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While I was browsing the web, I found a tumblr blog that re-published my magazine article on Ramadhan. I had uploaded that article in one of my blogs. I tried looking for my blog that had that article but I couldn’t find it. It was from my blogsome.com blog. Blogsome had closed shop some time ago. I was surprised that I hadn’t uploaded that article to my other blogs.
It was actually a rehash of another article which I wrote for the now defunct newspaper, The Philippine Post,
in 2000. I’m doubly surprised that I hadn’t uploaded that newspaper article to my blogs either.
The tumblr blog is titled Self-Centered and appears to be owned by a young Moro studying at UST. It says:
“I was reading a couple of blogs ran by moro bloggers. And wow, they had a very polished english grammar, and the opinions stated in their blogs were very intelligent and educated. Here are some blogs worth looking at, especially if you’re a moro;
I was looking at Jamal Ashley’s blog. And saw a blog about the holy month of Ramadan. I was amazed by how detailed the blog was and how it really defined the meaning of Ramadan. To be honest, I find it hard explaining to my non-Muslim friends what Ramadan is. Most non-Muslims only know that Ramadan is a month of abstaining from food and water, and that this month is a month of hunger and torture. But in a Muslim’s perspective it’s not. So here’s the blog about the holy month of Ramadan taken from the blog of Jamal Ashley;”
Both blogs are mine. The first is more of an aggregator while the other (blogsome) vanished a couple of years ago.
Since it’s Ramadhan again, I guess it is appropriate to upload this magazine article. It was published in Mr. & Ms. magazine about 10 years ago. I believe it is timeless.
In the Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition, fasting is a special form of prayer. The Jews fast during the Day of Atonement. Fasting for them is a way to ask God’s forgiveness and blessings. On their way to Jerusalem from Babylon, the prophet Ezra ordered every Jew to fast: “Then I proclaimed a fast, there by the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before God to petition from Him a safe journey for ourselves, our children and all our possessions.” (Ezra 8: 21). Some Jews fast twice a week – on Mondays and Thursdays.
The early Christian Church followed the Jewish practice but did it on Wednesdays and Fridays in honor of Christ’s arrest and crucifixion. Later, fasting was practiced during the Lenten Season. Saint Athanasius wrote: “Behold the efficacy of fasting! It cures sickness, dries the excessive humors of the body, drives out evil spirits, dispels wrongful thoughts, gives the spirit greater clarity, purifies the heart, sanctifies the body and at last leads the person to the throne of God.”
The Muslims also follow the Judeo-Christian tradition of fasting. Practically all Major Prophets fasted for forty days and nights. The Muslims are also commanded to fast but being ordinary mortals, they fast only for thirty days (from sunrise to sunset). The tenth month (Ramadhan) of the Islamic calendar is the month of Fasting. (This year, the first of Ramadhan falls on the 6th of June.)
During the month of Ramadhan (about thirty days), Muslims abstain from food, drinks, sex, gambling and all ungodly acts from dawn to dusk. Evenings are spent on eating, socializing and praying. The evening prayers are held after dinner. The faithful attempt to recite all the verses of the Qur’an within the month of Ramadhan.
OBJECTIVES OF FASTING
According to Traditions: “Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle said: ‘Whoever establishes prayers during the nights of Ramadan faithfully out of sincere faith and hoping to attain Allah’s rewards (not for showing off), all his past sins will be forgiven.’” (Hadith : Sahih Bukhari 1.36) This and other sayings from the Hadeeth (Traditions) emphasize that Muslims should fast and pray not because they are forced to, or would like to gain other people’s recognition or any other reason (such as a way to reduce weight) but because they truly desire God’s mercy and blessings.
Fasting has many objectives. One is that for a certain period of the year, all Muslims would feel the same hunger — be they rich or poor, young or old. For a rich man used to having a full breakfast and a 4 to 6-course lunch, fasting would be an ordeal. It is also a very trying time for smokers and womanizers.
But the main purpose of fasting is remembrance — of God. God says in the Qur’an: “Fadhkuruni adhkurukum” (Remember Me and I will remember you).
