Egyptian Muslim women gather to pray under a statue of the late Egyptian diva Umm Kulthum as they celebrate Eid al-Adha on the main street of the Nile Delta city of Mansoura.
Being a Muslim, Allah only asks for one thing from his believer to surrender; prostrate in front of him only, and submit his body and soul on His true guided path. Human life is full of uncertainties. What will happen tomorrow or even in the next hour we cannot be sure of? The core reason behind this natural phenomenon is that we are not the owner of our lives. Allah has created us from a clot of blood and he is our true creator thus only him Subhana wa Tallah owns us. Therefore, every act that we perform in daily life should be seeking His blessings and enlighten path that will lead us to which he promised us to give.
A Muslim is well-occupied with defined beliefs. Whenever a Muslim has to perform a task in future or whenever a decision has to be made regarding foreseeable time; he/she always uses the word insha’Allah. This word has power and magic in its meaning. Because when by predicting a moment or taking a stance for future you say insha’Allah, it means you have full faith in the inevitable event whether it favors one’s resolution or he may face failure in the choice that he has picked up. In case of unaccomplished task, a person does not have to be hold back with Allah Subhana wa Tallah’s will and wish.
Something is always special in Allah Subhana wa Tallah’s decision that is not apparent at the spur of moment but afterwards when time passes, a Muslim truly understands why Allah Subhana wa Tallah has not pushed him/her towards a particular direction. The word insha’Allah is not an ordinary set of characters. When you are reciting these letters; it actually raises your stance in front of Allah Subhana wa Tallah that you blindly trust Him.
Allah Subhana wa Tallah has crafted everything of this world magnificently therefore, there are some special astounding creatyres made by Him which truly fascinate our minds. Pure souls on earth occupied with love and affection for Allah Subhana wa Tallah and his messengers; especially his beloved Hazrat Muhammad (P.B.U.H), always admire the beauty that has been all around us in the shape of flowers, fruits, mountains, valleys, lakes or even the stream of galaxies and stars in sky.
By seeing such wonderful things, if we say masha’Allah that means we are actually admiring Allah Subhana wa Tallah’s beautifully designed creatures on earth, comprised of splendor and full of brilliance. These holy words should be part of our prayers through which we can attain good virtues. Every time when we say these glorious words, they add in our good book of accounts that is kept by Allah Subhana wa Tallah. In Qur’an, Allah Subhana wa Tallah has said many times to use these words commonly throughout entire life in every verdict to become protected from wrong thoughts and perceptions.
Islam is a religion of peace and unity. The core of Islamic values hides in love and respect for each other that has to be spread across the whole human civilization. Islam is composed of a circle of norms and customs whose focal point revolves around positive thoughts and purity of soul. A person never gets an access of positive path unless he doesn’t come out of his arrogant and conservative behavior. On the other hand, a person, whose thoughts and acts are based on optimism; signifies the purity and clarity of spiritual divine.
Allah Almighty has spread His magic in every corner of universe. If a person has strong faith in supremacy and greatness of Allah Almighty then natural beauty designed by Him will seem to be the most diversifying masterpieces ever captured by human’s eye. But people with fewer values believe that human is the only supreme authority in the world and can get good control over whatever the matters are running around. They can never be satisfied from the core of their heart just like a true believer always remains in peace.
When a person declares his/her soul and body in accordance with Allah’s will and wish, bundle of blessings that have been stored by Allah for a person open up and shower on that person throughout his/her life. Human character is totally based on the upbringing and the surrounded environment in which he/she breathes since his/her childhood. If a person always wants to shut his mind’s doors and let ignorance keep on entering the heart, the secrets that have to be revealed would always be kept hidden.
It always depends on how you want to lead your way of life. You can go with the defined principles of Allah Almighty or you can create your own path too. But one thing you must keep in mind is that Allah has created human with good intellect, so that he/she can fairly identify difference between good and bad and Islamic values are the true companion for living on this planet. A person who lives in accordance with Islamic customs and adapts according to what has been said to mankind then his life would become easier, free from troubles.
