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Qur'an

Ramadan was the month when the Qur’an was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was the founder of Islam. Muslims fast at the time of Ramadan to show they can do without food for long periods of time, and also to prove they can follow the will of Allah. As well as fasting, every Muslim who can afford to is asked to donate money (Zakat). This is to acknowledge the pain and needs of the poor.

In the month of Ramadan, the devil is locked up, so all actions are direct result of freewill so no Muslim can blame the devil. Muslims should read, meditate and perform the 5 Salahs. Ramadan is all about charity, Zakat counts as 2.5% of your earnings. On Eid ul-Fitr people give Fitrana which is equivalent to £3 per person. Those who decide to go against Allah and not following the commandment of keeping fasting in Ramadan; will be committing a big sin and will be punished on Judgement Day.

In the Qur’an, there is a quote that refers to the Holy Month of Ramadan, “Ramadan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur’an… So every one who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting, but if any one is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed period (Should be made up) by days later. Allah intends every facility for you… (He wants you) complete the prescribed period, and to glorify Him in that He has guided you…” Al-Baqara (The Cow) - Surah 2: Verse 185
This quote from the Qur’an refers to Ramadan being, special and very beneficial and vital, Allah has stated that He does not want ill people to perform the fasting of Ramadan, and if they are ill they can make up the days that Muslims have missed. In a way Allah has created Ramadan so Muslims can have a chance to serve Allah and to glorify Him.
A Fiqhi Discussion in a Book by Dr. Zulfiqar Ali Shah.


The people who are excused from fasting in the month of Ramadan are Muslims whose children under the age of puberty. Women those are menstruating, or pregnant. The elders, ill people, travellers and soldiers are exempt from keeping Ramadan. The people who can’t fast can make up the fast at a later date.

Customs

A Muslim who deliberately breaks their fast for no absolute reason must give a meal for 60 people or fast for a further 60 days. There is no good reason to cheat because Allah sees every action and knows the intention of the heart, also known as Niyyah (intention). Sehri is the prayer given at the beginning of the fast. The prayer is:
“Intend to keep the fast for tomorrow on the month of Ramadan” - Sehri - prayer to open fast
The prayer for breaking the fast is: “O God! For your sake we have fasted and now we break the fast with food you have given to us.” - prayer to break fast

Suhur refers to a meal eaten before sunrise, also known as a Pre-Dawn Breakfast. Suhur is a Sunnah and to delay Suhur is also a Sunnah. This is what will strengthen the fasting Muslim, and would lessen the hardship of fasting. It would also lessen the time period of thirst and hunger. Muslims will sit down and eat this meal to give them strength for the day. It is also a time for Muslims to be thankful for the food and drink they have.

The point of Suhur is not to overindulge but just to have a glass of water and a small bite to eat - it is in no way intended to be a three course meal, but rather a little food to give energy for the rest of the day.
Fajr is the first prayer out of the five daily prayers. Fajr is the dawn prayer. These prayers are recited by Muslims Daily. The Fajr prayer marks the beginning of the obligatory daily fasting during the Holy Month of Ramadan. This prayer has said to be important and essential to Muslims.  Some say this prayer is more precious than their lives. Fajr is 2 Rak’ah.

Iftar refers to the evening meal for breaking the daily fast during Ramadan. Iftar during Ramadan is often done as a community, with Muslims gathering to break their fast together. Iftar is done right after Maghrib (sunset) time. Traditionally, a date is the first thing to be consumed during Iftar when the fast is broken.
Muhammad (PBUH) used to eat dates or a drink and most Muslims follow this tradition of breaking the fast. Dates are important because Muslims follow this as part of the way of the Sunnah (the way of the Prophet); also dates are regarded as highly nutritious and are symbolic. Ajwar dates are recommended as the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) planted this himself. However if these are not available others will be sufficient.

