Muslims, especially those residing in non-Muslim majority countries, suffer endless confusion about important dates in the Islamic calendar such as the start and end of Ramadan and celebration of Eid al Adha because they do not pay adequate attention to the Qur'an and the Prophetic Sunnah.1
Muslims prepare to welcome Ramadan and engage the noble Qur’an. The ICIT offers a meaningful engagement through its Digital Library: www:icit-digital.org
You should emerge from this month in the same fashion that a person emerges from an exercise session. Those who are into sports will go into a gym or an exercise session and build their muscles or their aerobic capacity; in this month of Ramadhan we have built our determination and our willpower. Anyone who has fasted or has been fasting and cannot feel the result of a will power of steel and a determination of iron has missed one of the most significant accomplishments of this fast. This will power and determination reports only to Allah and that is the relationship of taqwa.
Not reading these ayaat, but behaving them, as is the case with all other ayaat give us a sense of freedom and liberation. In this month of Ramadhan we should feel liberated and free. The word freedom is used many times in a political context. “A certain country or a certain people gained their freedom.” When this is used in that context it refers to a type of civil freedom that they have acquired for themselves. In another context, (we’re not talking about Muslims in particular, we’re talking about the usage of the word out there in this world), when someone uses the word freedom it sort of implies a person can do whatever he or she wants to do. So if a person wants to have sex however way that is done, (according to this vocabulary out there), they are supposed to have the freedom to do that. So freedom in this context would include illicit or haraam relationships between men and women.
The principal philosophy behind fasting in Ramadan is to build taqwa. What does it mean? Zafar Bangash explains.1
This month of Ramadhan is an opportunity in which a larger opportunity presents itself. Fasting as an individual is one thing; fasting as an individual in a body of millions of other individuals who are fasting in the same timeframe is another thing. This act and this effort of fasting as it is meant and defined not by ourselves but by Allah and His Prophet is something we should be curious, inquisitive and probing about. It’s not something that we should observe absentmindedly or passively or traditionally and in a customary way. Allah teaches us in a way that makes us conscious of what we are doing and of our own selves, especially in this observant month of Ramadhan. At the essence of this effort of sawm, at the core of this month of Ramadhan is a word called al haqq, (which has many translations). The first effort of our mind is that we recognise (that) Al Haqq is a description, an attribute and a characteristic of Allah.
We don’t know what the definition of each Muslim is about the beginning and the ending of the month of Ramadhan. It is not our style to get into trying to debate issues to death. Suffice it to say that there are clear words from Allah and His Prophet concerning the beginning and ending of the month of Ramadhan and of every lunar month of the year. The Prophet of Allah says, (we think this is a consensual hadith which means something like the following in English), you begin your fast in accordance with the visualisation of it, (and it here means the crescent moon), and you end your month of fasting according to the visualisation of the crescent moon and if there are interfering atmospheric circumstances then you consider the month of Sha’baan to be thirty days. Dear brothers and sisters- at the time of this hadith we didn’t have the scientific calculations and knowledge that we have today.
As has been pointed out earlier, our devotional fasting is not meant only to deprive our bodies of night-time/day-time nutrition. Our fasting is not meant only to abstain from food and water and other appetites that we may have during the day and then spend the whole month- twenty-nine or thirty days that we may have in this cycle- and then we leave. That’s not the purpose of Ramadhan. The purpose of Ramadhan is to acquire and anchor the certitude of Allah’s Authority and power in self and in society- that’s why we fast.
This is the month of Ramadhan- a month that is described by the Prophet’s statement its beginning is a mercy, the middle of it is forgiveness and the end of it is liberation. This month has suffered, meaning our understanding of this month has lagged behind considerably.
This is the second week of Ramadhan- a month of patience/obedience/discipline. For those of us who are reading the Qur’an carefully we observe that at the end of the ayaat of fasting there is an ayah that seems (to be) excluded from the meanings of fasting. What this ayah is saying, (without translating it word for word) Do not consume/circulate/use your common wealth/moneys/investments/financial transaction in an illegitimate way… (Surah Al Baqarah verse 188)
Later this month, Muslims all over the world will mark the beginning of the blessed month of Ramadan, undoubtedly the most special time of year for all Muslims. The obligation to fast in the month of Ramadan was laid upon Muslim by a Divine commandment conveyed through Allah’s Messenger (saw) in the second year after the hijra, when the new Muslim community in Madinah was still in its early, formative period.
Ramadan, the month of fasting, is linked to a number of important events in Islamic history. It is the month in which the Qur’an was first sent down from the Lawh Mahfuz (the “well-guarded tablet,” al-Qur’an 85:22) and in its earthly form given to the Prophet Muhammad (saw).1
Every year there is confusion in the Ummah over the correct days for marking the beginning and end of Ramadan. ZAFAR BANGASH, Director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought, and a community leader in Toronto, Canada, explains how the issue could be resolved.
This year again, as so often in the past, the Ummah has been divided unnecessarily on the dates of Ramadan, primarily by a blatantly nonsensical announcement of moon-sighting by the Saudi government.
At the beginning of the month of Ramadhan it is only appropriate to go directly to Allah’s words to express and refresh our minds and hearts concerning this once in a year exercise. Allah, whose words tolerate no doubt, are the following… (and) even though there are following ayaat and instructions we will make do with this amount.
Although Muslims worldwide started the month of Ramadhan on the correct day, there is growing concern that similar unity may elude them when it comes to celebrating Eid. The Saudis’ Um al-Qura calendar has already declared Eid on Thursday, December 5...