One should always think positively. If something comes bad then it doesn’t mean that life is stopped and there is no way out. Your inner beauty and innocence will show you a right path and will guide you to choose the best for your life. When your heart is pure and free from limitations, you will automatically enjoy the beauty of life and will understand the soul of Allah’s preaching. In order to own a pure and clean soul, start correcting yourself instead of pointing others.
What is the history of Ramadan?
Ramadan is the 9th month of the Arabian calendar. The term Ramadan literally means scorching in Arabic. It was established as a Holy Month for Muslims after the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad in 610 CE on the occasion known as Laylat al-Qadr, frequently translated as “the Night of Power.
Observance of Ramadan is mandated in the Quran, Surah 2, Ayah 185:
“The month of Ramadhan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey – then an equal number of other days. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful.”
What are the dates of Ramadan?
Because the cycle of the lunar calendar does not match the solar calendar, the dates of Ramadan shifts by approximately 11 days each year. In 2011, Ramadan began on August 1st. In 2012 Ramadan is likely to begin on July 20th.
The ending of Ramadan is marked by the holiday of Eid ul-Fitr, which takes place either 29 or 30 days after the beginning of the month. On Eid ul-Fitr, morning prayers are followed by feasting and celebration among family and friends. This year Eid ul-Fitr will most probably fall on Sunday, August 19th.
What are the daily fasting requirements?
During the month of Ramadan, most Muslims fast from dawn to sunset with no food or water. Before sunrise many Muslims have the Suhur or predawn meal. At sunset families and friends gather for Iftar which is the meal eaten by Muslims to break the fast. Many Muslims begin the meal by eating dates as the Prophet used to do.
This ritual fast known as, Sawm, is one of the five pillars of Islam, and requires that individuals abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and sexual intercourse.
To find the specific times for Ramadan fasting, click over to this helpful tool provided by IslamiCity that allows you to calculate prayer schedules — including sunup and sundown — by entering your city or zip code.
What are the expectations towards charity?
Charity is an important part of Ramadan. The fast emphasizes self-sacrifice and using the experience of hunger to grow in empathy with the hungry. During Ramadan, Muslim communities work together to raise money for the poor, donate clothes and food, and hold iftar dinners for the less fortunate.
What scriptural study do Muslims take part in?
Many Muslims use Ramadan to read the entire Quran or read the Quran daily. Many communities divide the Quran into daily reading segments that conclude on Eid ul-Fitr at the end of Ramadan.
Can non-Muslims participate?
Non-Muslims are free to participate in Ramadam. Many non-Muslims fast and even pray with their Muslim friends or family members. Non-Muslims are often invited to attend prayer and iftar dinners.
Those wishing to be polite to someone who is fasting for Ramadan may greet them with Ramadan Mubarak or Ramadan Kareem, which mean Have a Blessed or Generous Ramadan.
Should Muslims with diabetes fast?
Fasting during Ramadan is discouraged for patients with diabetes by the American Diabetes Association.
“In keeping with this, a large epidemiological study conducted in 13 Islamic countries on 12,243 individuals with diabetes who fasted during Ramadan showed a high rate of acute complications.”
However, the study says this was not conclusive. Many diabetic patients fasted with no complications. Patients with diabetes should work with their doctors to figure out a strategy if they choose to fast.
What is the ‘goal’ of Ramadan?
In general, the practices of Ramadan are meant to purify oneself from thoughts and deeds which are counter to Islam. By removing material desires, one is able to focus fully on devotion and service to God. Many Muslims go beyond the physical ritual of fasting and attempt to purge themselves of impure thoughts and motivations such as anger, cursing, and greed.
Do all Muslims take part in Ramadan fasting?
Most Muslims believe Ramadan fasting is mandatory, but there are some groups that do not. Pregnant or breastfeeding mothers, people who are seriously sick, travelers, or those at health risk should not fast. Children that have not gone through puberty are also not required to fast during the month Ramadan.
