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.

Ramadan 480x800 Food in Ramadan reflects diversity of Muslim world

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.”

Read more: timescolonist.com

The month of Ramadan begins on Friday, July 20. Ramadan is a month greatly anticipated by Muslims around the world.

For 30 days, Muslims abstain from eating and drinking from dawn to sunset. Ramadan is a unique month that affects every aspect of social and spiritual life of Muslims. It is a month of devotion, intense spiritual introspection, social engagement, great benevolence and overwhelming generosity. A typical day in Ramadan begins with a pre-dawn meal, followed by the dawn prayer and a full day of fasting. The day ends with families, friends and neighbours gathering for a fast-breaking meal.

holy ramadan moon wide 480x800 Ramadan a month of introspection for Muslims

Following the meal, a nightly gathering takes place at the mosques where a special congregational prayer takes place every night during Ramadan. During the day, many spend their days reciting the holy book of Islam, the Qur’an. Ramadan ends with the celebration of Eid al-Fitr, one of the most important days of festivities in Islam.

Fasting in Ramadan isn’t just a ritual, but a means to a greater purpose. As stated in the Qur’an, the aim of fasting is to “attain righteousness.”

Fasting predates Islam and has a long history as a means of achieving spiritual efficacy. Fasting provides a unique opportunity to strengthen the willpower, to enhance endurance, to increase self-restraint and to control impulsive urges. Further, fasting opens the eyes to the struggles faced by the poor and invokes a sense of sympathy for their plight. Moreover, it creates a sense of appreciation for the good provisions of life, which many times are taken for granted and overlooked.

Al-Ghazzali (1058-1111 C.E.), the renowned theologian and mystic, in elaborating the spiritual dimensions of fasting, notes the simple abstention from food and drink is the simplest form of fasting. The real and substantive fasting is to go beyond the rituals and engage in self-restrain from evil thoughts, actions and impulses.

Ramadan brings out the best in humanity. During Ramadan, generosity peaks, people mend broken relationships, open their doors and reach out to others. Many find Ramadan an opportunity to rejuvenate themselves and to open a newer and more positive chapter in their life. Some find it an opportunity to free themselves from bad habits such as smoking, excessive consumption of coffee and other addictive behaviours.

The last 10 days of Ramadan are of great intensity. Some Muslims practise what is known as Itikaf for 10 days, during which they spend their time in the mosque engulfed in a full state of deep meditation, introspection and reflection that amounts to an all-encompassing spiritual journey.

Ramadan ends with an auspicious exercise of generosity. Every Muslim, including children, is required to give charity to the poor and the needy. The aim of this charity is to enable the poor to share in the celebrations and festivities that follow the end of Ramadan.

For those who truly experience Ramadan to its fullest extent, it is a transformative experience that enables people to rediscover the best within themselves. People come out of Ramadan physically shaped, spiritually nourished, socially engaged and mentally refreshed.

The challenge for Muslims isn’t the fasting itself, but the ability to fully absorb the deeper spiritual underpinnings of Ramadan and to carry its noble sentiments of generosity, forgiveness, mindfulness and devotion throughout the year.

Across Canada, neighbours of mosques notice a major surge in mosque attendance and greater activity, particularly at night. Some mosques and Muslim student bodies at universities open their doors to members of other faiths and invite them to experience the noble sentiments of Ramadan. Fast-a-Thon has been organized for a number of years across universities, including the University of Manitoba, where students from other faith groups fast for a full day. Many who have gone through this experience have found it challenging but very refreshing.

Source: winnipegfreepress.com

Ta’addud was Cultural?

Eid was busy as usual yesterday. Atleast we didn’t have three Eids this year in Pakistan, Alhamdulillah. A brother said, two Eids are good for ta’addud. Two wives, two eids icon smile Taaddud was Cultural?

Today we will look into the claim made by people that the Ta’addud praticed in the time of Rasool Allah صلي الله عليه وسلم was cultural and more due to cultural reasons than Islamic.

I will ask only Two Questions: (and answer them myself icon smile Taaddud was Cultural? )

Why did Rasool Allah صلي الله عليه وسلم stay with just ONE WIFE in all his prime years and go against the culture of Arabs at that time?

The reason is simple. Because Islam came to demolish all cultures except the Culture of Islam. Before Prophethood and the revelation of Islam in detail, Rasool Allah صلي الله عليه وسلم stayed away from all kind of cultural things and from Dunia itself. He stayed away from people and always tried to find the truth. He stayed with one wife for a long period of time. He went to the Cave and did Ibadah of Allah subhanahu for days. This clearly shows that He went against the culture of Arabs. So why did he marry later on? Simple, because He صلي الله عليه وسلم came to know from the detailed revelation of Islam that Nikah is an Ibadah and it is encouraged. That is why he practiced Ta’addud. (more…)

eid1 Allahu Akbar Allah Is the Greatest

{And (Allah desires) that you should complete the period (of Fasting), and that you should magnify Allah (saying Allahu Akbar) for having guided you, and that peradventure you may be thankful.} (A-Baqarah 2: 185)

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, la il Llaha il Allah! Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, wa li Llah il-Hamd!

Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest! Praise be to Allah! When Allah commands His servants to say “Allah is the Greatest” in Adhan (Call to Prayer), Prayer, and `Eid, and urges Muslims to wholeheartedly chant these sweet and beautiful words of praise and glory, that, despite of being soft on the tongue, are heavy on the scales (they command great reward on the Day of Judgment). (more…)

ramadan 480x477 Has Ramadan Made You a Better Muslim? (Share)
Ramadan comes to strengthen our hearts and endear us to piety, good morals, integrity, remembrance of Allah and acts of worship. It helps Muslims to achieve high levels of spirituality and steadfastness.

Ramadan is also a month of self-discipline. However, Ramadan is almost over now, so let’s ask ourselves: What impact did Ramadan have on us? Have we continued to perform our Prayers in the masjid regularly? Do we feel more inclined to read the Qur’an and ponder over its vast meanings? Are we still reading the Qur’an as regularly as we were during Ramadan?

Have we been able to give charity and lend a helping hand to those who need our assistance as we used to do during Ramadan? Or have we simply gone back to our previous lifestyle as if we had never witnessed Ramadan?

Now it is time for self assessment and reconsideration. We are asking: What kind of person have you become since Ramadan?

Feel free to share your contributions, feelings and experiences with us.

Source: http://www.onislam.net