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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Ramadan Articles

Ramadan Articles

  1. Ramadan Mubarak - Mike Ghouse
  2. The Spirit of Ramadan - Mike Ghouse
  3. A Prayer for Ramadan - Dr. Mustafa Sherwani
  4. Ramadan Mubarak - Jacob Bender
  5. Ramadan 2007- Mohammad Irtaza
  6. YES" to Seeing the Crescent, Ghayth Kashif
  7. 'Yes ' to Seeing the Crescent - Article
  8. Ramadan an operating Manual - Alan Border
  9. Ramadan - White house release

As usual, we will be spending a whole lot of time on the subject " When is the first day of Ramadan?" May I ask each one of us to respect what the other does?

Let's not become villains and destroy each others joy of Ramadan by making declarations about the others. Let's hold the temptations to declare others wrong... let Allah decide that on the day of Judgment. It is all about our niyya, and our intentions!

Please ask your friends to stop it. Stop them from propagating ill-will about others. Let's apply principle even internally....then we will not waste our time on conflict and spend instead on the imbibing the true spirit of Ramadan.

Congratulations to those who begin Ramadan on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. All are valid paths to the believer. May Allah bless us all with the spirit of Ramadan.

Jazak Allah Khair

Mike Ghouse
http://www.worldmuslimcongress.com/ - http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/

Ramadan Mubarak

May God bless you and your family with joy, peace and prosperity.

The following is not the original writing, it is a compilation of sorts, particulary for friends who may not know anything about Ramadan.

Muslims celebrate the joyous festival of Eid Al-Fitr, at the end of month long fasting. They attend special congregational prayers in the morning and greet each other with "Eid Mubarak," or "Holiday Blessings." And also "Ramadan Mubarak" (Ramzan is the Subcontinentian version of the pronunciation). You can greet with any one of the above phrases.
The Qur'an was first revealed to Prophet Muhammad during the month of Ramadan. The month is a special time of worship, Qur'an reading, charitable acts, and individual reflection and purification.
Eid Fitr *1 is a reward to humans for striving to temper the souls through restraint and offering of special prayers during the holy month of Ramadan in humble thankfulness and sincere gratitude for the countless mercies, blessings and favors of our Creator which we enjoy in our daily life. Committed devotees abstain from anything that any society considers ill - and come out of this month with a sense of humility, piety, pureness in thoughts, actions and speech.

*1 one of the most important principles of Islam is that all things belong to God and that wealth is therefore held by human beings in trust. The word zakat means both 'purification' and 'growth'. Our possessions are purified by setting aside a proportion for those in need, and, like the pruning of plants, this cutting back balances and encourages new growth.
Each Muslim calculates his or her own zakat individually. For most purposes this involves the payment each year of two and a half percent of one's capital.

A pious person may also give as much as he or she pleases as sadaqa, and does so preferably in secret. Although this word can be translated as 'voluntary charity' it has a wider meaning. The Prophet said 'even meeting your brother with a cheerful face is charity.'

The Prophet said: 'Charity is a necessity for every Muslim. 'He was asked: 'What if a person has nothing?' The Prophet replied: 'He should work with his own hands for his benefit and then give something out of such earnings in charity.' The Companions asked: 'What if he is not able to work?' The Prophet said: 'He should help poor and needy persons.' The Companions further asked 'What if he cannot do even that?' The Prophet said 'He should urge others to do well.' The Companions said 'What if he lacks that also?' The Prophet said 'He should check himself from doing evil. That is also charity.'

According to the Holy Qur'an, Allah says, "I have created only jinn and man that they may serve and worship me." (Qur'an, 51:56). Beyond feasting and festivities, Eid Fitr is also an ibadah (worship). Ibadah is the most vital duty of man towards his Maker and includes all actions which are performed in obedience to and for the pleasure of Allah. The concept of ibadah (worship) in Islam is all too comprehensive and encompasses the whole spectrum of human conduct covering both fulfilling obligations to Allah (Huquq-al-Ibad) and obligations towards fellow-beings (Huquq-al'Ibad). Fulfillment of both Huquq Allah and Huquq-al-'Ibad must be integrated to attain success as true adherents of Allah.

