Category Archives: Ramadhan

Fasting in Ramadhan

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;
http://bangsamoro.wordpress.com
http://jamalashley.blogsome.com

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.
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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.

THANKSGIVING

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.

NATIONAL HOLIDAY

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.

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Published in Mr. & Ms. magazine

#RamadhanPhotoChallenge

So, what exactly is this #RamadhanPhotoChallenge that Hijabified.net and lilpink.info is starting? 

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.

PS: If there is only 29 days for Ramadhan, you can post two photos in one day. That means you can post #29 and #30 on the 29th.

Posts are from Sagacity of Life

Tips for Ramadhan

The holy month of Ramadan is indeed approaching. Are you ready?

Whether this is your first Ramadan or the 20th, it doesn’t matter. We all need to be ready for this month. A colleague once said that Ramadan is the month of love, medication, meditation and prayer. It is indeed more than those aforementioned.

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.

#LIST’EM

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.

TO-ACHIEVE LIST:
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.

#IMPLEMENT

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.

#DISCIPLINE

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.

#CONTINUE

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.

Posts are from Sagacity of Life

Another Eid away from home

Bismillah.

I am posting this before the Eid for this year arrives (it’s either August 8 or 9), so I am writing before the actual Eid is happening and there might be some changes of thoughts that may happen within that short time, and thus whatever I might have written here may be different after Eid (in shaa Allah, I do hope so it will).

First off, it will be my second year spending ‘Eid far away from my family AND on a non-Muslim community. I have actually spend some ‘Eids away from home years ago, but those times where happy-‘ol-times as I can still feel the atmosphere of unexplainable happiness of spending the ‘Eid with your Muslim brothers (remember, I have spend more than 4 years in Marawi City 😀 and oh I miss that place). But this time of the year (well, it actually started last year), it’s a totally different world.

I remember last year’s Eid. I was happy during the first few hours after the Eid prayers as I was spending some time with my Muslim friends (you know who you are guys, thank you very much for spending those short times with me :). But after some time they have to return to their onw respective family… And so I was left in my room again that day, spending the rest of the Eid reading my lectures on Human Anatomy and Physiology. Really, that was one of my saddest ‘Eid ever. Will I spend this year’s ‘Eid that way too? (I actually have another Mega exam this Thursday ><)

 Yes, there are a number of Muslim communities here in Manila; Yes, I do have close Muslims friends I can go visit and spend the Eid with; but I don’t know why. I just feel this something “it’s different here” syndrome. I just can’t hide what I feel right now. As the ‘Eid approaches now, I am actually feeling sad than happy: something that I should not be feeling right now.

Maybe a friend of mind was right when he said: “You are just missing your family, that’s all. Or maybe you are just failing too many quizzes, and you want to go home already. You are such a loser.” (I think it’s only one of the two choices).

Oh well, as I said earlier, I am writing this BEFORE the EID actually happens. I should not be delving on something that is not yet happening. We can never tell what will happen tomorrow: maybe I will find something that will make me happy. No, I SHOULD FIND SOMETHING TO MAKE ME HAPPY on Eid. Why did I forget that there are always so many things to be happy about Eid. Astaghfirullah. Maybe I may not be able to spend this year’s Eid with my beloved family and friends: praying with the Jamaah in my community, eating with them, visiting relatives, playing with the kids in our neighborhood with their new clothes and toys, seeing happy faces familiar and so dear to me. Maybe I am just being near-sighted and had forgotten to do what I always say in those “high-school autographs” under “What’s your motto in life”: 

LOOK BEYOND WHAT YOUR EYES CAN SEE…

After all, Eidul Fitr is a time of celebrating the success of being able to spend the Ramadhan; of being blessed to still be alive and received Allah’s million-fold (actually it’s infinite) Blessings and Mercy on that month. Indeed, this Ramadhan was one of those beautiful Ramadhan I had (why did I forget that!). Attending and organizing Islamic Seminars, meeting new friends, learning and relearning those important values in Islam, remembering that being a Muslim is not just about having a name “Ahmad”; it’s about living Islam in heart, in soul, in thoughts, in words, in action, and in every little thing you do. Learning to feel how the poor suffers when they do not have enough food for a day. Learning to discipline myself and sacrifice for His sake. Learning to restrain and set aside my personal want. Learning to share what little thing you have in life. Learning to be thankful for every little thing I have.

