I finally got around to getting the pics transferred from my phone. The pictures unfortunately look small from my end. I will try to edit them for later use, insha’Allah but the idea is conveyed, I hope. I believe Sr. Mariam also had some taken.
Alhamdullilah the Reverts’ iftar was a success and we had many new Muslims come that day. The invite was sent out with follows up by email and through the telephone.
New Muslims were awarded gift cards as a token of welcoming them to our community. The Sheikh gave a short speech about the growing Muslim community and the importance of our coming together to have our iftar. We appreciate any meal Allah (swt) provides us with, but for the purposes of our gathering we should aim to make it nicer next time, like former years where more came out and more efforts were put into the decoration.
Insha’Allah we’ll improve next year with dedicated brothers and sisters. There is so much to do at our masjid. Planning for an event is not something we should limit for event time but should work on year round. Now is the time to figure out what our needs are and fixing them so we can have better programs. Enjoy the photos! Jazaakum Allahu khair.
Durante esta temporada de Ramadán, www.Islamweb.net, reunió artículos de alrededor del mundo para ensenar la diversidad del Islam. Los siguientes cinco países fueron entre los demás en este reportaje especial.
— Ramadán en Santa Cruz, Bolivia
La comunidad musulmana en Bolivia es pequeña, pero, Al Hamdulil-lah, está creciendo poco a poco.
El Centro Islámico Boliviano, ubicado en la ciudad de Santa Cruz de la Sierra, realiza un arduo trabajo de Da’wa, tanto a nivel local como nacional, y colabora con las comunidades musulmanas de otras ciudades del país.
La llegada de Ramadán es muy esperada y apreciada por los musulmanes de Bolivia, pues es una época en que, además de buscar más la complacencia de Dios y acercarnos más a Él, se tiene la oportunidad de compartir más en comunidad, como hermanos en la fe, ya que durante este mes las actividades en el Centro Islámico aumentan.
Al inicio de Ramadán, el Centro Islámico Boliviano emite un anuncio de prensa informando a la comunidad en general la llegada de este sagrado mes, y felicitando a la comunidad musulmana en particular por esta época de regocijo espiritual. También se dan entrevistas a diferentes medio televisivos de la ciudad, con el objetivo de informar a la población respecto al significado e importancia del ayuno de Ramadán para los musulmanes de todo el mundo.
Entre las actividades especiales que se realizan durante Ramadán, está la realización de la oración del Tarawih en comunidad. Noche a noche, los hermanos y hermanas se reúnen para rezar juntos el Tarawih y de esta forma acercarse más a su Señor.
Los días sábados, cuando se imparten clases de cultura islámica e idioma árabe, se tocan temas relacionados con el ayuno y se proyectan videos de la “Umrah en Ramadán. También se realizan actividades para romper el ayuno en grupo, esto está a cargo de las hermanas de la comunidad, quienes se organizan para poder ofrecer el Iftar en determinados días de la semana; principalmente los fines de semana, que es cuando la mayoría de los miembros de la comunidad tienen disponibilidad de tiempo debido a la suspensión de las actividades laborales. Las familias de hermanos musulmanes extranjeros residentes en Bolivia, ofrecen también el Iftar algunas noches de Ramadán, donde preparan sus platos típicos, para compartir así algo de su cultura y costumbres con los hermanos bolivianos.
Las Jutbas durante Ramadán tocan temas relacionados con el ayuno y las virtudes de este sagrado mes. Al finalizar cada Yum’ah en Ramadán, el Imam da una pequeña charla dirigida a incentivar a los hermanos a ayunar con fe, buscando la complacencia de Al-lah. Durante este mes, se anima de manera especial a los hermanos a desarrollar la virtud de la generosidad y el altruismo para con los necesitados. Con este fin, se organizan colectas de ropa y comida para hacer donaciones a diferentes centros de ayuda social de la ciudad, como orfanatos, albergues de niños de la calle, etc.
Al finalizar Ramadán, se hace la colecta del Zakat Al Fiter, el cual es entregado a los hermanos necesitados un día antes del “Id. También, se hace la colecta del Zakat entre los hermanos sujetos a esta obligación. Para tal efecto, la directiva del Centro se encarga de realizar los cálculos del Nisab, cuyo informe es transmitido a los hermanos al finalizar el último Yum’ah del mes.
La llegada del “Id del fin de Ramadán es esperada con mucho entusiasmo. Se vive un ambiente festivo y de mucha alegría entre los hermanos por la satisfacción de haber cumplido con la orden de Al-lah de realizar el ayuno, y la esperanza de haber logrado Su Complacencia. El “Id Al Fiter inicia con el Salatul “Id, muy temprano en la mañana. Para esta ocasión, el comité femenino se encarga de organizar un desayuno, las hermanas preparan diferentes bocadillos para compartir con la comunidad luego del Salah y también se preparan pequeños regalos para los niños; quienes, para la ocasión, lucen trajes islámicos tradicionales de sus países de origen o del país de sus padres. De esta manera se da por finalizado mes del ayuno.
Y es así cómo se vive Ramadán en la comunidad musulmana boliviana, con fe, con alegría y con esperanza en la recompensa de Al-lah.
