individual undergoes two stages. One during the fasting when his stomach is empty and the other after evening meal when the stomach is full. If the patient complains of abdominal pain while fasting, it will point to the possibility of duodenal ulcer and if the pain occurs after Iftar, then gastric ulcer will be the suspected diagnosis. The peptic ulcer pain is variable and it may not occur in some patients. Similarly, in most of the duodenal ulcer cases, as soon as mild pain starts, the patient eats something due to which the pain disappears and the disease remains undiagnosed. This undiagnosed ulcer may later surface with perforation of the ulcer and haematemesis (vomiting of blood) which has a high mortality. In Ramadan, while fasting, the duodenal ulcer pain is more likely to surface and as there is no provision to relieve the pain with food, the patient may be forced to consult a physician who with the help of endoscopy can easily clinch the diagnosis. While examining the abdomen of a patient who is already fasting, a physician can easily palpate the tenderness as well as feel the oedema around the peptic ulcer region.

Ramadan fasting has a healing effect on peptic ulcers as it curbs smoking which is recognised as a precipitating factor for the peptic ulcer. It also has beneficial effects on inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, dyspepsia and gastritis.

Last, but not the least, imagine a person who has fasted for more or less 14-15 hours and is now ready to break his fast. His taste buds have taken good rest, so at Iftar, the food is going to taste more pleasant and enjoyable than ever before. This is yet another bounty of Ramadan. Allah's Messenger Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) says: "There are two pleasures for the fasting person, one at the time of breaking his fast and the other at the time when he will meet his Lord, then he will be pleased because of his fasting."

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Smoking or Nibbling?
Fasting Breaks these Habits

Fasting of Ramadan is different from all other types of fasting, and the so-called Diet Plans
prescribed by modern-day nutritionists

By Dr Shahid Athar

The medical benefits of fasting in Ramadan are due to the following factors:

  1. As compared to other diet plans, fasting in Ramadan does not cause malnutrition or inadequate calorie intake since there is no restriction on the type or amount of food intake before beginning the fast or upon ending the fast at sunset. This was confirmed by M.M. Hussaini in 1974, when he conducted dietary analysis of Muslim students at the University of North Dakota, State University at Fargo during Ramadan. He concluded that calorie intake of Muslim students during fasting was at two-thirds of NCR-RDA.

  2. Fasting in Ramadan is voluntarily undertaken. It is not a prescribed imposition from a physician. In the hypothalamus part of the brain there is a center called "lipostat" which controls the body mass. When severe and rapid weight loss is achieved by starvation diet, the center does not recognise this as normal and, therefore, reprograms itself to cause weight gain rapidly once the person goes off the starvation diet. So the only effective way of losing weight is slow, self-controlled, and gradual weight loss which can be achieved by modifying our behavior and changing our attitude about eating especially by eliminating excess food. Ramadan is a month of self-regulation and self-training in terms of food intake thereby causing hopefully, a permanent change in lipostat reading.

  3. With the prescribed fast, Muslims are not subjected to a diet of selective food only (i.e. protein only, fruits only etc.). An early breakfast, before dawn is taken and then at sunset the fast is broken with something sweet i.e. dates, fruits, juices to offset any hypoglycemia followed by a regular dinner later on.

  4. Additional prayers are prescribed after dinner which help metabolise the food. Using a calorie counter, I counted the amount of calories burnt during the special night prayer of Ramadan (tarawih). It amounted to 200 calories. This form of prayer as well as the five daily prescribed prayers use all the muscles and joints and can be considered a mild form of exercise in terms of calorie output.

  5. Ramadan fasting is actually an exercise in self -discipline. For those who are chain smokers or who nibble food constantly, or drink coffee every hour, it is a good way to break the habit.

  6. The psychological effect of Ramadan fasting are also well observed by the description of people who fast. They describe a feeling of inner peace and tranquillity. Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) advised those fasting, "If one slanders you, tell him, I am fasting". Thus personal hostility during the month is minimal. The crime rate in Muslim countries falls during this month.