In Muslim-dominated societies like the Arab countries, Pakistan and Indonesia, Ramadhan brings all the citizens closer together. The Ramadhan good cheer is upon everyone. Even the office hours are changed. In Saudi Arabia, the working hours for some offices during Ramadhan are from 6:00 AM to 2:00 PM with no lunch break.
And for the rich people, it is the time to share their wealth and give away their precious dollars or riyals.
TIME FOR GIVING ALMS
Once, when I was in Saudi Arabia, an Arab friend complained that after finishing the Ramadhan evening prayers, the fellow next to him handed him a suitcase full of money. The man requested him to give away the money as he was pressed for time and had to leave immediately. My friend was forced to stay in the mosque and give away the money to everyone who asked.
There was also a time during Ramadhan when my mother and her cousin went to the Masjid al-Haram, the Grand Mosque in Mecca. While waiting for the start of the evening prayers, a woman sat beside my aunt (she is not actually an aunt; i.e. sister of either of my parents, but it is usual in Moro society to call elder female relatives aunt or “babu”) and told her to vacate her place because the woman’s mistress, a princess, was going to sit there. Naturally, my mother and her cousin were incensed. My “aunt” told the woman that she would not budge because she was a princess, too. The woman was indignant but was forced to look for another place for her princess mistress.
After the prayers, the Arabian princess took out a big bag and started distributing money to the people around her. And the princess’s assistant came to my aunt — not to give her money but to ask for her prayer-carpet. She said it would be an honor to have a souvenir from a Mindanao princess.
For Muslim minorities, Ramadhan reminds them of their distinct identity. This feeling binds them even closer. Children, even those who don’t fast, usually love to eat with the adults as there is always an air of Thanksgiving every “break-fast” time. As a child, I remember Ramadhan as the time of eating dates, a very sweet fruit of the date-palm (phoenix dactylifera).
In the Western concept of time-keeping, the day in the solar calendar begins a minute after midnight or 00:01 hrs. In the Islamic lunar calendar, the “day” begins at sundown. This is most evident during Ramadhan when the community “wakes up” after sunset, the time for breakfast; i.e., breaking the fast.
Before breaking the fast, Muslims usually say a simple prayer that goes: “Oh Allah, I kept the fasting for Thy sake, and I break it with the food Thou hast provided.” Some families eat their dinner at sunset, while others prefer to take light meals first. Tables usually are filled with coffee, tea, bread, cheese, butter, pastries, fruits and the traditional Ramadhan fruit, the dates. It is customary for Muslims, especially the Arabs, to break the fast with dates and water. After the light meal comes the sunset prayer (Maghreb). Those who only had snacks earlier will then have their full dinner. After dinner, it will be time to go to the mosque for the long Ramadhan evening prayers.
In Muslim countries, the time to go for shopping is at about 10 pm, after the Ramadhan prayers. The cities and towns are usually teeming with people, all enjoying the good cheer after a day-long fast and evening prayers.
THE NIGHT OF POWER
According to the Qur’an, the Angel Gabriel first came to the Prophet Muhammad during the month of Ramadhan. This night is called the Night of Power (Layla-t-ul-Qadr). It is said that prayers offered during this night are equivalent to a thousand or more prayers. But nobody knows the exact date of this Night of Power. According to Islamic scholars, it is most probably during the last 10 days of Ramadhan.
After one month of fasting, the Muslims the world over celebrate the ‘Id al-Fitr, the Feast after the Fast or Thanksgiving Day after the fasting month of Ramadhan. This year, the ‘Id al-Fitr will be on July 6, give or take a day.
The ‘Id al-Fitr or “Hari Raya Puasa” as it is called in Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei and Mindanao, is one of only two celebrations sanctioned by the Qur’an. (The other is the ‘Id-al-Ad-ha, or the Feast of the Hajj.) On this day, it is obligatory for all Muslims to go to the mosque for the Festival (’Id) prayers, preferably in one’s best clothes. It is also obligatory to give charity. It is customary for Muslims to open their houses to everyone, including strangers, for brunch, lunch, merienda cena or dinner. And the adults usually give the children money, which makes this occasion the favorite holiday of Muslim children.