All good deeds are included in ibadah and consistent observance of ibadah creates taqwa (Godliness) which consists of complete submission to the will of God. The Prophets of God succeeded in making people observe their duty to God and to their fellow beings through the force of taqwa.

Mike Ghouse


The spirit of Ramadan

Fasting in Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, is
generally taught with ritual precision: abstaining from food, drink
and intimate relations from dawn to dusk. Ironically, Ramadan is best
known,whether by Muslims or others the world over for its exotic
culinary delicacies.

Ramadan, however, has nothing to do with feasting. The spirit and
intent of Ramadan lies in a human transformation, with hunger and
thirst being merely the first stage, the external dimension, in a
month-long inner journey of struggle and discovery.

For starters, fasting is not solely about hunger and thirst. The
prophet taught that God has no need for the hunger and thirst of
someone who hurts others, violates their dignity or usurps their
rights.The fasting of the stomach must be matched by the fasting of
the limbs.The eyes, ears, tongue, hands and feet all have their
respective fasts to undergo. The tongue's temptations, for example -
lies, backbiting, slander, vulgarity and senseless argumentation -
must be challenged and curbed to maintain the integrity of the fast.

Consciousness of behaviour and vigilance over action are meant to lead
to the most profound dimension of fasting: the fasting of the heart in
focus on, and attachment to, the divine. It is then that Ramadan
really becomes a source of peace and solace.

Fasting is meant to impart a sense of what it means to be truly human.

We are more than the sum of our parts, more than mere material
creatures or a series of conditioned responses. Different traditions
have different names for it - soul, spirit, heart - but almost all
argue that we possess an essence beyond our physical body. It is
perhaps this recognition that accounts for the fact that fasting is a
common practice in other faith traditions.

True fasting is self-purification and, from this, a rich inner life
embellished with values such as justice, generosity, patience,
kindness forgiveness, mercy and empathy - values that are
indispensable, especially mercy and empathy, to communal life as we
know it.

The world has shrunk but so, it seems, has our empathy for one

Perhaps we should ask why is it so difficult to connect with others?

One reason is that knowing about hunger is different from knowing
hunger. Empathy is not an intellectual equation; it is a human
experience. In our ivory towers, we are typically spectators to the
human drama around us. Our hardness of heart often springs from our
distance from the human condition of others. The poor, sick,
disenfranchised, oppressed - we have rarely walked a mile in their
shoes, or even just a few footsteps. "Rest assured," cautioned one
teacher, "if you do not taste what it feels like to be hungry, you
will not care for those who are."

That 1.2 billion Muslims are fasting concurrently speaks to the
universality of fasting in transcending the barriers of geography,
colour and race. For fasting to be truly universal, however, its
benefits must extend beyond the fraternal ties of Muslims and must
extend to forging a common humanity with others. Each one of us must
look within.

As an abrupt break in our annual routine, Ramadan will come and go
with such stealth that we cannot but be reminded of our mortality.
What is it that we value and why? The food and drink, previously
indulged in with a sense of necessity, even urgency, were reduced
with no dire consequence.Habits, customs, obsessive behaviours like
smoking, too, were curtailed with relative ease in the face of a
higher calling. What does it mean to be a global citizen living in
Canada, a land of tremendous privilege? How much of me is really an
algorithm of consumption?

Though the annual ritual of fasting takes 30 days, its true
destination is endless. May we always hunger to discover our heart.

Mike Ghouse


A Prayer for Ramadan

MAY the sacred moon of the coming holy month,
Appear with an unprecedented glory and grace;
To become the harbinger of a new watershed,
Which transforms mankind's values and face.

MAY the force of penitence,hunger and thirst,
Conquer the vices of revenge,rancour and greed;
To pave the way for love,affection and solicitude,
Which make this humanity an angelic creed.

MAY the showers of Divine Blessings in abundance,
Give solace to the world, and make it meek and mild
To cover the angry globe with heavenly ambience,
Which enfolds within itself each man,woman and child
------------ --------- --------- --------- ---------
Dr. Mustafa Kamal Sherwani,LL. D.
Former President, All India Muslim Forum
3,Sherwani Nagar, Sitapur Road, Lucknow
Email:sherwanimk@ yahoo. com
Mobile:+ 91-9919777909


Dear Friends,

As many of you know, following the attacks of September 11, 2001, I embarked upon an ambitious film project originally called “Reason and Revelation.” My goals were to increase the knowledge of the great contributions of Islamic civilization to the West; confront the so-called “clash of civilizations” theory and the spread of Islamophobia in the American media; and highlight the long centuries of Jewish-Muslim coexistence throughout the Umma.