— Ramadán en México
Desde que fundamos el Centro Cultural Islámico de México en 1994, hemos comenzado a elaborar programas de actividades especiales para llevarse a cabo durante el mes de Ramadán. Antes de la fundación de la CCIM, la comunidad musulmana en México era muy pequeña y dispersa; por esta razón, y con el fin de lograr la unión, el crecimiento y fortalecimiento de la comunidad, empezamos a invitar a la gente a hacer la oración en grupo y a participar en nuestro programa diario de Iftar durante Ramadán.
En los últimos años hemos organizado programas de Iftar en diferentes lugares de la República mexicana. Después del Iftar, se dictan clases sobre Islam para los nuevos musulmanes; se intenta pasar el mayor tiempo posible en dichas clases debido a que la mayoría de los miembros de la comunidad son musulmanes nuevos. Luego de las clases, se reza el Tarawih en grupo.
Al hamdulil-lah, ahora contamos con un centro de retiro espiritual (Dar as Salaam), el cual aprovechamos para realizar el “Itikaf durante Ramadán. En Dar as Salaam (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcdksK_OBpw) las actividades diarias comienzan una hora antes del Salat al Fayer, cuando todos nos levantamos para hacer oraciones en la última tercera parte de la noche (Qiyam al Lail), tomamos juntos el Suhur y luego rezamos en grupo, y así se inicia un nuevo día de ayuno.
Cuando la comunidad cuenta con el presupuesto suficiente durante Ramadán, se organizan Iftares públicos: se renta un auditorio y se invita a la mayor cantidad posible de gente no musulmana para que escuchen charlas sobre el Islam mientras compartimos algunos bocadillos, de esta manera aprovechamos la ocasión para hacer Dawa. Al hamdulil-lah, Ramadán siempre está lleno de bendiciones y es la fecha en que más mexicanos aceptan el Islam.
Al-lah abre los corazones de las personas y ayuda a Sus siervos que se esfuerzan por Su causa durante este sagrado mes.
Al llegar el final de Ramadán se organiza la celebración del Eid al Fiter, donde participan todas las familias y los nuevos hermanos, y se vive un ambiente de confraternización, unidos por la fe en Al-lah.
In sha Al-lah este año podamos ofrecer a la comunidad muchas más actividades durante Ramadán, y logremos brindar el apoyo necesario a los nuevos musulmanes alrededor de la República.
—- Ramadán en Colón, República de Panamá
La comunidad musulmana de Colón está conformada en su mayoría por emigrantes de origen libanés de primera, segunda, tercera y cuarta generación. Cuentan con entidades de carácter religioso, educativo y cultural: La Mezquita del Centro Cultural Islámico de Colón, la Academia Bilingüe Árabe Panameña y el Club Unión Árabe.
Antes de la llegada del Ramadán el Imam de la mezquita en conjunto con los miembros de la junta directiva del Centro Cultural Islámico de Colón, profesores de educación islámica de la Academia y personas activas de la comunidad preparan un programa de actividades dirigidas a todos los habitantes de la ciudad de Colón, es decir, musulmanes y no musulmanes.
Las actividades específicas para los miembros de nuestra comunidad podemos dividirlas en tres tipos:
a. Actividades para niños y jóvenes: Estas se realizan tanto en el colegio como en la mezquita. Se decora toda la academia con carteles, diseños y motivos alusivos al Ramadán, el ayuno, y la conducta del musulmán en especial durante este tiempo. Los programas de educación religiosa y árabe se centran en actividades y temas relativos al noble mes. Se realizan cursos extracurriculares en la mezquita de memorización del Corán, historia islámica e idioma árabe. Se recolectan dotaciones para bebes recién nacidos, alimentos, ropa y útiles escolares, los cuales se reparten entre los más necesitados de la provincia de Colón. Además se realiza una celebración de bienvenida a Ramadán, la noche antes de inicio del primer día, rezando el Magreb, haciendo una explicación general del Ayuno, sus virtudes, beneficios y demás, luego se reparte un pequeño refrigerio y se reza el ‘Isha’ y el Tarawih. A mediados de Ramadán, se realiza un Iftar para todos los estudiantes del colegio, niños y jóvenes de la comunidad en general. En el ‘Id, el comité de musulmanas, organiza una celebración en el Club, con almuerzo y actividades familiares de toda índole.
b. Actividades para mujeres: Estas van dirigidas a las mujeres de habla hispana y árabe. Se resumen en clases, oraciones en congregación, recolección y distribución de ayudas para los más necesitados de la provincia de Colón. También se realizan visitas y otras actividades.
c. Actividades para los allegados a la mezquita: Se hace la oración del Tahay-yud todos los días, principalmente en la última mitad del mes. También se organiza el I’tikaf para las noches impares de los últimos diez días de Ramadán, en los que se hacen lecturas colectivas del Corán, y charlas para los musulmanes de habla hispana.