Muslims the world over greet each other “Ramadhan Kareem” during the month and “’Id Mubarak” during the ‘Id celebrations. In Arab countries, the ‘Id is a 3- or 4-day holiday, while in other Muslim countries, ‘Id celebrations extend to two or more weeks. To improve ethnic relations in the country, (then) Pres. Macapagal-Arroyo proclaimed ‘Id al-Fitr a national holiday.
Published in Mr. & Ms. magazine
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Assalamu Alaykum! (Peace be upon you all)
|Quirino Grandstand where we prayed.|
|Saw this carabao statue somewhere after the prayers. Nope unfortunately we cannot sacrifice this one, it’s pretty hard and not edible haha.|
|Yeah, compulsory selfie after Eid prayer|
|And lunch was satisfying 😛 Alhamdulillah
(sorry, no Qurban yet)
|Arabic Kitchen has this nice place where we can gather around, without chair or high tables. 🙂 Arabian style
[photo from Dr. Mustofa]
|The ever outnumbered male doctors (and soon to be)
[photo from Dr. Mustofa]
How many times have we asked ourselves if being poor or being in deep sorrow was really our destiny? And how many times have we stood up and said to ourselves that God does not want anything less for us?
As the hadith of Rasullallah goes: “Tie your camel, and trust in Allaah.”
It means, you have to do your part first. Then, Allaah will take care of everything else. Your life is what you make it. The Almighty Allaah may put you in so many trials. But, it is with your perseverance, patience and character that you will win over them.
Always remember, Allaah will never put you in a situation that you can’t handle. You just need to get up and work hard to win it. If you let negativity rule over your mind, you will not go anywhere. But, if you look at the brighter side of the situation and do whatever you can to overcome the situation, you will win. And you always will.
Keep the faith. Keep doing your part. Success in this world and in the hereafter will be easy if you just keep going forward.
If you have a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Path, Vine or whatever social networking account, you are free to join. You just have to post a photo for each of the challenges listed on a daily basis. That means one item per day only! Remember that you need to post a description to the photo. Who knows how you can motivate another person by your post? And of course, remember to tag #RamadhanPhotoChallenge and mention @RamadhanPhotoChallenge (only for instagram users) for a chance to be featured in our instagram account.
For this challenge, you need to have a list of what you want to achieve this Ramadhan. This is to remind each of us that there is always a room for improvement, especially for our fluctuating iman.
Each of the items has meanings attached to it. Through your posts, you will unveil what is the meaning and purpose why I put them there. If you’ve been keeping close with your deen, you would know why I listed each of those above.
You see, the challenge is not posting the photo. It is keeping people, specifically yourself, motivated to keep their deen intact this Ramadhan. And you may do that through the photo and the description you add to it. ^___^
Since, there will most likely be 30 days in Ramadhan, I will give 30 daily challenges for everyone.
I can’t wait to be motivated by your posts. Let us share our Ramadhan drives and keep everyone hyped for the holy month.
The holy month of Ramadan is indeed approaching. Are you ready?
Ramadan is the month of cure for the wounded. It is a month of reformation for the lost. It is the month of happiness for the sad. It is the month of purification for the impure. As humans, we are made to err. And Ramadan is the answer for our errors.
We are given a month to ponder and shy away from all of our desires by The Almighty Allaah. We are given bountiful rewards waiting for us to grab during this holy month to keep our good deeds heavier than our wrongdoings. It is up to us if we want to chase all those rewards and forgiveness given by His Holiness.
So, are you ready to be ready for Ramadan? Read on.
In every event, a master plan is needed. And a Ramadan to-achieve or to-do list is a must. Get a piece of paper. List down all the things you want to accomplish this coming month. Here is what my list looks like.
1. Complete sawm (unless forbidden). Make up for lost sawm afterwards.
2. Finish reading the qur’an + understand translation.
3. 0% music.