It is my experience that within the first few days of Ramadan, I begin to feel better even before losing a single pound. I work more and pray more. My physical stamina and mental alertness improve. As I have my own lab in the office, I usually check my chemistry, that is, blood glucose, cholesterol, and triglyceride before the commencement of Ramadan and at its end. I note marked improvement at the end. As I am not overweight, thank God, weight loss is minimal. The few pounds I lose, I regain soon after. Fasting in Ramadan will be a great blessing for the overweight whether with or without mild diabetes (Type 11). It benefits those also who are given to smoking or nibbling. They can rid themselves of these addictions in this month.

Fasting for Medical Patients: Suggested Guidelines : The sick are exempted from fasting. But some, for whatever reasons, do decide to observe fasting. For physicians treating Muslim patients, the following guidelines are suggested.

Diabetic Patients: Diabetics who are controlled by diet alone can fast and hopefully, with weight reduction, their diabetes may even be cured or at least improved. Diabetics who are taking oral hypoglycemia agents like Orinase along with the diet should exercise extreme caution if they decide to fast. They should reduce their dose to one-third and take the drug not in the morning, but in the evening at the time of ending the fast. If they develop low blood sugar symptoms in the daytime, they should end the fast immediately. Diabetics taking insulin should not fast. If they do, at their own risk, they should do so under close supervision and make drastic changes in the insulin dose. For example, they should eliminate regular insulin altogether and take only NPH in divided doses after ending the fast or before the pre-fast breakfast. Diabetics, if they fast, should still take a diabetic diet during the pre-dawn meal, the ending of the fast meal, and dinner. The sweet snacks common in Ramadan are not good for their disease. They should check their blood sugar before breakfast and after ending their fast.

Hypertensive or Cardiac Patients: Those who have mild to moderate high blood pressure along with being overweight should be encouraged to fast, since fasting may help to lower their blood pressure. They should see their physician to adjust medication. For example, the dose of water pill (diuretic) should be reduced to avoid dehydration, and long acting agents like Inderal LA or Tenormin can be given once a day before the pre-dawn meal. Those with severe hypertension or heart diseases should not fast at all.

Migraine Headache: Even in tension headache, dehydration or low blood sugar will aggravate the symptoms, but in migraine during fasting, there is an increase in blood free fatty acids which will directly affect the severity or precipitation of migraine through release of catecholamine. Patients with migraines are advised not to fast.

Pregnant Women (normal pregnancy): This is not an easy situation. Pregnancy is not a medical illness. Therefore, the same exemption does not apply. There is no mention of such exemption in the Quran. However, the Prophet said that pregnant and nursing women do not have to fast. This is in line with God not wanting anyone, even a small fetus, to suffer. There is no way of knowing the damage to the unborn child until delivery, and that might be too late. In my humble opinion, during the first and third trimester (three months) women should not fast. If however, Ramadan happens to come during the second trimester (4th-6th months) of pregnancy, a women may decide to fast provided that 1) her own health is good, and 2) it is done with the permission of her obstetrician and under close supervision. The possible damage to the fetus may not be from malnutrition provided the Iftar and Sehri are adequate, but from dehydration, from prolonged (10-14 hours) abstinence of water. Therefore it is recommended that Muslim patients, if they do fast, do so under medical supervision.

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Eight or Twenty Rakats of Taraweeh is Fine

The Taraweeh prayer is night worship offered in Ramadan, after Isha. It is strongly recommended by Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) as he said to his companions: " A great and blessed month is approaching. Allah has imposed on you the duty of fasting during its days, and I have counselled you to stand up in worship during its nights".

Taraweeh can be any number of rakats, with a minimum of two, but the Prophet's own practice was not to exceed 11 or 13 rakats including Witr, on any night after he had finished the obligatory prayer of Isha. Considering this fact and taking Hazrath Umar's advice to the companions of the Prophet, some schools of thought advocate that 20 is the normal number of rakats of Taraweeh.