Maghrib is the fourth prayer out of the five daily prayers. Maghrib is the sunset prayer. These prayers are also recited by Muslims daily. Maghrib is 3 Rak’ah. The Maghrib prayer is the fastest daily prayer Muslims usually shall hold, this is due to the shortest time period allowed to recite. Last but not least, the Maghrib prayer indicates the end of the daily Muslim obligatory fasting during the holy month of Ramadan. Maghrib is 3 Rak’ah.
Itikaf means to stick to something, whether it is good or bad. The Prophet would perform Itikaf for ten days every Ramadan. In the year that he died, he performed it for twenty days.

Ramadan

A Fiqhi Discussion in a Book by Dr. Zulfiqar Ali Shah.



Laylat al-Qadr is the Night of Power when the first revelation had been given to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) from the Angel Jibril. “The Night of Power is better than a thousand months.” Al-Qadr (Night of Power) - Surah 97: Verse 3
Any action done on this night such as reciting the Qur’an, remembering Allah, etc. is better than acting for one thousand months which do not contain the Night of Power. It has been recommended that, one of the odd numbered nights of the last ten days of Ramadan, i.e. 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th or 29th. It has been emphasized that it is most likely to be the 27th night. On this night Muslims can ask for forgiveness, reading nawfaal, extra praying, etc.

Muslims will go into isolation and perform prayers. They will also remember the Itikaf that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) performed when he received the first revelation, in cave Hira, 610CE.
Spiritual reward gives Muslims an opportunity not just to give up things but to earn extra positivity and gain knowledge from extra activities which will bring a sense of fulfilment.
Tarawih is an additional Salah (Prayer). Dua is a prayer that can be personal, optional. In this prayer people choose to pray for the poor and to pray more than the usual 5 a day. Reading the Qur’an in the month of Ramadan can be very spiritual. Many Muslims decide to divide the Qur’an in to equal sections. So the 114 Surahs are divided into 30 sections so that the Muslims can achieve this.

Isha’a is the fifth prayer out of the five daily prayers. Isha’a is the Night Prayer. These prayers are also recited by Muslims Daily. There are a few optional prayers that can be recited after the Isha'a prayer, including the Shaf', Witr and Nafilat ul-Layl prayers, as well as the Tarawih in Ramadan. Isha’a is 4 Rak’ah.

There are 5 Different Daily Prayers in Islam:
1. Fajr
2. Dhuhr
3. Asr
4. Maghrib
5. Isha’a

The word rak’ah refers to one unit of Islamic prayer.
Eid ul-Fitr is the festival marked at the end of Ramadan. Eid ul-Fitr is celebrated worldwide in many different cultures and countries. Eid ul-Fitr means the “Festival of Breaking the Fast”. During the morning after the last day of Ramadan, everyone joins together for a short prayer. People come to visit friends and family, exchanging of gifts and special treats to children and thanking God for His blessings. The guests greet each other with “Eid Mubarak”. Two of the five daily prayers Muslims are obliged to perform occur in the early and late afternoon; Dhuhr and Asr.

Fasting

A Muslim is encouraged to rise early and partake of a light snack such as dates before then attending morning prayers with family members in the local community mosque. The family are expected to dress in their finest clothing and perform the Eid prayer (Salatu'l-`id) in their local Masjid. You can also thank God for the goods he has given.

Ramadan is important for Muslims because it is believed to be the month during which the Qur’an was revealed by Allah to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). This month is also significant because it is the month during which Muslims were commanded to fast. Ramadan is also important because of Laylat al-Qadr. On this night Muslims can ask Allah for anything and he would give it to them, this is the reason why Muslims try and stay away all night.
During the Holy month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn to sunset every day. This means not to eat, drink or smoke during the daylight hours. The fasting person is expected to do his best to practice self control and discipline, not to get angry easy, refrain from harsh language or insults. This month becomes a training platform, where Muslims will attempt to prioritise their life. Focus will be to ensure the discipline and good practice continues throughout the whole year.