The ninth month of the Islamic calendar, when Muslims around the globe refrain during the day from eating and drinking, begins July 20.
Lebanese orphans play traditional drums during a ceremony to celebrate the coming Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan in Beirut.
ANWAR AMRO / AFP/GETTY IMAGES
Muslim female detainees offer prayers during a gathering in the yard at the Narathiwat jail in Thailand’s restive southern Narathiwat province. The Thai government opened the doors of a prison for relatives to visit their loved ones, welcoming the holy month of Ramadan.
MADAREE TOHLALA / AFP/GETTY IMAGES
A vendor cleans Ramadan lanterns displayed for sale at a shop ahead of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan in Cairo.
AMR ABDALLAH DALSH / REUTERS
Iraqis shop for food at a market as they prepare for Ramadan in Baghdad’s Sadr City.
AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP/GETTY IMAGES
Laborers put up a tarp to shade the area in front of the Dome of the Rock in preparation for Ramadan on the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, where the Al-Aqsa mosque (not seen) also stands, in Jerusalem’s Old City.
DARREN WHITESIDE / REUTERS
A Bahraini woman gestures as she prepares treats and refreshments for children and passersby inside a decorated area in front of her home in the western village of Malkiya, Bahrain.
Hasan Jamali / AP
A Bahraini man arranges decorations in Malkiya for a celebration of the birthday of Imam Mahdi, grandson of Islam’s founding prophet. The event, known as Nasfa and most widely celebrated in Shiite Muslim areas, is held on the full moon night midway through the Islamic month preceding the holy month of Ramadan.
Hasan Jamali / AP
What’s on the table for Ramadan? Plenty.
If you were expecting kebabs and more kebabs, think again. Food served during the Islamic observance is as diverse as the Muslim world itself. Ramadan, which lasts one month and starts on Friday this year, focuses on spirituality and inner reflection, with observers fasting from just before sunrise to sunset.
The structure of Ramadan (ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar) is fairly simple. Two main meals are eaten, often with the family and with friends – “suhoor” before dawn, and “iftar” just after sundown. During the day, observers take in nothing – no food or water – although there are exceptions for people who can’t maintain the fast for health or other reasons.
The month ends with EidulFitr (eedull-fitter), sometimes a big feast and other times a more humble affair, where friends and family often get together to share food and celebrate.
Observant Muslims are required to eat food that is “halal,” meaning it meets Islamic dietary guidelines for what is permissible. Other than that, the food served is dictated by culture and preference. And that can vary widely. In Morocco, one might eat lentil soups, in India, curry, and in Indonesia, kolak, a fruit dessert.
One thing just about every Ramadan meal has in common is dates. Most observers break their fast with dates because this is what the prophet Muhammad did. (According to Muslim beliefs, Ramadan is when the Qur’an, the Muslim scripture, was first revealed to Muhammad.) Observers usually are eager to offer each other dates to break the fast as a gesture of good will and to aid fellow worshippers in breaking the fast.
Another benefit to dates is they’re an excellent way to restore blood sugars.
“Whether you’re from Senegal or Detroit, you’ll try to break your fast with dates,” says Yvonne Maffei, a food writer and recipe developer who publishes the website myhalalkitchen.com.
Meals often start with a crunchy appetizer, perhaps a samosa in Pakistan or an egg roll in China, then move on to soups; people don’t typically jump into meat dishes, though they likely will be served at some point during the meal.
“Whether you’re Chinese Muslim or American Muslim, you’re going to have meat on the table because it’s considered important to feed and nourish your guests,” says Maffei.
In the United States, food choices are even broader, with traditions from different cultures often finding a place on the same buffet.
“It’s just becoming very interesting as these children of immigrants who’ve come from Muslim countries with different flavour profiles, different preferences – have begun mixing and replacing many foods, doing a lot of fun things and that’s changing the landscape of our table during Ramadan,” says Maffei. “Buffets look very different than they did 10 years ago.”