So, I was wrong to feel this way eh? I should not be sad. I should never be sad during Eid! I should be happy now more than ever! Maybe spending the Eid with my family at home is something that I will always yearn for. But I should never remove the idea of experiencing a different Eid somehow. That maybe spending another Eid away from home is not that bad at all… I was wrong to say that I do not have a family here. I actually do. Every single Muslim I share the Ramadhan with is my Family. They are my real brothers and sisters, my parents and my friends. And so I end up correcting myself at the end of this on-the-minute write-up. I do not have any reasons to feel lonely and sad after all. 😀

I just have to look beyond what my eyes can see, what my heart can feel, and what my so-limited mind can think of (as of now).

In shaa Allah, I will write something about this year’s Eid. I just have to figure out first how I will spend my Eid this year 😀

Till then, Eid Mubarak to all the Muslims! 😀

Qiyamul Layl in Taguig City: A first for UVPN

Bismillah.
For years, the United Voices for Peace Network (UVPN) had been conducting one of its major activities every Ramadhan which is very  well known as “Qiyamul Layl”. The program which is usually scheduled within the last ten days of Ramadhan, starts with a series of Islamic lectures after Tarawih prayer and ends with the participants praying tahajjud and eating shuhur together. This great event started in the Ramadhan of 2006 in Sultan Kudarat and was widely accepted and participated by many—from high school students to members of the community. Since then, every year UVPN have been working on and improving the Qiyamul Layl in Sultan Kudarat as a collaborative effort of the Muslim youth to anticipate and prepare for the greatest night in Ramadhan that may come only once every year: the Laylatul Qadr or the Night of Power.  
This year though, is different. For Alhamdulillah, UVPN had finally implemented two sets of Qiyamul Layl: one in Kutawato (Cotabato) and the other one, in Taguig City which is a first time for UVPN.
The UVPN Qiyamul Layl 2013, with the theme: “Self Reformation: a gateway to Peace and Progress” was held last August 2, 2013 (25th day of Ramadhan) at the Green Mosque Compound, IRM Road, New Bicutan, Taguig City. It was well participated by more than 200 people from the nearby Muslim community. The four sets of lectures delivered by three great Islamic lecturers done during the program had a great impact on the audiences. The community was indeed grateful that such kind of activity started in their place, and they hope these kinds of activities initiated by the youths will continue.
The Qiyamul Layl in Taguig City made possible through the great blessings of Allah and the efforts of not just the few UVPN members in the area but also due to the efforts, support and contribution of many volunteers and Muslim brothers and sisters in the area. Without them, indeed the success of the program will remain as a dream. The UVPN in Taguig and Manila—and the UVPN family as a whole—is indeed grateful to the following people/groups: the Imam in Green Mosque, Imam Abdulhamid; the IRM Tambayanyouth volunteers; the Abo Family; the the Ponga Sisters; Mr. and Mrs. Compania; the Basman Family for the LCD Projector; Dr. Abdullah from UPCM; our three lecturers namely Hasim Iskak, Ustadz Abdurrahim Masdal, and Ustadz Abdulhamid Pigkawlan; and all the participants from the community during the said event.