2. Actividades para la comunidad en general: Aparte de las clases y charlas diarias, antes de la oración del ‘Isha’ y luego de las cuatro primeras Rak’at del Tarawih, se realizan actividades sociales, la más importante de todas es la gran cena ” Iftar ” a mediados de Ramadán, en la que se invita a toda la comunidad y a representantes del alto gobierno de la República de Panamá, (el Presidente en persona nos ha acompañado en nuestras actividades en varias ocasiones) de las diferentes misiones diplomáticas y representantes de los diversos cultos y religiones. En la misma se le hace entrega a las diferentes organizaciones de caridad que asisten unos bonos canjeables por víveres que se reparten entre los últimos diez días de Ramadán. Esta es una de las obras sociales de mayor resonancia en toda la comunidad colonense, porque nada más inicia el ayuno están al pendiente del día de repartición de bolsas con víveres para las familias más necesitadas.
El Centro, aprovechando que cuenta con una emisora propia, emite diariamente en vivo:
* Anashid, recitación del Corán e Ibtihalat, antes del Fayr para indicar a los ayunantes el mejor tiempo para tomar el Suhur. * Recitación del Corán antes de cada oración. * El Adhan de cada oración. * Charlas en español antes de la oración del Magreb, es decir antes del Iftar. * Transmisión en directo de la oración del viernes y del Tarawih.
En cuanto a las actividades dirigidas a los no musulmanes, como se entrevé de lo anterior, la mayoría de estas tienen que ver con las personas que no siguen nuestra religión directa o indirectamente, pues las actividades de carácter social y humanitario van dirigidas a ellas. En general, con el favor de Al-lah, tenemos una comunidad activa, que busca promover el Islam en estas tierras por medio de su ejemplo e interacción con los demás y sacar el mayor provecho posible de este mes lleno de bendiciones, perdón y paz.
— Ramadán en Buenos Aires
Un Ramadán Porteño
En nombre de Al-lah, el Clemente el Misericordioso.
Alabado sea Al-lah, Quien nos guió, y no hubiéramos podido encaminarnos de no haber sido por Él. Atestiguo que no hay otra divinidad excepto Al-lah, Único, sin asociados; y atestiguo que Muhammad es Su siervo y Mensajero.
Al Hamdu lil-lah ha llegado otro Ramadán, y la comunidad islámica de Buenos Aires lo espera pleno de actividades. Antes de empezar Ramadán nos visitamos mutuamente más a menudo y programamos cómo será este mes in sha Al-lah. También, el que puede asiste a la mezquita de Palermo, que estos últimos años estuvo haciendo un seminario antes de Ramadán donde se explican las virtudes y normas del ayuno; y el que no puede ir simplemente se comienza a interiorizar por sí mismo en el mes que vendrá y cuán provechoso quiere que este sea.
Para quien no vive en un país islámico este mes puede ser solitario, de ahí la importancia de reunirnos en comunidad, no tan solo en familia, dado que muchos porteños prácticamente no tienen una familia islámica, y otros son los únicos musulmanes en su casa, trabajo o escuela.
Al vivir en una ciudad donde las religiones predominantes son la cristiana y la judía, para el ciudadano no musulmán puede que este mes pase desapercibido, pero para nosotros los musulmanes es el mes más lindo del año y lo esperamos ansiosos todos los años. En ramadán, las mezquitas florecen de actividades que el musulmán puede aprovechar. Todos los años tenemos en la “Mezquita Al Ahmad” un Muqri’ enviado por el Azhar que recita antes y después de cortar ayuno y en las oraciones del Tarawih.
En otras mezquitas, como en el “Centro Cultural Islámico Rey Fahd”, hay “Halaqa de Corán” todos los días; 15 minutos antes del rompimiento del ayuno se da una clase relacionada con el ayuno. También, antes del Adhan del “Isha, y hasta 15 minutos después, hay clases donde se relatan “Historias de los Sahabas”. Respecto a estas clases, en los últimos días de Ramadán se hace un concurso con premios para todos los participantes. En ambas mezquitas todas las noches de este mes se realiza la oración del Tarawih en comunidad, teniendo estas oraciones un lugar central en la vida del musulmán porteño que procura concurrir a estas oraciones asiduamente.
Al hamdulil-lah contamos con la gracia de tener dos hermosas mezquitas en donde podemos desayunar gratis todos los días de Ramadán, gracias a las gentiles donaciones de nuestros hermanos en la fe, que Al-lah se Complazca de ellos y les Dé el bien en esta vida y en la otra. Como mencioné antes, estos Iftar son muy importantes dado que el nuevo musulmán y todos los musulmanes en general necesitamos un ámbito de contención donde se sienta la atmósfera propicia para vivir el ayuno, adorando a Al-lah y recordándolo y, por qué no, también hacer amigos y afianzar los vínculos con los hermanos en la Fe.
Durante el Suhur la mayoría nos levantamos y prendemos la radio para escuchar un programa que ha comenzado a difundir el CIRA, y que también se realiza poniendo todos nuestro granito de arena, en donde escuchamos sobre nuestro Din, recitación del Corán, y nos hace sentir acompañados.
Los días miércoles, entre los jóvenes hacen un Iftar en el Centro Islámico, donde todos colaboramos para tomar el desayuno entre amigos y así fomentar que los jóvenes musulmanes se conozcan y formen lazos de amistad.