I am happy to report that, six years after beginning, my production team and I can finally see the end of our journey. The documentary will now focus on two wise men of Al-Andalus, Ibn Rushd (Averroes) the Muslim, and Ibn Maymun (Maimonides) the Jew. Now titled "Out of Cordoba" (the birthplace of both philosophers), the film is scheduled to be finished in Spring of 2008. Hundreds of people around the world --- Muslims, Jews, and Christians --- offered me their assistance, encouragement, and support. The film has received major grants from HRH Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and the Kingdom Foundation of Saudi Arabia, the Foreign Ministry of Spain, and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, in addition to dozens of other contributions from Muslim, Jewish, and Christian organizations and individuals. The film would never have gotten off the ground but for their, and your, generous help.

The attached PDF file is a Project Update which describes the inspiring interfaith events that I have participated in, and details the scenes of the documentary which have already been filmed.
Finally, we are still in need of some additional funds to complete the final shooting, editing, and music score for "Out of Cordoba." Any additional donations to the film would be most appreciated. (A donation form is found on Page 7 of the attachment.)

Warm Regards and Ramadan Mubarak,

Jacob Bender
Director, Out of Cordoba: Averroes and Maimonides in Their Time and Ours
Co-Founder, "Abraham's Bridge: A Jewish-Muslim Dialogue" (www.abrahamsbridge.org)
224 West 29th Street, 12th Floor, New York, NY 10001, USA
Tel: 212 564 9605, Fax: 866 312 0670
Email: reasonrevelation@aol.com


Mohammad Irtaza
Ramadan 2007, USA / September 12– October 11

Ramadan 2007
September 12– October 11
God willing Ramadan begins on September 12, 2007 and ends on October 11, 2007 for North America (and all parts of the Western hemisphere). The Night of Destiny (Night of Power) will be on October 7, 2007 God willing.

The new moon times to be used for determining the beginning and ending of Ramadan are given below for UT (Universal time) – also called GMT (Greenwich Mean Time).
12:44 p.m. on September 11, 2007
5:01 a.m. on October 11, 2007

The information reported is based on data from the U.S. Naval Observatory, Astronomical Applications Department.

The actual time for each time zone is relative to UT.
To calculate the Ramadan start date, compare the time of the New Moon with the Sunset in your location. If the new moon is born before sunset, you should fast the next day God willing. *
Similarly to determine the last day of fasting, compare the time of the next New Moon with the sunset in your location. If the new moon is born before sunset, the month of Ramadan is complete on that day.

Phases of the moon data (including the new moon) for 2006 and up are available at the US Naval Observatory. All times are in UT. To convert to your time zone you can use the Time Zone Converter.

* For the year 2007 or other years and for your specific location you can visit theUSNO Sun/Moon daily data page. Calculate the information for the date you are interested. Compare the time of sunset with the time for the new moon (in local time).


Ghayth kashif" - "YES" to Seeing the Crescent, "NO" to Calculations


Dear Bro. Erooth:

Will using only the visible "sighting" help the Muslims in Alaska to be accurately in accord?

I understand that no such ability to calculate was available during the time of the Prophet (saaw) therefore "sighting" provided the determination for the beginning of the Month. You might get a sense of how Allah"s Wisdom of handling issues of which we may differ by observing following Ayah's relative to resolutions of given problems. .
(We must move from the "surface" to the "deeper meanings" that Allah provides for us through His Ayats:

You may not see the relevance (and relationship to this issue in the following Ayat of Allah, but it is clearly there). Muslims (as you know, differ, sometimes bitterly--- as they do about prayer directions, et al)

Allah says: "To God belong the east and the West: Whithersoever ye turn, there is the presence of God. For God is all-Pervading, all-Knowing. (2:115)

This response provides a resolution of the debates about "sightings" as well. During the time of Rasulllah (saaw), there was purportedly arguments among Muslims in Mecca about the time of the earlier sightings in Syria, and the Prophet reportedly calmed the disagreement by saying the Syrian people's sighting (though slightly earlier) was sufficient for their beginning of Ramadan. (Allah knows best re the Ahadith).