May Allah reward us all for all the efforts we did for His sake. May Allah continue to shower His blessings to the Muslim Ummah, especially the Muslim youths. Ameen.
MORE PHOTOS:

UVPN in Taguig and some Youth Volunteers

Me and my Beard

Bismillah. The following conversations/questions are always thrown at me when they see my beard.
Friend 1: “Hey Ahmad, why don’t you shave your beard? Are you really letting that grow? Or you just don’t know how to shave…” =)
Professor 1: “You are a Muslim and you have a beard. So, you have been to Mecca, right?”
Friend 2: “I like your beard… But man, it makes you look older!”
Maybe there are a lot more conversations I had with friends (especially non-Muslims) who would never fail to notice my now-two-inch-long, sparsely growing beard hanging on my chin. And whether they ask me why, or I would notice them getting curious about it, I only have one answer for them: 
“It’s simple my friend. This is SUNNAH!” (Usually followed by a beaming smile here)
But what is Sunnah, you ask?
No, it’s not the Arabic for “fashion”. Nor is it something done to please other people. SUNNAH is simply “following the examples of our beloved prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him)”. A Sunnah comes in various forms: it can be an attitude in dealing with people, it can be a set of words uttered in some occasions, it can be the way of wearing your clothes, and most importantly Sunnahs are act of worships done voluntarily by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). 
All Sunnahs are from the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and all sunnahs done by a Muslim, even done voluntarily, is a accompanied by great wisdom both in this world and the next, and of course rewards from the great Rewarder, Allah, the Most Gracious and Merciful. We show our love to our prophet Muhammad (PBUH) by following his examples. This is a manifestation that we believe in all his truthful words and actions.
It is also a form of identification that this brother is a Muslim. If the Muslim women have the Hijab, we Muslim men have the beard. (Although this cannot be applied to the general public, coz there are also non-Muslims growing their beard =D ).
So why do Muslims grow their beard? Because Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had let his beard grow without shaving it (at least keeping it not too long and not too short). Growing a beard is a form of following the Prophet. And this is a simple way of saying: “I love my prophet, and I will follow his examples. And I attest and bear witness that he is the last prophet and the messenger and servant of Allah.” For Muslims, this is the second shahada commonly heard in arabic as “Ashahadu anna Muhammadur Rasulullah” which is a part of a Muslim’s life until his last breath.

So now we now why Muslims grow their beard. It is not a fashion statement. It is actually a simple way of following and living the teachings of their deen (religion). For Islam is not just a religion, but a way of life.  

And so, my friends… The next time you see me and my beard… It’s not that I do not know how to shave… It is also not an “identification” only for those who have been to Makkah (Mecca)… Yes, I may look older or look weird to you with my beard… But I love them, and I am happy of having them hanging in my chin (haha)… I will never cut them… And I will let them grow (as a prominent Muslim scholar say) with their natural flow… Because I am a Muslim. And I follow no God but Allah, and I follow His last Prophet, Muhammad Rasulullah (PBUH).
Salam kasilasa 😀 

Ethics during Ramadhan for Non-Muslims

Bismillah.
Ramadhan or the month of fasting for Muslims is now fast approaching. And for a country where non-Muslims dominate the population, there are always some point in time where a lot of people are getting curious of what really Ramadhan is. What do Muslims do in this month? Why is it so special to them? What can non-Muslims do to appreciate this month? And how can non-Muslims appropriately join in with their celebration?
To have a short reading on need-to-know-about-Ramadhan, please visit my post: Ramadhan for Non-Muslims. And in this post, we will talk about answering the question stated earlier: What can non-Muslims do during Ramadhan? Here is a list of things that non-Muslims can do and should avoid doing, from one Muslim’s personal experiences in living in a place where non-Muslims are the majority. 
What you can do:


1.  Know who are Muslims around you.

Before Ramadhan kicks in, keeping in mind who are Muslims around you–in your neighborhood, in your office, or in your classroom—will ultimately ease things both for you and your Muslim friend. Why is this so? When you are aware that this friend of yours is a Muslim, you will be more careful and would avoid inviting your friend for a meal when he or she is fasting. These kind of scenarios—a non-Muslim inviting a Muslim to eat—is a common happening in places where Muslims are minority of the population (like the metro Manila), because the people are already used to it. Of course, a Muslim would politely decline your invitation considering that maybe you never knew that he or she is fasting. But if you are fully aware of this, these kinds of awkward scenarios would be avoided.