The Holy Month of Ramadan holds a great importance for Muslims for a number of reasons. Not only come closer to Allah, but to learn a sense of discipline in a Muslims’ life. Muslims also have to eat a certain amount of liquid, certain amount of food, at a certain time. This all encourages Muslims to get into a daily routine. In Ramadan Muslims sleep less, therefore this means that Muslims will become less lazy and more able to go through with fasting. Muslims have to always to be aware of Allah, but especially in Ramadan, this is known as Taqwaa (awareness of Allah). In this month Muslims get closer to Allah. However, Allah knows every action and Niyyah (intention).

Ramadan is the time when Muslims get to educate themselves to avoid bad habits, swearing, lying, back chatting, etc. Muslims set an example in Ramadan because is easier to get in a routine and using the routine in daily lifestyle is better to avoid bad habits.
Muslims believe that Allah has given them such a great event straight after Ramadan. This event is called Eid-ul-Fitr. This festival celebrates the end of Ramadan. Allah wanted his worshippers to be proud of what they have done, through out the month of Ramadan. This event usually, convinces little children to fast, because they know that Eid-ul-Fitr is coming and they will get new clothes and lots of presents on this event. This shows that through every hardship comes ease, if a Muslim preserves and tries hard then Allah will reward them, just like if a Muslim abstains from wrong in this life, Allah will reward them in Heaven.

Suhur is known as a predawn meal, which needs to be eaten, and is very important. This is because it gives Muslims and energy and vitally to get through the day. Also the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) wanted Islamic followers to wake up before the sun rises and have something to eat. Some Muslims still pray their morning prayer and then sleep, with an intention to fast. This time is important as any prayers said will come true. Muslims through Suhur are encouraged to read the Fajr Salah hence completing the 5 pillars of Islam.
But if a Muslim doesn’t wake up for the Morning Prayer, (Fajr) then they are just starting the day very bad and sinful, because the prayer is a very important part of fasting, which needs to be taken into consideration. If Muslims eat the predawn meal (Suhur) they will store food in your body, to give them energy through out the day. This will take Muslims away from another sin, of breaking the fast, because some Muslims might start to feel hungry and fatigued.

Muslims have to fast. It is compulsory. This is not a choice. Through fasting Muslims are showing your obedience and commitment to Allah. He has sent Muslims to this world to worship him and through fasting in the month of Ramadan, Muslims should show that they are his creation and they are thankful to him for creating them and this world.
The aims of Sawm are to develop self-control and overcome selfishness, greed and laziness. In addition Muslims must restrain from passion and appetite. Also to prepare for any real sufferings that may be faced later. Furthermore, in Ramadan Muslims will experience hunger, and therefore develop sympathy for the poor. An advantage is also that Muslims can gain spiritual strength. Another advantage is to experience companionship through shared ‘ordeals’.

Hadith

In the month of Ramadan, Allah has chained the devil in the cage; because Allah does not want his worshippers to follow the devil in any way, and wants them to worship him as much as they can.
There is also a Hadith Quote which states that, “There has to come to you Ramadan, a blessed month, in which Allah has made it obligatory to fast. During it the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of Hellfire are closed, and the rebellious devils are chained. In it is a night (Laylat al-Qadr) which is better than a thousand months. He who is deprived of its good truly has been deprived.” Hadith al-Bukhari - Volume 3: Book 31: Number 122-123
Ramadan in the Hadith is described as something auspicious and very special. This means that Allah has given Muslims an opportunity to fast in the month of Ramadan.  In the Hadith it states, that the gates of Hell are closed and the gates of Haven are open. So Allah will be happy with Muslims that fast in Ramadan. The Hadith also states that Laylat al‑Qadr is also important.
Itikaf is very important because it is a form of worship. It is formed by staying in a Mosque for a certain time. It is Ehtiyat that one should stay with the intention to worship Allah by praying formal or informal prayers although prayer is not a condition therein. The time for this form of worship could be anytime when one is allowed to fast. The best time is the month of Ramadan, especially, the last ten days.