4. 5% zakat.
5. 30% savings.
6. #RamadhanPhotoChallenge ( I will post in another blogpost )
7. Kohl for eyes only. All else, 0% usage of cosmetics.
Now that you have a plan, the next move is to do what is in your list as early as possible. This is so that you would not be shocked on the first day of Ramadan. Say, you can start the sunnah fasting every Monday and Thursday. Or you may want to read the Quran starting now. Or you would prohibit yourself from listening to any kind of music right here and right now. If you can start now, do it. Then, it would be easier to implement everything during Ramadan and thereafter.
The next step is during Ramadan already. Discipline is the essence of this month. Be sure to have a strong stand and do not go otherwise your plan. Stick to what you wrote down. It would be hard, but the result would be sweeter. There is no room for voluntary errors.
When you reach Eid feeling accomplished, know that Ramadan hasn’t ended. You should keep your achieved list and keep achieving them on daily basis already. Ramadan is not just here for a month. It must be engraved in our hearts and minds. We do not just fast from evil during this month. We should for our entire lifetime.
Every day, we ask Allah to guide us to the straight path. Guidance has been sent to us long before, it is up to us to follow it. Ramadan is here to change us and keep us aligned with that straight path. It is here as a mercy not as a burden. If we reached this month, we are lucky individuals. Let us make the most of it.
A Muslim follows so many rules and regulations of Allah. It is a religion that is incorporated into how one shall live his life, a religion with complete ingredients and procedures that would ultimately lead to a palatable dish which is a meaningful life. In Islam, one is required to have all the good qualities altogether.
However, Islam may be a tough religion to follow, but it is worth it.
I cannot imagine life other than which Islam teaches us. It will be chaotic and wasted. It will be full of narcissism and self-centered people. It will be full of arrogance and ignorance.
Life with Islam is just the perfect ingredient to living life to the fullest. After all, Islam teaches us to go beyond what our eyes can fathom in seeking knowledge – both spiritual and physical. Islam teaches us to give love more than what we receive. Islam teaches us to be steadfast to whatever trials are handed down to us. More importantly, Islam teaches us to be the person that is worthy enough for HIS paradise.
In sha Allaah. Allaahumma ameen.
Rule #1: Smile
Rule # 2: Be confident but not arrogant
Rule # 4: Know yourself, in and out
Rule # 5: Know why you want to be a Doctor.
Rule # 6: Pray. Pray. Pray.
“Bismillahir rahmaanir rahiym. Rabbiy Ishrahliy Sadriy, wa yassirliy amriy, wahlul ukdatam millisaaniy, yafqahuwna, qawliy.
Bismillahir rahmaanir rahiym. Rabbiy zidniy ilman, warzukniy fahman. Subhanaka laa ilma lana illa ma ‘allamtanaa, innaka antal aliymul hakiym.”
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For most of the non-Arabic speaking people like me, Fiqh and Shari’ah are used interchangeably. Most often, I use these words synonymously when in fact they are two terms that mean differently. What I understood from childhood is that these two mean “Islamic Law.” However, as I studied in Islamic Online University, I learned that these two are of different meanings.
Fiqh literally means “the true understanding of what is intended.” And Shari’ah literally means “a waterhole where animals gather daily to drink, or the straight path.”
Technically, Fiqh is a science of deducing Islamic laws from evidences found in Qur’an and Sunnah. While Shari’ah is the total of Islamic laws revealed to the prophet that can be found in the Qur’an and Sunnah. In short, Fiqh is a deduced Shari’ah.
Fiqh may also be changed according to the circumstances to which it is applied, while Islamic laws in Shari’ah can never be changed as they are decreed by the Almighty Allaah. Fiqh applies to specific circumstances while the Shari’ah is mostly general in the sense that it is basic principles.
We must understand the Fiqh of Shari’ah for us to be able to live the Islamic way of life. This should be the unifying force that would bring Muslims altogether. In shaa Allaah, we will all learn further.