2.Ask about Ramadhan

If you can spend some free time with a Muslim friend, ask him or her about Ramadhan. What do Muslims usually do before and after fasting, where do they spend their days, ask about ‘Eid, what should Muslims do and not do while fasting, and some other simple questions you can ask that your Muslim friend can answer. This is a good way for you to learn more about Ramadhan and Islam, and also a good time for a fasting Muslim to spend time sharing what he or she knew. (Just be understanding and moderate on asking questions and don’t go higher than what your friend can afford to answer 🙂

3.      Try fasting for a day

If you have a Muslim room-mate or a house-mate, you can ask him to let you join and experience fasting. Wake up early and eat shuhurtogether, observe what they would do and ask if you are doing things right. Start by fasting for a half-day where you can break your fast by 12 noon. But if you are really up to the challenge, then try fasting for a whole

day and join your friend until iftar (breaking of fast at sunset). Experiencing it personally would give you a wonderful idea on how the Muslims endure these 29 days of fasting for the sake of Allah. (Again, you don’t push yourself too hard; if you cannot endure a whole day without food or water, you can always start with half-day fasting. Everything is made easy in Islam).

4.       Offer some help for exhausting tasks

Maybe most Muslims would deny becoming weak and unable to do strenuous tasks when fasting, but it’s always the natural way things go. If you have an empty stomach, you will certainly feel weaker physically. And so, as a concern non-Muslim friend, you can always offer them help in some ways. If you saw them along the road, carrying some very heavy things (assuming you do not have anything urgent up your shoulders), approach them and offer some help. In shaa Allah, your Muslim friend will surely appreciate that kind of kindness.

5.       Help them be reminded of Ramadhan

Even Muslims forget what they should do and should not do while fasting. If you have some knowledge of what a Muslim should do (pray on time, read the Qur’an) and should not do (listening/participating with no-good talks, staring intently at the opposite sex), then you have the right sense to remind them too. Ask them how many pages of the Qur’an did he finished today, how many voluntary prayers in the Masjid, etc.  Maybe this is supposed to be a Muslim’s task to remind him in the first place, but having another person reminding him is always a great help.

 

 

What you should avoid:


I only have two things in this list. So far, I only found these two on the list that one should avoid (as much as he or she can) during Ramadhan:

1.       Avoid eating in front of fasting Muslims

Muslims who are fasting would usually avoid food-places like restaurants. But there will always come a time that they cannot avoid it at all (for example in lunch meetings). If you are aware that one of your companions is a fasting Muslim, you can always try to eat somewhere else first as a respect to your friend. But if things are not on your control, at least ask your Muslim companion if it’s ok to eat in front of him or her (I am pretty sure he or she will say “Sure, its fine with me” 🙂

2.       Avoid mingling with a Muslim of the opposite sex

Talking and mingling with the opposite sex is a normal day-to-day happening in a non-Muslim’s life. This might sound weird for non-Muslims, but this is something that a Muslim should avoid doing—not just in Ramadhan, but in the other normal days as well. I cannot talk about the reasons why because it would need a lot more than just a single write-up with a short discussion. I would just give emphasis on the notion that during Ramadhan, one of the things that would nullify a Muslim’s fasting is through untoward intentions for the opposite sex. And to avoid these from happening, the simplest way is to avoid mingling with the opposite sex unless highly necessary.
If you have this comfy, hug-all-friends kind of personality, try avoiding what you usually do (hugging or clinging to the arm of a friend of opposite sex, even if it may not mean anything to you). Muslims are really not comfortable with such 🙂

Lastly, RESPECT EACH OTHER

This last thing on my list is the most important of all and applies for both the Muslims and non-Muslims. Having different faiths and beliefs would never be a reason for anyone to be misunderstood and create trouble to the other group. When there is tolerance and respect, everything will come into place. Respecting each other’s beliefs, being open-minded and understanding them is the ultimate ingredient in living harmoniously with anybody, whatever their beliefs may be.