Also Allah resolves discussions (of some Muslims) about the relevance and/or importance of Allah's Attributes vis-a-vis His Names. Even disputes have arisen relative to the Importance, one Attribute over the the other. Allah is All Wise and Knows All. He says: "Call upon God, or call upon Rahman: by whatever name ye call upon Him, (it is well): for to Him belong the Most Beautiful Names. Neither speak thy Prayer aloud, nor speak it in a low tone, but seek a middle course between (17:110)

(The latter sentence in the above Ayah speaks of balance, moderation in "tone" and actions as a means of contemplating his Attributes. Such approach helps us to avoid the "extremes" in our conflicting claims.)

Allah warns of those before us:

"Mankind was one single nation, and God sent Messengers with glad tidings and warnings; and with them He sent the Book in truth, to judge between people in matters wherein they differed; but the People of the Book, after the clear Signs came to them, did not differ among themselves, except through selfish contumacy. God by His Grace Guided the believers to the Truth, concerning that wherein they differed. For God guided whom He will to a path that is straight of your differences, ("2.213.)

May Allah keep you well.

Bro Kashif

'Yes ' to Seeing the Crescent, 'No' to Calculations

Contents - Question & Answers:

[1] We should rely on sighting of the moon, not on calculations

Praise be to Allah. (excerpt----full text previously sent to recipents---gnk)

Islam is easy and its rules apply to everyone, mankind and jinn alike, regardless of whether they are scholars or illiterate, settled or nomadic. So Allah made it easy for them to know the times for the acts of worship, and made their beginning and end signs which everyone can know. He made the setting of the sun the sign for the beginning of Maghrib and the end of 'Asr, and He made the disappearance of the red glow in the sky the sign of the beginning of the time of 'Isha'. He made the sighting of the moon after its disappearance at the end of the month the sign of the beginning of the new lunar month and the end of the previous month. He did not give us the task of knowing the beginning of the lunar month from something which is known to only a small number of people, namely astronomy and its calculations. Thus the texts of the Quran and Sunnah make the actual sighting of the new moon the signal for the Muslims to start fasting Ramadan; they stop fasting when they see the new moon of Shawwaal; the dates of Eid al-Adhaa and Yawm 'Arafaat are similarly determined. Allah says (interpretation of the meanings): "… So whoever among you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadan),he must observe sawm (fast) that month…" [al-Baqarah 2:185] .........................

While it may not appear of due significance, it is yet important to note that Allah did not say what is in the preferences, but such words are inserted by the given translator and may not appear in other varied translations)----(not stated for a point of debate, but for awareness as we read the Qu'ran)---gnk


PRESIDENTIAL MESSAGE: RAMADAN, 2007. White House Press Release, 9/12/07

Ramadan, A Renewal Month
by Mahnaz Shabbir

As I think of this article about Ramadan, my first thoughts are not positive ones because it brings memories of discrimination that I faced as a child while growing up. It was Ramadan 1972 in Willingboro, New Jersey. I was in the sixth grade, something happened that altered how I thought of myself. My cousins had just emigrated from India. One of my cousins was in the same grade.

My cousin’s teacher wanted to know why he wasn’t eating. Not satisfied with the explanation of the Islamic fasting month, he came to my classroom and demanded, “Why isn’t your cousin eating?” I explained Ramadan as best as a 12year old could while also wishing my cousin didn’t go to my school. It was at that moment that a sentence was handed down to me. A sentence that said, I Am Different.

For years I struggled with “being different”. As I grew older, the meaning of Ramadan became clearer and now I look forward to this time of spiritual growth. Yet, not much has changed in regards to education of non-Muslims about this month.

Today, I know there is a need for tremendous education of our school systems, employers and neighbors. A couple of years ago, I developed a fact sheet that I presented to the School Superintendent and the principals of the school district that my children attend. You will find this fact sheet after this article. Copy the page and it out to non-Muslims. Please consider sharing this with your children’s teachers, principals and superintendents.

Also, please consider hosting an iftar at your work. Invite your boss and your fellow employees. Host an iftar for your neighbors. Host an iftar for your children’s friends.
Share with them the meaning of Ramadan, our holy month.