Zakat is the third pillar of Islam, it is a duty for all those Muslims able and obliged (by financial situation) to pay. 2.5% of one's wealth each year to given to benefit the poor. The 2.5% rate only applies to cash, gold and silver, and commercial items. There are other rates for farm and mining produce, and for animals.
Zakat is also very important because during Ramadan Muslims are expected to be charitable. The word Zakat means to purify or cleanse. It is not a charity, but it is a duty performed by Muslims on a regular basis. It should be paid during the month of Ramadan, once a year. To a Muslim, the word 'Zakat' implies, "Any good deed that is done is purely for the sake of Allah (God), and not out of any selfish hope for getting reward for it."
It is a payment that makes the rest of one's wealth religiously and legally pure. It is a contribution paid once a year on savings at the rate of 2.5%. The money is paid for all the Muslims all over the world, who find great difficulty in attaining the most basic requirements and needs of life. Eid ul-Fitr is the last day for sending Zakat in the month of Ramadan.
The last ten days have a special place in Islam because among them comes Laylat al-Qadr (Night of Power). The Prophet said about this magnificent night, "Any Muslim who stands in prayer during the Night of Qadr out of faith and sincerity, his/her previous sins shall be forgiven."

The Islamic tradition holds that the Night of Power is the night that the first revelation of the Qur'an was sent down to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Muslims are instructed to "seek" the Night of Power during the last ten days of Ramadan, particularly on the odd nights (i.e. the 23rd, 25th and 27th).
"It is reported that the Prophet said: "Whoever stays up (in prayer and remembrance of Allah) on the Night of Qadr, fully believing (in Allah's promise of reward) and hoping to seek reward, he shall be forgiven for his past sins." (Bukhari & Muslim)

Muslims worldwide spend the last ten nights of Ramadan in solid devotion, retreating to the mosque to read Qur'an (I'tikaf), reciting special supplications (Du'a), and reflecting on the meaning of Allah's message to us. It is believed to be a time of intense spirituality, when the believers are surrounded by angels, the gates of heaven are open, and God's blessings and mercy are abundant.

The whole month of Ramadan is a time of renewal and reflection. As the month winds to a close, Muslims pray that the spirit of Ramadan and the lessons learned during this period. “O ye who believe! fasting is prescribed for you, even as it was prescribed for those before you that ye may ward off evil”. Al-Baqara (The Cow) - Surah 2: Verse 183
Ramadan is the month of intensive worship. Muslims worship Allah in Ramadan by their bodies, spirits, hearts, souls and minds. Abstaining from food and drink is not enough to have your fast complete.
fasting is good behaviour and straightforwardness in everything. We should fast against idle talk, bad feelings towards others, backbiting, insults, (false or unfounded) accusations and any harm that can touch any Muslim or fellow human.

Health

Health in Ramadan is vital, a fasting person learns to restrain and only responds to hunger and thirst in the heightened level of awareness and discipline. Through fasting a person begins to understand the value of food. In the Qur’an “healthy and wholesome food”

This is described as the best of provisions. Thus fasting helps a person choose a healthier lifestyle by making small yet lasting changes to one’s daily diet. Health is the key to happiness and what Muslims consume directly affects their health. Islam encourages Muslims to ensure that they are mindful of their health. The blessed Prophet said: “Take advantage of the good health before illnesses afflict you”.

He also encouraged Muslims to try their best to take up healthy living lifestyle that includes a balanced diet, regular mental and physical exercise and a balance between material and spiritual needs.
The month of Ramadan is a great opportunity to focus on bringing back a balanced and healthy lifestyle in a Muslim’s life. Through fasting a Muslim begins to learn how to manage their eating habits, how to exercises control and discipline themselves. This month requires one to give the stomach a break from a normal daily routine and by doing so one is able to break down and eject the accumulated toxins from the body.

The fasts of Ramadan can improve a Muslim’s health but they can just as easily worsen it. The deciding factor is not the fast itself, but rather what is consumed in the non-fasting hours. A diet that has less than a normal amount of food but is sufficiently balanced will keep a person healthy and active during the month of Ramadan. The diet should be simple and not differ too much from one’s normal everyday diet.

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