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Disclaimer:
Again, I am reiterating that I am no scholar in Islamic ruling and I only know what little basic things about our religion. This post is intended merely to help those who wanted to know more about Ramadhan and Islam and what they have to know about this month’s importance to the Muslims. If you may find some errors in this post, something that is contradicting with what you heard or learned form a real scholar, please do not hesitate to inform me that I may correct them. I am already asking an apology for those shortcomings I may have. 
I am praying to Allah that He may guide us all to the right path and reward us for every good deed that we do. May He forgive us and may He allow us to receive his bountiful blessings in this coming Ramadhan and the next one to come. Ameen.
Salam Kasilasa
-AIMD

Pre-Ramadhan Symposium

Bismillah
Last June 9, 2013 I was fortunate to be part of a Pre-Ramadhan Symposium, Alhamdulillah. This was organized by our Muslim Student Association-Alumni brothers and sisters from different campuses and in coordination with the Islam in Focus (IIF) Productions-Manila. The symposium themed: “Virtues of the Holy month of Ramadhan” was held at Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation, Inc., at Sampaloc, Manila from 1:30 to 5 PM. The symposium, although simple, was attended by more than a hundred Muslim brothers and sisters throughout Manila.
Sheikh Ahmad Javier (in black shirt) with the other
ulama during the symposium
There were two main lectures followed by the usual open-forum part. The first lecture entitled “Virtues of Ramadhan” by Sheikh Ahmad Javier who is also the director of IIF-Manila. He talked about the great value every Muslim should place on Ramadhan and we should never let Ramadhan pass us by without us reaping its bountiful rewards. He also emphasized that knowledge about Ramadhan should always be renewed especially before it officially begins so that we will not be unaware of what should be done during Ramadhan. Reading the Qur’an everyday and striving harder in doing worship to Allah was also given emphasis in his lecture. At the end of his lecture, he reminded everyone that Ramadhan is such a special month reserved for the Muslims to partake, and every Muslim should prepare himself or herself as early as possible before Ramadhan comes in.
The second lecturer, Ustadh Ibrahim ibn Saleh talked about “The visitor that does not knock on your door” in Bahasa Sug. As most of the participants came from the ZamBaSulTa area and know Bahasa Sug, the lecture was also accepted heartily by the participants. This “visitor” he was referring is “death” that comes at every single soul without any signal or notice. And just as how we prepare for Ramadhan before it comes, each and every human being should always be reminded of death and what are the things he or she must do to prepare for its coming. He reminded everyone that death is indeed inevitable and that this life is only a temporary place for us and will always end. He also emphasized that this worldly life will be followed by the next life in the hereafter: where the real and eternal life will commence.
The venue was filled with participants eager to listen
to our lecturers
Before the program was officially closed, questions were entertained by the speakers and other ‘ulama (Islamic Scholars) present in the symposium. Alhamdulillah, through this symposium a great number of Muslims in the Metro were reminded of Ramadhan and “death” and what should be done to prepare for both. The symposium was a great success, through the blessings of Allah, for our Muslim brothers and sisters who organized this event. May Allah reward all those who strive—physically, financially, intellectually—in making this event possible and for keeping the flag of Islam raised wherever we go.
Brothers and Sisters from MSA-Alumni

Let us all wait for Ramadhan enthusiastically this coming July, in shaa Allah!
Peace be upon you,

Anak iluh

Ramadhan for Non-Muslims

Bismillah.