When I was growing up, I had to deal with “being different”. Now our children are dealing with our religion being portrayed in a negative way due to others using the name of our faith incorrectly. Let us welcome the month of Ramadan with the Prophet’s sermon on the next page. We need to give our children the tools to feel confident about who they are and that starts with us being leaders in various communities today.

About the Author: Mahnaz Shabbir lives in Stilwell, Kansas. She is a first generation American Muslim Woman. Her parents immigrated to the United States in the 1950s from India. She was born in Philadelphia and has lived in the Kansas City area for the last 28 years. She is the mother of 4 boys-second generation Americans. She is the President of Shabbir Advisors, an integrated strategic management company that focuses on strategic management and diversity training. She is past President of the Heartland Muslim Council.

Ramadan: A Fact Sheet For Teachers and Parents

Islam is one of the world's major religions, and is the final link in the Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition of monotheism (belief in One God). Islam has two major religious celebrations.
One of them, known as Eid al-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice), takes place during the time of the Hajj, or annual pilgrimage to the city of Mecca (in modern-day Saudi Arabia).
The other celebration occurs after the completion of Ramadan, the Islamic month during which Muslims (believers in Islam) fast daily from dawn to sunset as part of an effort towards self-purification and betterment. This holiday is known as Eid al-Fitr (Festival of Breaking the Fast).

The Lunar Calendar
Among the most important duties for a Muslim is fasting during the Islamic month of Ramadan, which is the ninth of the twelve months in the Islamic lunar calendar.
Muslims use a lunar calendar for many of their religious observances. A new month in the lunar calendar is determined by the appearance of a new crescent moon.
As a result, dates of events in the Islamic lunar year "move forward" about 11 days every year.

The Importance of Ramadan
Ramadan is important for Muslims is because it is believed to be the month in which the first verses of the Holy Qur’an (the divine scripture) were revealed by Allah (God) to Prophet Muhammad (570-632 C.E.).

Muslims consider the Qur’an to be God's speech recorded in the Arabic language, and transmitted to humanity through Muhammad, who is considered the last of the prophets.
This tradition of God-chosen prophets or messengers is believed to include such figures as Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and Jesus.

During Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn to sunset every day. This means not consuming food and drink, including water, during the daylight hours.
For married adults, it also includes refraining from marital relations during the hours of fasting (i.e. the daylight hours).

In the Arabic language, fasting is known as Sawm. Muslims arise early in the morning during Ramadan to have a pre-dawn breakfast meal, known as Suhoor. At the end of the day, the fast is completed by taking the Iftar meal, which usually includes dates, fresh fruits, appetizers, beverages and dinner.

Why Muslims Fast
For Muslims, fasting has a number of benefits:

1. It helps one to feel compassion for those who are less fortunate and underprivileged, since each day Muslims feel greater appreciation for what they have as a result of feeling hunger and thirst.

2. It allows one to build a sense of self-control and willpower, which can be beneficial throughout life in dealing with temptations and peer pressure. Through fasting, Muslims learn to control their natural urges such as hunger and thirst, and thus are able to better resist temptations for things which are not necessary, such as drugs or other unhealthy or harmful substances and behaviors.

3. It offers a time for Muslims to "purify" their bodies as well as their souls, by developing a greater sense of humility, spirituality and community. Ramadan is a very spiritual time for Muslims, and often they invite each other to one another's homes to break the fast and pray together. A greater sense of generosity and forgiveness is also characteristic of this time. As with other duties in Islam, fasting becomes obligatory (i.e. one becomes accountable) after the age of puberty.

Eid al-Fitr
After the end of Ramadan, a very festive and joyous holiday is celebrated by Muslims, known as Eid al-Fitr [eed ul fit-ur], the Festival of Breaking the Fast. On the day of the Eid, Muslims attend special congregational prayers in the morning, wearing their nicest clothes.

After the completion of prayers and a special sermon, Muslims rise to greet and hug one another, saying "Eid Mubarak," which means "Holiday Blessings."

Later on, Muslim families visit each other's homes, and have special meals together. Children are often rewarded with gifts, money, and sweets. Lights and other decorations mark the happy occasion.

Speak up, Silent no more!

Good for Muslims & good for the World
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