Familias enteras se reúnen en la mezquita, argentinos, árabes, asiáticos, africanos, europeos y otros; compartimos momentos de hermandad casi únicos en el año. Compartimos todos, sin distinción de razas o idiomas, charlas alrededor de un té o un mate bien espumoso. Los niños juegan y se divierten luego de haber participado antes del Magreb de una clase de Corán. A veces, durante las noches se organizan partidas de Ping-pong, pool, playstation, futbol y vóley (en las canchas del Centro Cultural Islámico Rey Fahd).
Durante las últimas 10 noches se redoblan las actividades islámicas, pudiendo hacer Qiam Al Lail en la mezquita junto al Imam. Como es de esperarse, la gente asiste más a las mezquitas y las familias se reúnen casi todas las noches.
A veces, la vida islámica aumenta tanto que uno se siente un extranjero en su propio país cuando todos sus compañeros de trabajo o estudio viven este mes sagrado con total inconsciencia del mismo; pero, Al hamdulil-lah, cuando se aproxima el momento de cortar ayuno y uno se reúne con sus amigos y familia en una mezquita o en una casa, nos invade una inmensa alegría de haber sido bendecidos con este hermoso Din y poder llevar nuestra vida de acuerdo a lo que Al-lah Manda a pesar de las vicisitudes.
En una sociedad donde el mundo no se detiene ni un poquito porque es Ramadán y muchos te tildan de loco por ayunar, donde los horarios del 99% de los trabajos no cambian ni los colegios tienen vacaciones, donde las universidades siguen tomando exámenes finales, nosotros ayunamos alegres y confiados en Al-lah, Subhanahu wa ta’ala. Y en el momento de cortar ayuno el agua es más fresca y los dátiles más sabrosos, porque controlamos nuestros impulsos más allá de la ardua tarea cotidiana.
Cuando llega el “Id Al Fitr nos reunimos en las mezquitas para el Salat y la Jutba del “Id; luego de esto se realiza un ágape, donde hay juegos para los más chicos, asado, pochoclo (palomitas de maíz), algodones de azúcar, delicias árabes y argentinas que disfrutamos todos juntos, y al fin comemos durante el día rogando a Al-lah que Haya aceptado nuestro ayuno.
Que la Paz y las bendiciones de Al-lah sean con el Profeta Muhammad, su familia, sus compañeros y todo los que sigan su guía hasta el Día del Juicio Final.
Agustina Velazco El Sayer
— Ramadán en Maicao, La Guajira, República de Colombia
Año tras año, la comunidad islámica de Maicao espera la llegada del Ramadán con ansias y muchas expectativas. Por ello; con tiempo los miembros de la junta directiva de la Asociación Benéfica Islámica de Maicao, en conjunto con el Imam y los profesores de religión y árabe, preparan un programa de actividades para la comunidad en la mezquita ‘Omar Ibn Al Jattab, que Al-lah esté complacido con él, y para los estudiantes del Colegio Colombo Árabe “Dar El Arkam”.
Se aprovecha el canal televisivo con el que cuenta la asociación para transmitir programas referentes al mes del ayuno, las actividades que se realizan y la oración del viernes y del Tarawih. Se organiza un Iftar colectivo diariamente en la mezquita, además muchos de los miembros de nuestra comunidad voluntariamente, buscando la recompensa de Al-lah, organizan cenas a las que invitan el mayor numero de ayunantes posible.
En el colegio cada mañana durante la formación diaria, se hacen pequeñas alusiones a lo que es el ayuno, centrándose específicamente en resaltar los valores y virtudes que cada uno de nosotros debe fortalecer y aplicar en su vida, y que se aprenden y fortalecen en Ramadán. En los actos cívicos se busca destacar a los estudiantes que han practicado mejor estos valores a los que nos referimos.
Se realizan charlas, clases y conferencias para las mujeres en particular, y para toda la comunidad antes del Iftar y en la mitad de la oración del Tarawih. Se organiza un concurso de Corán para los estudiantes del colegio, mismo que se premia la noche 27 del mes de Ramadán. Así mismo; se hacen vigilias en especial en las últimas noches del sagrado mes.
En la medida de lo posible se busca reunir donaciones de los miembros de la comunidad con el fin de hacerlas llegar a las personas que las necesitan que por lo general no son musulmanes, pero que viven con nosotros en nuestra ciudad.
Para el ‘Id Al Fitr, luego de hecha la oración, se brinda un refrigerio a los asistentes en el salón de conferencias de la mezquita. Por lo general, la Asociación de Padres de Familia del colegio, organiza un día familiar en el que se ofrece un almuerzo a toda la comunidad, juegos y entretenimiento para niños y jóvenes.