Every year, there comes a very special visitor that Muslims are always looking up to. This is a very special event that lasts for one month: the Holy Month of Ramadhan. As this month draws near, you will see most Muslims getting more excited and eager for the first day of that month to come. This is one of the mysteries that non-Muslims are always curious about. What is Ramadhan? What is so special about it? Why do Muslims celebrate with joy when Ramadhan comes? In shaa Allah this post will answer these questions posted by our non-Muslim friends so that when this year’s Ramadhan comes, they will be more aware about it.
What is Ramadhan?


Ramadhan is the 9thmonth of the Hijra or Islamic Calendar. This is one of the special months for Muslims wherein one of the five fundamental pillars of Islam happens: As-sawmu Ramadhan or fasting in the whole duration of Ramadhan. For 29 to 30 days, Muslims would abstain from eating, drinking, having sexual contact with their spouse, and avoid unnecessary actions from Fajr (dawn) to Maghrib (dusk). This is one of the rigorous training in Islam to discipline one’s self in doing what Allah has ordained them to do in this month; to strive and do what is Halal (rightful and allowed in Islam) and avoid what is Haram (wrongful and unlawful in Islam). This is also the month of forgiveness wherein every Muslim would forgive everyone who had done wrong to him or her. It is also a month so special for Muslims as it is the month wherein one would return to the folds of Islam and ask for Allah, the most forgiving, for his blessings and his forgiveness.
The Sawm


As-sawm or fasting is one of the fundamental acts every Muslim (with some few exceptions) is obliged to do during this month. This is in accordance with the commandment of Allah in the holy Qur’an:

O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint.” –Surah Baqarah 2:183

Muslims would wake up early in the morning (about 3 AM), everyday and eat Shuhur: foods prepared before the beginning of fasting. The official fasting wherein no foods and drinks—even water—are allowed begins at the break of dawn until the sun sets. The adhan (call for prayer) during Maghrib or dusk prayer marks the end of one fasting day. As the call for prayer: “Allahu akbar! Allahu Akbar! Allahu akbar!” is recited in the masjids, the Muslims at same time would break their fast with light foods (iftar) before going to prayer. After prayers, dinner will be served.
What do Muslims do in Ramadhan?


But Ramadhan is not just a month of fasting for Muslims. It is also a month of worshipping Allah and improving one’s behavior towards other people. It is a month of Love and Brotherhood. During this month, every Muslim are highly encourage to do good deeds more often, as the rewards for each good deed done will be multiplied a hundredfold during this holy month. Muslims are also forbidden to get angry, to talk idly of others, to cheat and wrong others, be it Muslims or non-Muslims, and other unnecessary actions that would not beget any rewards from Allah. During this month, any form of violence is strictly forbidden.
The month of Ramadhan is also known as the “Month of Qur’an”. It was during Ramadhan that the Holy Qur’an was sent down by Allah through Jibreel to our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon him). And thus, each and every Muslim are highly encouraged to read the Qur’an daily and have a goal of finishing it at least once or twice for the whole duration of Ramadhan.
Salatu At-Tarawih is another special kind of prayers only done during Ramadhan. After the fifth obligatory prayer, the Salatu Eisha, is done (usually at about 7:15 in the evening), Tarawih then starts after a few minutes. Tarawih is usually done in the Masjid (mosques) where most of the Muslims—men, women and even children—in the neighborhood would participate and pray 8 to 20 rakaat (sets) of prayer. Tarawih would end at 8 to 9 PM depending on the length of each prayer and will continue until the end of Ramadhan.
Lastly and most importantly is the Eidul Fitr. This is one of the two grand festivities for Muslims to celebrate. Eidul Fitr is observed at the first day of Shawwal (the month after Ramadhan) commemorating the successful partaking of Muslims in the holy month of Ramadhan. The Salatul Eid, a special congregational prayer participated by a big number of Muslims will be conducted on the day of the Eid. This prayer is usually conducted in an open area like a dry field if not in big Masjids. Then a short Islamic sermon by a local imam will be heard by every Muslim attending the Eid prayer, reminding them of all the lessons of Ramadhan and to keep them in their hearts even after the holy month has passed. Afterwards, a great festivity will commence with every Muslim rejoicing for all the blessings Allah had given them for the whole month of Ramadhan and the next one to come. Muslims will visit each other’s house and greet their friends, meet their relatives, and rejoice with their family. Eidul Fitr is always one of the happiest days each Muslim would remember in his life.
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Alhamdulillah we have talked about Ramadhan and its great value for Muslims’ lives. I hope this short post helped answer some of those questions some of our non-Muslim friends are always asking. If you are still having a lot of questions in your head, do not hesitate to ask a Muslim friend you know. Or you can email me, I will try my best to help in any way I can, in shaa Allah.
But before I end this post, I wanted to remind everyone that I am no scholar in Islamic studies. If ever you find any errors in this post, pls don’t hesitate to inform me that I may edit and correct them. There may be a lot more things I failed to include in this post, so please forgive me for that shortcoming. Ramadhan is such a large topic to be discussed in such a short post. I would also highly suggest that you ask those who are more knowledgeable about Islamic rulings for more detailed information. Islam was made easy for everyone, but it should never be taken lightly and searching for more knowledge of the fundamentals of Islam is always highly encouraged.
May Allah guide us all to the right path and reward us for every good deed that we do. May He forgive us and may He allow us to receive his bountiful blessings in this coming Ramadhan and the next one to come. Ameen.
Salam Kasilasa
-AIMD