We, Muslims should not make an issue out of it. If someone insists that 8 rakats is the only number, we should not indulge in any argument with him. If another suggests that 20 rakats is the correct figure, we say with love and sincerity: "May Allah accept your prayer and reward you for it".

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Itikaf-A voluntary type of Worship

Allah's Messenger Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) used to spend 10 nights during the month of Ramadan in the mosque, devoting all his time to worship. Normally, these 10 nights were the last ten days of the month of Ramadan. This practice is called Itikaf, which means "to stay in the mosque, praying, glorifying God, praising Him, reading the Qur'an or pursuing Islamic knowledge and even just to stay and sleep there during a certain period of time". A person who follows this practice does not leave the mosque except for an urgent business and he may not have sexual relations with his wife until he has finished his stay. Itikaf is a voluntary type of worship which the Prophet practised every year in Ramadan, but he did not order any one of his followers to do it. This is perhaps due to the fact that he did not wish to assign a difficult task to them. Itikaf has a highly beneficial effect as when a believer spends a few days in the mosque, his awareness of God's presence is enhanced and refined.

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'T's of Ramadan

These 'T's are

Tilawah,
Tahajjud,
Taraweeh,
Tasbeehat,
Tadharru (fervent dua),
Tatawwu (Nafl Ibadah),
Tasahhur (eating Sehri),
Taubah (repentance),
Tawadhu (humility) and
Tafakkur (contemplation).

May Allah make this Ramadan a blessing as always for the Muslim community!
Mufti Zubair Bayat

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The Significance and Rewards of Fasting

Saum and the Quran will intercede on behalf of the servant of Allah. Saum will say 'My Rabb! I forbade him from sleep at night and desires during the day, therefore, accept my intercession on his behalf.' The Quran will say: 'I forbade him from sleep at night, therefore accept my intercession on his behalf.' Thus, their intercession will be accepted."

Who should Fast?

Fasting during Ramadan is compulsory for every Muslim, male or female, who meets the following requirements:
  1. Is mentally and physically fit i.e., sane and able.
  2. Has attained the age of puberty and discretion, which is normally about 14.
  3. Is present at their permanent settlement, hometown, farm or business premises etc.
  4. Is fairly certain that the fasting is unlikely to cause any harm, physical or mental other than the normal reactions to hunger, thirst etc.

Simple facts about Sahri

Sahri is the act of arising from sleep during the course of the night to partake of some food or drink in anticipation of the next day's fasting.

The Glow of Sunset-Iftar

What makes the fast valid?

Niyyat : It is preferable to make the Niyyat of Saum during night, i.e. prior to the entry of Subah Sadiq. When the fast starts, if the Niyyat was not made during the night, the Saum will be valid if the Niyyat is made approximately one hour before zawaal. One hour before zawaal is an approximate time taken as a precautionary measure. The exact time limit for the validity of the Niyyat for Saum is before the time of Nisfun-Nahar, i.e. mid-day in terms of the Shariah.

Nisfun-Nahar is determined by dividing by two the time duration from Subah Sadiq to sunset, and adding the result to Subah Sadiq time.

Example: Subah Sadiq : 5.30 a.m Sunset : 5.35 p.m

Time duration from Subah Sadiq to Sunset.

12 hrs. 5 mins divided by 2 = 6 hrs. 2 mins.

Add this result to Subah Sadiq : 5.30+6.02 = 11.32 a.m.= Nisfun-Nahar.

If Niyyat is made for the saum before 11.32 a.m. (in this example), the wajib Saum will be valid. It is not essential that any particular Niyyat formula be recited. Niyyat merely means to intend that one will be fasting, or is fasting. The Niyyat could also be made verbally in any language, e.g. One may say: O Allah! Tomorrow I shall be fasting for You. Or one may recite it in Arabic e.g. "I make Niyyat of Tomorrow's fast".

Remaining without food and drink the whole day will not, render such abstention a Saum if Niyyat was not made.