— Ramadán en Quito, Ecuador
“¿Y no puedes comer en todo el día?”, preguntó una de las compañeras de escuela de Shaden. “No, hasta que anochezca”, contestó Shaden, una pequeña de 8 años, con aire serio. Su compañera de clase, en el tercer año igual que ella, pareció sorprendida. Nunca antes había oído sobre ayunar y no sabía lo que era. “¿Ni siquiera agua?”, insistió nuevamente. “No”, replicó Shaden, orgullosa de sí misma. Shaden estaba tratando de ayunar durante unas cuantas horas en Ramadán. Siendo la más pequeña de una familia de siete miembros, no le gustaba sentirse excluida de la alegría de Ramadán por su edad. Por eso, deseaba ayunar tal y como hacen los adultos. Sí, definitivamente ayunaría. Sin embargo, no todos los musulmanes de Ecuador gozan de este tipo de ambiente familiar estimulante. La familia musulmana de Shaden es algo muy inusual en Quito. Si bien el número de familias musulmanas en Ecuador está creciendo lentamente, aún son muy pocas. Los musulmanes ecuatorianos, conversos en su mayoría, son por lo general las únicas personas musulmanas dentro de familias católicas. Cada día de Ramadán, tienen que ayunar y romper el ayuno solos. Esto no es algo fácil debido a que en Ecuador hay muy poco conocimiento sobre el Islam y aun menos sobre Ramadán.
El Centro Islámico de Quito, Masyid As-Salam (Mezquita de la paz), intenta llenar este hueco ofreciendo un espacio para rezar, aprender sobre el Islam o simplemente para compartir con otros hermanos y hermanas en la fe. Aunque el Centro Islámico es relativamente pequeño en su número, es muy activo. En las dos últimas décadas ha trabajado de varias maneras para alcanzar a la sociedad ecuatoriana en general, para así poder borrar los conceptos erróneos sobre el Islam y proveer información precisa sobre la comunidad musulmana ecuatoriana y lo que ésta representa. Lo que es más importante, el Centro Islámico ha organizado un número de eventos y actividades para satisfacer las necesidades de la comunidad. La Jutbah (sermón) del viernes se da cada semana en español por un Imam ecuatoriano. Esto ha contribuido grandemente a cimentar entre los musulmanes ecuatorianos el sentimiento de que el Islam es una religión universal y no exclusiva de algún país, clase o raza. Los musulmanes ecuatorianos, ven en el líder de la comunidad una encarnación de la identidad musulmana ecuatoriana a la cual son afines: alguien que se siente cómodo siendo musulmán y ecuatoriano simultáneamente.
De la misma manera, cada viernes durante los últimos 17 años, se han dado en el Centro pláticas y clases en español sobre el Islam para las musulmanas. Invitadas no musulmanas son bienvenidas y asisten regularmente. Estas huéspedes han incluido a estudiantes, maestras, periodistas, grupos joviales de monjas amigables y muchas otras. Junto con estas pláticas, los sábados por la mañana se enseña árabe y recitación del Corán a mujeres y niños. Todas estas actividades han contribuido a que los musulmanes ecuatorianos se sientan como en casa. Poco a poco, los miembros de la comunidad han propuesto iniciativas propias, explorando así nuevas formas de satisfacer las crecientes necesidades de la comunidad.
En los días previos a Ramadán, las actividades se incrementan. Después de la charla del viernes (en realidad, más plática que clase), las señoras guardan sus cuadernos y bolígrafos, y se ponen a hablar animadamente sobre cualquier tema. Felicitan a la hermana que acaba de tener un hijo y se ríen de las anécdotas sobre el personal del hospital que no podía pronunciar el nombre musulmán del recién nacido. Intercambian información sobre nuevas maneras inventadas por ellas mismas de ponerse el Hiyab o sobre nombres de tiendas que venden ropa adecuada para las musulmanas. Otras historias, sin embargo, no son tan alegres. Una hermana fue amenazada por sus padres cuando éstos descubrieron que se había convertido al Islam. Ella quiere usar el Hiyab pero tiene miedo de que sus padres se den cuenta y la echen de la casa.
En medio de todo este parloteo y conversación, vienen los planes de Ramadán. Todos están emocionados. Todos están pensando en cómo organizar los banquetes colectivos para romper el ayuno en el Centro. Durante Ramadán la comunidad se reúne cada viernes para romper juntos el ayuno. Las hermanas ya están pensando desde ahora en qué platillos prepararán para el Iftar (ruptura del ayuno). Una hermana malhumorada ya ha comenzado a quejarse sobre las posibles manchas de comida en las alfombras. “¡Las hermanas tienen que limpiar las cochinadas que hacen sus hijos cuando traemos comida al centro!”, exclama, más preocupada por las manchas que por la comida. Las hermanas que tienen hijos pequeños, y que por lo tanto se sienten aludidas, simplemente la ignoran por completo y siguen hablando sobre recetas. La hermana Verónica quiere monopolizar los postres. Las demás lo consienten, siempre y cuando haga panqueques de chocolate. Ella está de acuerdo, pero antes les recuerda el tiempo y el trabajo que cuesta hacerlos. Una hermana que se preocupa por la salud, recomienda ensaladas. Pocas parecen entusiasmadas al respecto. Una hermana ataviada en una túnica larga y negra interrumpe la charla para recordarles a las demás que después de comer todo eso viene la oración del Tarawih. “Es mejor no comer demasiado”, comenta, “recuerden que hay que rezar después”. Y las discusiones, planes y pláticas alegres continúan hasta que se oye el Adhan (llamado a la oración) del “Aser (Oración de la Tarde).
