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What is Ramadan about? | Guest Post

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(Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or medical professional; This is not medical advice or scientific fact; the following article is simply my personal findings on studying Covid-19 via the internet. The following article is not intended for anything more than a personal opinion piece.)


Guest Post By Abdun-Nafay Khawaja

“Ramaḍān is the month

in which Qur’an was sent down as a guide to the mankind, and (containing) clear signs to the right path and as a judgement (between right and wrong). So whoever happens to be present (at home) in Ramaḍān, should fast during it …”[1]

Ramadan is the longest-lasting of all traditional Muslim celebrations, and is seen as a time of fasting, prayer and donating to the poor, followed by a big festival known as Eid al-Fitr. Ramadan is originally one month of the lunar Islamic calendar, therefore lasting for 29-30 days at varying periods once every year.[2] Here, our objective is to briefly introduce you to the rites and practices most Muslims perform during this holy month and what is the message behind Ramadan.

[1] Holy Qur’an, 2 : 185.
[2] The lunar year is approximately eleven days shorter than the solar one commonly used.

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Fasting

The ritual of fasting at daytime during Ramadan is explicitly mentioned in the Qur’an and is considered obligatory for every adult in good health and at home.[3] The fasting lasts from dawn to sunset, during which the believers abstain from eating, drinking and engaging in sexual activity. In practice, many Muslims try to abstain from all kinds of sins during the fasting period which they otherwise engage in.[4] The message behind fasting is not only to better acknowledge the immense blessings God has provided to the mankind, but also to feel sympathy with the poor people in the community who, quite literally, fast during the whole year. The practice of fasting also instills patience in the believer. These points were enumerated by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) himself in a famous Prophetic Tradition:-

“And it is the month of patience, the reward of patience being (entry into) Paradise. And it is the month of sympathy.”[5]

Modern research into the Islamic way of fasting has also revealed some health benefits of the practice under proper conditions.[6]
[3] The remaining days of fasting, left due to travel or health-related issues (including pregnancy and old age), are completed any time after the Ramadan is over.
[4] I can personally name over a dozen individuals who perform the daily prayers only during Ramadan, a common practice in some regions of the Muslim world.
[5] The Ṣaḥīḥ by Ibn Khuzaimah (a well-known collection of Prophetic Traditions), no. 1887.
[6] A good summary can be found here.

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Taraweeh Prayers

An additional widespread practice, although not technically obligatory, is the large congregational prayer known as Tarawīḥ, performed at night after the fast ends. The traditions surrounding Taraweeh differ widely across the Muslim countries, with long (mostly up to one hour) prayers being observed in South Asia, East Asia and some Arab countries, while short prayers (as low as 15 minutes) being common in the Caucasus and most Arab countries. The Taraweeh is usually a big congregation with an important social aspect, providing an opportunity to establish daily contact between people who do not usually meet otherwise.[7] The last Taraweeh of the month is sometimes followed by a small celebration just preceding the Eid, known as “Khatm”.[8]

[7] These are commonly called “Taraweeh Friends”.
[8] However, it is common to perform the Khatm a few days before the last Taraweeh in South Asia.

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Charity

Ramadan is a period of sympathy and charity for most Muslims around the world. Encouraged in the religious texts, it is one of the most recognised practices associated with Ramadan. Muslims all over the world multiply their donations during the month of Ramadan, with one study finding an increase of about five times in the UK compared to an average month.[9] It is common practice to pay the obligatory annual charity (2.5 % Zakah) during Ramadan, although it can be paid any time during the year. Similarly, the Eid festival after Ramadan commences with a mandatory charity known as Fitr, enough to feed a poor family during the Eid. Overall, increase in charitable spending and Ramadan are inextricably linked to each other in the Islamic culture.

[9] https://bit.ly/2KbX6FW

Ramadan Mubarak - Happy Ramadan - 2020
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Eid

One of the most notable rites connected to Ramadan is the three-day long festival of Eid al-Fitr, commonly referred to as only Eid, which starts at the end of fasting period. Strictly speaking, the Eid has only two components preached by the religion, Eid Prayers (mostly offered on the first day late-morning) and expressing gratitude and happiness for the occasion. The festival, however, is abound with many regional customs everywhere it is celebrated, varying from the universal practice of holiday from work to preparing sweets at home and paying visit to relatives. Importantly, many non-Muslims in the Islamic countries also share the enthusiasm of their Muslim brethren in celebrating the national holiday.

This series will be continued next week
Abdun-Nafay Khawaja.

That Concludes Our Introduction To Ramadan!

You can expect more and more of these Guest Posts, Students! Abdun-Nafay will be back himself, with 3 more Guest Blog Posts throughout May! As Renaissance Rising is getting older and making friends, the guest blog spots are filling up! Make sure to come back tomorrow- Friday the 24th, to celebrate with RenRi over the 1 Month Anniversary of Renaissance Rising!

Law Matheson



Renaissance Rising: History In The Making - Information Worth Recording.

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