During the month of Ramadan only Niyyat of the existing Ramadan's Saum will be valid. Even if a Niyyat for any other Saum is made during Ramadan, then too only the Saum of the existing Ramadan will be discharged and not the Saum for which the Niyyat was made.

Things which do not break the Fast

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Sehri and Iftar-Blessing From Allah!

When Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) said 'follow the middle path and be moderate', it applies to all aspects of life including our eating habits. One can be in perfect form and health if the Sehri and Iftars are light and balanced!

By Nigar Ataulla

Media has a way of making a mess of things at times. One popular National Daily during Ramadan, last year went all out to please the Muslims, but in the process only sent the wrong signals. Right on the front page was a colour photograph of heaps of samosas, seviyan and many other goodies with the caption: "Ramadan is here- Muslims savour delicacies at sunset." The real story was that after Iftar and prayers, the Muslims were just tasting some samosas from a street vendor.-end of story. So the impression presented was that during Ramadan, Muslims do nothing, but eat! The soul and spirit of Ramadan was killed by this newspaper which highlighted the "samosa" factor. The person who is fasting alone understands the spirit behind this sacred act and those who are fasting can keep their hands on their heart and say that they feel closer to Allah at the time of breaking the fast because of the favour Allah has bestowed on them of blessing them with Iftar after a day's fasting.

People have asked me "what kind of Muslim am I" when I tell them that I enjoy my Sehri meal of bread and eggs and coffee. Stuffing myself with heavy food at 4. 30 in the morning is not my idea of Sehri. I sometimes wonder that during the days of the Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh), the people there did not have a banquet of food before them as the variety of food we get today was not available those times. So their Sehri was simple and nutritious.As each person has his or her own system of eating patterns, during Ramadan it is all the more important to regulate one's eating habits so that one does not get that stuffed feeling after Sehri and Iftar. Eating light, leaving one third of the space in the stomach for water is ideal. Eating light, but nutritious food gives the overall feeling of well-being, especially during Ramadan when one has to keep one's health in perfect form to be able to fast.

Among the etiquettes of eating prescribed by the Prophet, eating light and moderately was one of them. The Muslim world has an amazing array of culinary delights and I encountered some recipes from Rosa Montazemi's comprehensive book, Honar-e-Aashpazi or Art of Cooking, authored by Roxana & Farzin Mokhtarian .These are light, healthy and nutritious and simple to make and ideal for Sehri and Iftars.

So add a Slice of Persia in your Sehri and Iftar desserts this Ramadan.

May Allah accept our prayers and May the spirit of Ramadan linger on Forever Ameen.

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Recipes for Ramadan - add a slice of Persia!

Baagh-lava

Ingredients: (6 servings)
Directions:

Mix milk, baking powder, oil and egg yolks. Add flour gradually while mixing. Mix the dough well for a few minutes. Pour in a plastic bag and leave for 2-3 hours.

Peel and ground the almonds. Add fine sugar and cardamom powder and mix well. Spread some flour on a table-top. Take a small ball from the dough and flatten into a sheet on the table-top as much as possible with a roller.

Use a brush to remove the flour from the sheet. Place a box on the sheet and cut the sheet at 0.5 cm away from the edges of the box. Place the cut sheet at the bottom of the box. Repeat this procedure three times.

Add the almond-sugar mix on top of the sheets to fill the box. Press using the back of a large spoon to obtain a flat surface. Spread a bit of rose-water on the mix. Cover with another three sheets of the dough. Cut along a grid. Heat up 150 grams of cooking oil and spread on top of the boxes.

Add sugar to 1/2 cup of hot water and bring to boil. Add rose-water and continue boiling for 2-3 minutes. Keep this syrup warm.

Pre-heat the oven to 300 F. Place the boxes in the lower part of the oven and leave for 15-20 minutes. Remove and add a bit of the syrup. Return to a higher part of the oven and leave for another 15 minutes until Baagh-lava turns slightly golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Add a bit of syrup over Baagh-lava 2-3 times at 5 minute intervals.