En Ramadán, cada noche se llevan a cabo en el Centro las oraciones del Tarawih. A veces, el Imam o alguno de los hermanos locales dirigen la oración; otras veces, llegan a Quito enviados de diferentes latitudes para dirigir las oraciones en este mes. Dichos enviados son siempre bienvenidos, pues esto da la impresión de que, aunque estén distantes geográficamente hablando, los hermanos y hermanas ecuatorianos han sido recordados por el mundo musulmán en esta ocasión. Es hermoso sentir tal hermandad a nivel mundial. De igual manera, en algunas ocasiones las donaciones alcanzan para cubrir los gastos de los Iftar y las festividades del “Id. Otras veces, sin embargo, los fondos no son suficientes, y la comunidad trata de cubrir los gastos como puede. Las hermanas se preocupan, por lo general, de que haya suficiente dinero para hacer una fiesta adecuada del “Id para los niños. A veces, incluso el contagiarse de ánimos por el “Id resulta difícil. Es difícil, competir con la Navidad cuando alrededor del 80% de la población es católica, al menos de nombre incluyendo los parientes de algunos niños . Abuelos, tíos y tías, siempre les dan obsequios increíbles para Navidad. Cualquier niño puede confirmar que el “Id no es “Id sin globos, regalos y dulces.
Ramadán, para la comunidad musulmana de Ecuador, ha ido mejorando en los últimos años. Hay más actividades que antes, una mejor organización y más contacto con los países predominantemente musulmanes. Aún hay mucho por hacer, y la comunidad debe enfrentar muchos retos por ser una minoría religiosa floreciente en el Ecuador (menos del 1% de la población). Pero Al-lah Es muy Generoso y Amable, y no Olvida a quienes Lo recuerdan, incluyendo a quienes se encuentran en lugares que suenan tan remotos como Ecuador.
Que la paz y las bendiciones de Al-lah sean con ustedes.
In Quito, Ecuador, very soon all the members of the Muslim community will start preparing themselves in body and soul for the happy arrival of the sacred month of Ramadan. How fast this year has gone by!
Considering some aspects of the Western culture here in Ecuador, where no observance for division at social events is taking place, Assalam Mosque has become a unique place for sisters to feel solace and relax.
Another particular aspect is that Ramadan at the Equator in Latin America is a blessing due to daylight and night time being almost equal in length all the year round.
Even though Latino Muslims are a minority segment in the society, their joy starts when they remember that the struggle in Ramadan is being shared by one fourth of the entire world population.
Everyone needs a break in every aspect of life. Just knowing that Satan will be away for the whole month, makes us feel alleviated from his whispering. At the same time, this very same belief is an encouragement to keep up good work.
For the past seven years, Ramadan has given me the opportunity to talk about my religion to my fellow classmates, teachers, and non-Muslim friends. I try to exercise patience by telling them “I cannot eat at this time of the day”, or “I cannot drink for the sake of Allah.”
We try to explain to our classmates that our fasting is prescribed in the Quran, but not because of parents’ pressure.
Here in the Western Hemisphere, things were not that easy at the beginning.
Our parents try to use different methods in explaining the fasting of Ramadan to our school teachers. These methods range from writing daily explanations to the teachers, meetings with the school supervisors, and lately, the Imam of the mosque wrote a guide booklet for educators called, “What to expect when having Muslim children in school.”
This booklet is distributed to all teachers and school professors at the beginning of each academic year.
This educating material was very useful for all kinds of students in towns because it explains all the external aspects of Muslim fasting, especially since I am the only girl among 500 students at school who prays, fasts, and wears hijab.
I thank Allah who gives me the strength at my age, which is 16, to be capable enough to lift up the flag of Islam.
I learned in my early childhood to integrate all aspects of my Muslim life into a non-Muslim environment, because at the end of the day, I know for certain that Allah will reward me, as well as all the believers who seek His guidance and obedience.
By the blessing of Allah this coming Ramadan will be another amazing and unforgettable one.
A blessed Ramadan to all.
Shahzady Suquillo is the Muslim Youth Trustee at the Islamic Center of Ecuador Masjid Assalam in Quito, Ecuador. www.centroislamico.org.ec.
The holiest night of the year for a Nuyorican Muslim.
Rushing to Manhattan’s 96th Street mosque in the white gallabiya he promised Allah he would wear, toting leftover dates in tupperware, Abdu Alim did a good deed. In Spanish-inflected Arabic, “Salamm’alaikum,” he said, to a kid he didn’t know running out of the mosque. They exchanged peace like a high five, and Alim explained that that was an act of charity. And that every move you make toward the mosque and every letter you pronounce from the Qur’an is an act of worship, which is especially important during Ramadan, when every good deed yields one hundred times more blessings than usual, especially on that night, the Night of Power, in which Muslims all over the world remember when Allah first spoke to the holy Prophet Muhammad.
Though Alim calls himself a Nuyorican, he told me he is more a brother to the Pakistani he “salaamed” than the Hispanic teenagers who tried to distract him on the way to mosque one evening: “Look at this fool,” they said. “He looks like bin Laden, or Jesus Christ.” Alim told me he feels more fellowship with the Egyptian imam who invites him to the Islamic Society of Bay Ridge than the Pentecostal preacher who condemned him for bringing a Qur’an to church. His Arab, African, and Asian brothers and sisters in Islam are more family to him now than his nine nominally Catholic but not religious siblings.