First Suhoor – Ramadhan 1433

I’ve just had my first suhoor. The feeling was great. We all waited for a year for this month to come, and it is now here. I am really doing my best to do those things I’ve mentioned in my previous post. Inshaa Allaah, I will be given more guidance and perseverance towards the matter.

I’ve read the Qur’an last night. It was hard at first because I had to read like a child. As I go on reading, I managed to do it. Though, I cannot recite it as beautifully as Sheikh Sudais, I am happy that I am able to pronounce the Arabic words quite well.

Sura 33 (Al-Ahzab), ayah 35:
إِنَّ الْمُسْلِمِينَ وَالْمُسْلِمَاتِ وَالْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ وَالْقَانِتِينَ وَالْقَانِتَاتِ وَالصَّادِقِينَ وَالصَّادِقَاتِ وَالصَّابِرِينَ وَالصَّابِرَاتِ وَالْخَاشِعِينَ وَالْخَاشِعَاتِ وَالْمُتَصَدِّقِينَ وَالْمُتَصَدِّقَاتِ وَالصَّائِمِينَ وَالصَّائِمَاتِ وَالْحَافِظِينَ فُرُوجَهُمْ وَالْحَافِظَاتِ وَالذَّاكِرِينَ اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا وَالذَّاكِرَاتِ أَعَدَّ اللَّهُ لَهُم مَّغْفِرَةً وَأَجْرًا عَظِيمًا
Transliteration: Inna almuslimeen waalmuslimati waalmumineena waalmuminati waalqaniteena waalqanitati waalssadiqeena waalssadiqati waalssabireena waalssabirati waalkhashiAAeena waalkhashiAAati waalmutasaddiqeena waalmutasaddiqati waalssaimeena waalssaimati waalhafitheena furoojahum waalhafithati waalththakireena Allaha katheeran waalththakirati aAAadda Allahu lahum maghfiratan waajran AAatheeman
Translation: For Muslim men and women,- for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in Charity, for men and women who fast (and deny themselves), for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in Allah’s praise,- for them has Allah prepared forgiveness and great reward.

I am yet too far from my targets and goals this Ramadhan. However, I will do it step by step. Please keep me in your prayers. 🙂

Posts are from Sagacity of Life

Excited for Ramadhan 1433

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