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? What is Ramadan ?
? When is Ramadan ?
? Ramadan - the Month of Training and Fasting
Ramadhan - Significance of Ramadan
Ramadan - Blessings of Month of Ramadhan 2005
Ramadhan - Medical Benefits of Fasting
? View complete Web Site on Medical Benefits of Fasting
? Ramadan Resources and Ramadan Duas
What is Ramadan ?
Being the fourth pillar of Islam known as Saum, or fasting, the month of Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar.
Muslims are required to observe a strict fast from dawn until dusk. Since a lunar month has about 30 days in it, the benefits achieved during this time is truly life-changing.
Reform programs such as diet fads, cold turkey denial, counseling, and alcohol and drug treatment programs are often unsuccessful, leading people to relapse into their self-destructive overindulgence.
Merely giving these vices up for a short period won't solve the problem.
Is there no way out of personal gluttony? The answer lies not in watching our weight with new pills or eating plans or in wearing a nicotine patch, but in the education of our soul and in curbing its desires from within.
Islam's cure starts with defining the problem as a spiritual identity crisis.
When we forget that God exists and is watching us, when we ignore our fitrah, or inner nature to seek God, when we fail to live according to God's good laws and forget the advice of the prophets, then we can fall prey to any self-destructive impulse.
The solution, then, must begin with strengthening the soul and then bringing the body along in step.
Islam carries with it a fasting component for this reason.
We can become better enlightened only when we rise above the flesh and recognize the force of our spirit, our very human will.
The Qur'an explains the purpose of fasting in this way:
"You who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed
for those before you, so you can gain more spiritual awareness."
(Holy Quran 2:183)
Because the Quran has given fasting in Ramadan the status of a religious duty, whose neglect is sinful, the conscientious person resolves to complete the fasting period and this is where the real transformation takes place.
When the new moon is sighted, signaling the beginning of the month of Ramadan, Muslims gather and say this duas:
"God is Great, God is Great, God is Great.
Praise be to God Who created me and you and Who decreed
for you the phases [of the moon] and made you a sign for the universe."
Then a short dua is quietly said in which we dedicate ourselves to fasting in this month.
Night of Power - the Glory of Ramadan
One particular night of Ramadan has extra special significance.
It is the exact night when the Qur'anic revelation was first revealed to Muhammad s.a.w.in the year 610 C.E. It is known as Laylat ul Qadr, or the Night of Power.
According to the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w, it falls on one of the odd-numbered nights in the last 10 days of Ramadan. Many Muslims stay up all night seeking the Lord's forgiveness and guidance.
During the last 10 days of Ramadan, some Muslims perform what is known as I'tikaf, or Retreat. This consists of living in the prayer area of the mosque for up to 10 days, venturing out only for showers and similar legitimate needs.
Prayer, study, and duas are the attendant activities.
The Holy Month of Training in Islam
What are some of the lessons learned by participating in the Ramadan fast?
You would be surprised at the variety. The month of Ramadan provides a sort of spiritual and moral "boot camp." We know that fasting in Ramadan is a duty from God and that any sins may spoil our record of fasting, so we take great pains to be on our best behavior. This intense modification of our habits is designed to help us avoid such sins throughout the rest of the year.
The Blessed Prophet once remarked, "Whoever doesn't give up lying and acting on lies during fasting, then God has no need of him giving up food and drink."
On another occasion he warned, "There are many people who get nothing from fasting except hunger and thirst." Clearly, the moral dimension is as important as the physical aspects of fasting.
The lessons learned during Ramadan are many. We learn what it means to be hungry, so we feel more compassion for the poor. We understand how close we are to leaving this world at any moment and how much we depend on food and liquids.
We learn to control our animal urges and passions, and we clear our minds and thoughts for serious remembrance of God. We restrain our anger, and we train our habits toward prayer, forgiveness, self-sacrifice, and good behavior. By curtailing sex for the whole day, we force ourselves to train our bodies to obey our will and not to be licentious. There is nothing like the Muslim fast of Ramadan in any other religion for realizing personal reform and self-mastery.
The reward for a successful Ramadan is no less than the forgiveness of all our sins. Imagine wiping the slate clean with God!
Salam magsukol ha pagpasawa mo. Eid mubarak