No one knows for certain which night is Laylat al-Qadr, the Night of Power, when Muhammad received the first utterances of the Qur’an, “the recitation” in Arabic that began the twenty-three year miracle of revelation delivered by the angel Gabriel. According to hadith, the sayings of the Prophet, it probably falls on one of the odd nights during the last ten days of Ramadan, and “he who spends the night in prayer”and seeking rewards from Allah, his previous sins will be forgiven.” In anticipation of Laylat al-Qadr, Muslims are to strive especially in worship, through charity, prayer, and Qur’anic recitation, during the last part of Ramadan, which is “release from hellfire.” (The beginning is mercy; the middle forgiveness.) Islamic scholars determine which of the possible nights Laylat al-Qadr will be observed at each mosque, with an all-night prayer vigil that is said to be equivalent to more than 80 years of worship: This night is better than a thousand months. Alim said a brother explained to him that the Night of Power is decided when a majority of Muslims agree, judged by a moon sighting in Saudi. On this side of the world, a clear quiet night is a sign of Laylat al Qadr, according to Nagla Elbadawy, who teaches religion at Al Noor, “The Light,” the largest Islamic school in New York.
On a clear quiet night near the end of his second Ramadan, Alim left early from Islam Fashion, the women’s clothing shop where he was working, and broke fast at a Brooklyn water fountain on his way to the four train. (He knows it is recommended to hasten in breaking the fast when the sun has set, with anything, even water, which is precious in Islam. He consults other Muslims to make sure it’s okay to break the fast, and if none are around, he consults by cell phone.) Alim made it the 96th Street mosque in time for tarawih, the congregational prayer in which the entire Qur’an is recited at least once through, verse by verse, night by night.
While hanging up his coat and removing his shoes, Alim heard a young lady embracing Islam over the loudspeaker: laa ilaha illa Allah, wa Muhammad(un) rasul Allah, she repeated after the imam in two-word increments. Then, she professed Islam in English: “There is no god but God, and Muhammad is the Messenger of God.” Alim looked up, as if he were hearing angels, which he knew would be flocking down to earth that night to encourage acts of worship and supplicate to God on behalf of those who prayed. Shahada, the declaration of the faith in front of at least two witnesses, is a blessing, he told me. “When a people take shahada, all prior sins are erased, and they are considered like a child being born into the world.”
Abdu Alim took shahada twice first out of curiosity, and, more than a decade later, out of conviction. He was a Christian called Edwin all his life, until he embraced Islam in September 2002. He said he was “mis-raised” because his family didn’t bring him up religiously: Catholicism wasn’t a way of life in his family. But he was known to be the religious one among his six brothers and three sisters. In his twenties he began to seek the spirituality he lacked growing up in Spanish Harlem. He started going to different kinds of churches mostly Baptist and Pentecostal, “a little bit of everything,” he said. As he went along, he encountered different schools of thought in Christianity: “You have some people that will say Jesus is divine and man and those that believe He’s totally God. These different views started shaping me, my beliefs”I accepted the full conviction that Jesus is divine; He’s God, but that he was also man,” he said. Edwin got baptized during this time in a Church of God, but “I was really confused,” he said. “I would literally cry at times.”
In his late twenties Edwin started getting involved with the Seventh-day Adventists. He was studying with a man named David and started taking a correspondence course from an Adventist church in California. With the lessons he was getting in the mail were tests asking existential questions: “Why is man here? What is the soul? What is hell?” When he recounts the questions, his stress lands hard on the last words. He was acing them and getting diplomas. From the Seventh-day Adventists, he learned that the soul is the body. “They taught me that there’s a grave, and when you die, your soul, which is your body, is terminated, and your spirit, which is the light-force that sustains your body, goes back to the Creator. This was logical, and I accepted it.”
Comparing different verses of scripture, Edwin noticed that, throughout the Bible, “Jesus is considered an apostle of God, a servant of God, a slave of God.” He said this got him curious about Islam, and he began to read the Qur’an. At the time it was “like a plaything, a sport,” he said. “I was not really developed spiritually.”
Edwin lived in an Adventist fellowship community for a while in upstate New York. But he couldn’t stand it. He had a problem with the fact that they stressed the issue of the Sabbath, and with their strict vegan diet; there were times in the middle of the night he wanted to get up and go to the store and buy himself a cheeseburger. And “even at that time, there was something about Islam, about the book, the Qur’an, that really attracted me, especially when they speak of God as the most gracious, the most merciful. These words, they really took my heart.”
It was in upstate New York where Edwin took shahada for the first time, with no intention of becoming a Muslim: “I had a bad motive because I was just curious about what they had to say about Christianity, Jesus Christ, this and that”I was being like a spy, if you will.” But when Muslims were telling him that Jesus is not God, he started debating it more seriously. “I was curious. I was searching. I wanted to understand,” Alim said, and he got a lot of backlash for it: “I had Christians that would pray for me “cause they thought I had demons inside of me”They thought I was crazy. I thought I was too,” he told me in a low tone, as if let down after confessing his excited curiosity, a timbre of pathos that seemed to trail off alone.
