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Saturday, July 20, 2024 16:57
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Manahil Basharat, Shazia Sattar and Anoosh Mubashir

Manahil Basharat, Shazia Sattar and Anoosh Mubashir

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Hilal Kids English

The Blessed Month of Ramadan

March 2024

Dear friends! Happy Ramadan and Happy Fasting! You know Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar year. This is also called the holy month of fasting. During the entire month, which according to monthly lunar circle is usually of 29-30 days, we the Muslims observe day-long fasting that starts from pre-Fajr, and ends at sunset. 
    The revered month of Ramadan starts with the sighting of the moon. The Prophet (PBUH) said: “During this month the gates of Paradise are opened, the gates of Hell are closed, and the devils are chained.”
    Ramadan is also the month of Holy Quran. During this month, Quran – the Last Book of God – was sent down, and revealed to the Last Messenger of God (Peace Be Upon Him). Allah says, in Surah Baqarah, Verse 185: “During the month of Ramadan the Quran was sent down as a Guidance to the people with clear signs of the true guidance and as the Criterion (between right and wrong).”
    So, keeping fasts for the entire month is mandatory for those who are physically and age-wise able to observe it. If someone is not able to fast, because of travelling or illness or any other reason, he or she is asked to complete that count later in next months. See what Allah commands: “So those of you who live to see that month (Ramadan) should fast it, and whoever is sick or on a journey should fast the same number of other days instead. Allah wants ease and not hardship for you so that you may complete the number of days required, magnify Allah for what He has guided you to, and give thanks to Him.” (Surah Baqarah, Verse 185)
Five Pillars of Islam
Fasting is one of the five fundamentals of Islam. What are those fundamentals? First is called “Shahadah” (declaration of faith), which means one has to declare first that he or she embraces Islam as his or her faith; second is “Salah”, which is prayer that we have to offer five times a day; third is “Zakah” that means every rich Muslim has to give two and a half percent of wealth for the needy; fourth is ‘Al-Saum” that means day-long fasting throughout the month of Ramadan; and fifth is “Hajj” that means pilgrimage that is annually held on the 10th of Islamic month Zul-Hajj in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. These five fundamentals are also called five pillars of Islam. 
How to Observe Fasting?
We the Muslims are ordered to fast from dawn to dusk. During the fasting, we are not allowed to drink water or any other liquid, eat meals or anything else. We not only avoid drinking and eating, but also refrain from false talk and other bad habits. Until before the Azan (call) for Fajr, we eat meal that is called sehri. At the start of Azan for Maghreb prayers, the fasting ends, which is called iftar; at the time of iftar we eat dates and other food items, and drink water, milk or juices. 
Benefits of Fasting
1.    Spiritually, fasting teaches us patience; cleanses our soul; helps gain control over physical desires; gives time to think and pray, to recite Quran and offer regular prayers; provides gratitude and appreciation; provides opportunity to feel others’ appetite and needs, and share our belongings with the needy; puts God’s will above our own self; brings us closer to God; and strengthens our belief in ourselves. The Prophet (PBUH) said: “If anyone does not refrain from lies and false conduct, God has no need for him to abstain from his food and drink.” So, the true essence of Ramadan is that people pray for forgiveness of their past sins by practicing self-control through fasting, and purifying themselves by doing good deeds.
2.    Socially, sehr and iftar bring more joy and gratitude as all the family members and friends gather at one place. 
3.    Physically, fasting makes body light and smart, active and healthy. It sets a good routine for eating and drinking. It provides health benefits like weight loss, blood sugar control, and blood pressure control. It also protects from chances of cancer or other disorders. According to a Saying of the Prophet (PBUH), “Fasting is zakat of the body.” 
Trawih Prayers During Ramadan
Tarawih is an integral part of Ramadan. This is a namaz in which Quran is recited from start to end during the month. It is collective effort for reciting and understanding Quran; after every four rakahs, the imam sahib who leads prayers briefly tells about the message of Quran. It serves as a time for reflection, seeking God’s forgiveness, and drawing closer to Allah. This way, fasting becomes a community practice.
Three Ashrahs
The month of Ramadan is divided into three parts of 10 days. One part is called “ashrah”. All three parts have own significance. The Prophet (PBUH) said: “It (Ramadan) is the month, whose beginning is mercy, middle is forgiveness, and end is emancipation from the fire (of Hell).” So, the first 10 days of Ramadan are called “Ashrah of Mercy”; the next 10 days (from 11th to 20th of Ramadan) are called “Ashrah for Forgiveness”; and the next 9 or 10 days starting from 21st of Ramadan till last are called Ashrah for Nijat or redemption from Hell Fire. 
Aitkaf
Aitkaf is a practice that some of devoted Muslims observe during the last 10 days of the Ramadan. During this period, one dedicates to sit at one place, usually in a corner of the mosque, and spends time in thinking and meditating, reciting Quran and offering nawafil. Aitkaf ends at the sighting of the Shawwal moon; Shawwal is the 10th month of Islamic calendar. 
Lailatul Qadr
The last 10 days of Ramadan hold the most sacred night, which is called Lailatul Qadr or the Night of Decree, which is said to fall on odd nights of 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th or 29th of the moon. According to Surah Al-Qadr in Quran, “the Night of Decree is more sacred than one thousand months” – which is equal to 83 years and 4 months. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) said that every Muslim should seek the Mercy and Blessings of Almighty Allah during this Night. “Whoever prays on Laylatul Qadr out of faith and sincerity, shall have all their past sins forgiven.” (Bukhari & Muslim – books of Hadith consisting Sayings of the Prophet PBUH).
Month of Allah
According to a Saying of the Prophet (PBUH), Ramadan is the month of Allah Who says “As-Saum (fast) is for me and I myself am its reward.” In fact, according to another Saying of the Prophet (PBUH), our rewards for charity and other good deeds are multiplied during this time.” So, we must increase our good deeds, devotions and donations to maximize these blessings.
Eid-ul-Fitr
At the end of Ramadan, and the month-long fasting, the Muslims hold celebrations, which is called Eid-ul-Fitr. This actually aims to celebrate the successful fasting, as well as the sending down of Holy Quran during this sacred month.  
    So, friends, Ramadan Mubarak to you! May you be able to find this month many times. May the celebrations of this month spread happiness and blessings in your life. One request! Please do not confine your good deeds to Ramadan only. Consider Ramadan as a month of training, and continue doing good deeds, offering prayers and helping others for the entire year, rather whole life. Eid Mubarak in advance!


 

Manahil Basharat, Shazia Sattar and Anoosh Mubashir

Manahil Basharat, Shazia Sattar and Anoosh Mubashir

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