Naan-Berenji

Ingredients: (4 servings)
Directions:

Mix oil, sugar and egg yolks and beat until soft. Beat egg whites separately until they thicken. Add rosewater, flour, and eggwhites to the mix and stir well. Pour the mix in a plastic bag and keep in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

Spread the dough on a flat non-stick surface to a thickness of 0.5 cm. Cut with a cookie-cutter, and cook in the oven at 300F for 15 to 20 minutes. Colour should not change much.

Samanoo

Ingredients: (4 servings)
Directions:

Wash wheat with cold water, then rinse. Add cold water until there is 2-3 cm of water over the wheat. Leave for about two days, changing the water after the first day. The wheat should begin to germinate. Rinse thoroughly.

Hold a thin piece of cloth under cold water until it is completely wet. Pour wheat inside and wrap the cloth around it. Place it in a bowl and leave the bowl in a warm place. Once or twice a day, sprinkle a bit of cold water over the cloth to make it wet but not soggy.

When roots appear, spread wheat on a large plate, then spread the cloth over it and sprinkle with water. Continue sprinkling with water once or twice a day until silvery sprouts appear. Wheat should be used before the sprouts turn green.

Grind the wheat, add two glasses of cold water, and mix well. Filter out the excess water. Press the wheat hard to squeeze out the extract. Add wheat extract to flour while mixing. The mix should become thin.

Place the mix over medium heat, stirring frequently until the mix starts boiling and thickens. Continue heating until water disappears. Fry the mix without any oil or sugar for about 10-15 minutes.

Gradually add 1-2 glasses of hot water and mix well. Allow to boil slowly, stirring occasionally until the mix slightly thickens. Place in the oven for about 30 minutes at low temperature.

Shir-Berenj

Ingredients: (4 servings)

Directions:

Wash rice well, then drain the water. Add two glasses of water to rice and cook until rice slightly softens. Add milk and continue cooking over medium heat until the mix thickens. Add rosewater and cook for another minute or so. Add cream and serve with sugar or jam.

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Dua's to Recite at time of Ramadan

Dua at the time of observing the fast

"Wa bisaumi ghdin nawaitu min shahri Ramadan"

And! I observe fast for tomorrow for the month of Ramadan

Dua at the time of breaking the fast

"Allahumma laka sumtu wa bika amantu wa'alaa rizqika aftartu"

O Allah, it is for you that I observed the fast, faith in thou and on your nourishment that I break my fast

Dua at the time of breaking fast in another person's place

"Aftara indakumussaa immuuna wa akala ta'aa makumul abraaru, wa salaat alaikumul malaa-ikatu"

May the observers of fast break it at your table and the pious take meal at your house and
Angels beg mercy for you.

Dua when giving Zakat

"Rabbanaa taqabbal minnaa innaka antas samiiulaliim"

O our lord, do accept from us our Zakat, verily you hear and know all

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Don't Forget Dates and Figs on your Diet!

In view of the long hours of fasting, we should consume slow digesting foods including fibre containing-foods, rather than fast-digesting foods, advises Dr. Farouk Haffejee

FigsDuring the holy month of Ramadhan, our diet should not differ very much from our normal diet and should be as simple as possible. The diet should be such that we maintain our normal weight, neither losing nor gaining.

However, if one is over-weight, Ramadan is an ideal time to normalise one's weight.

In view of the long hours of fasting, we should consume slow digesting foods including fibre containing-foods rather than fast-digesting foods.

Slow digesting foods last up to 8 hours, while fast-digesting foods last for only 3 to 4 hours.

The writer is member,
Islamic Medical
Association of South Africa.

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The following mosques in Bangalore have made arrangements for women to offer Tarawih

Masjid-Moazzam
BTM Layout
Basavanagudi Main Mosque
Hajee Street
Charminar Masjid
Shivajinagar
Masjid-e-Ala
R.T.Nagar
Masjid-e-Munawwara
Cooke Town

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