Edwin was still engaging in bible study with David, who lead him to doubt the divinity of Jesus in 1982: “He gave me these notes speaking about God and His name. He said Jehovah. So the minute that he said Jehovah, in my mind I was like “what’s this Jehovah?’ Now he’s not a Jehovah’s Witness. He’s a Seventh-day Adventist, a very loyal individual. And I said, “What is this?’ He said, “This is another name for Jesus. He has many names. He has many titles.'”
Struck by skepticism, Edwin started studying different translations of the Bible. At the 42nd Street library he found the New World Translation, used only by Jehovah’s Witnesses, denying what he had believed all his life: that Jesus is the son of God and also God himself. “I saw it with my own eyes,” he said, almost gasping. “So I learned from the Jehovah’s Witnesses that Jesus is not divine.” Edwin said the Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jesus is an angel “Michael or Miguel? I get mixed up, “and just like God. The Qur’an says that there is no one who resembles Allah “not the angels, no one, nothing in the whole creation,” and we cannot conceive of the form of Allah. This knowledge came to Alim like meat to a baby, he told me. He had a hard time accepting it at first. But “Jesus said to His disciples: I have many things to tell you, but yet you cannot bear them right now,” he said with the cadence of an evangelical preacher. “I was getting deep into the meat of the Word, if you will.” But he wasn’t ready to take the powerful information he was reading.
In the fall of 2002, curiosity led Edwin from the Kennedy Chicken around the corner from the Jehovah’s Witness church near his home in the Bronx to “the shock of [his] life.” There was a Muslim named Muhammad working at the chicken joint, where Edwin would go eat and talk about religion after church. He would tell Muhammad, “Your Qur’an is wrong; you’ve got it all wrong.” Then, one day he asked, “Muhammad where’s your mosque?” Just out of curiosity, he told me. “But Allah turned that curiosity into something big.” Muhammad directed him to the African mosque in Western Treemont, and Edwin went in and started arguing with the imam about hellfire. He said the Jehovah’s Witnesses had brainwashed him into thinking there’s no hell “They really got me with that one.” He had a problem with scary Muslim descriptions of hellfire. A man at the mosque looked at him and told him he needed to become Muslim. Edwin said “No, I can’t be a Muslim,” and left the mosque discouraged.
His next time at Kennedy Chicken he told Muhammad the story, and Muhammad said, “If you become a Muslim, I’ll buy you nice clothes.” Alim was laughing as he told it. Muhammad gave him a film about the life of the Prophet, (A Message, starring Anthony Quinn) and a lecture tape by Ahmad Dida, an Indian scholar whose parents were Hindu.
“When I heard him, that was it,” Alim said. The brother talks in detail about the Qur’an and the Bible “Which is God’s word?” Muhammad was written about in the Bible, Alim said in a prophetic tone, so the Qur’an is the complete revelation. Two weeks later Edwin went to Muhammad and said, “I’ll take you up on that offer.” Muhammad sent him to the store, where Edwin chose a white gallabiya, because white symbolizes purity. He took shahada again “as a test, but with conviction” and started his life over as Abdu Alim.
He likened his time with the Baptists, the Pentecostals, the Seventh-day Adventists, and the Jehovah’s Witnesses to surfing the Internet; he was never satisfied with the answers he got to the questions he posed. “Now I got most of the answers,” he said. “I got the main ingredients to this religion; my mind is so clear like a blue sky with no clouds.”
Alim climbed the stairs to the large atrium of the 96th Street mosque on the thin black prayer slippers he got on discount from Islam Fashion. He entered, turned-off cell phone in hand because he didn’t have anywhere to clip it, and joined the last line of men, about four feet in front of the rows of women. He stood, pale and solemn with upright posture, shoulder to shoulder, soles solid on the ground, the sides of his feet pressed against those of his brothers in Islam. He was first told that Muslims pray side by side, toe to toe, heel to heel, “so the shaytan cannot go in between.” But the Egyptian imam in Bay Ridge explained to him the real reason: All nationalities of the world are praying together. It’s about the brotherhood of humanity, Alim elaborated. “The main idea of Islam is to bond the whole human race together, to share in the peace that God gives us by means of our obedience to Him.” 5′ 9″ and of slight build, Alim is smaller than most of the brothers he joined in prayer that night. Many of the blacks, whites, Arabs, and Asians in the front part of the mosque were not wearing gallabiyas, but sweaters and jeans, pinstriped suits, black leather jackets, hooded sweatshirts, and most were clean shaven. Alim doesn’t clip his beard, because that’s the way Allah made him. And he wears his robe of purity and a small white cap (so people won’t mistake him for a Jew) for Friday prayers and special occasions. He ran into his mother’s sister and her son once “dressed up like a Muslim.” As far as Alim knows, that’s the only inkling any of his blood relatives has of his conversion to Islam. He thinks it’s possible that his aunt conveyed that to the rest of the family. But she may not have recognized him as a Muslim: “Believe it or not, people don’t know what you into.”
Alim is an example of a demographic trend among new Muslims. The American Muslim Council estimates that there are up to 60,000 Hispanic-American Muslims, up from 40,000 in 1997. Ali has noticed more and more Latinos flocking to the Al Faruq mosque in Brooklyn, and he thinks it’s a miracle from God. But he’s less concerned with the demographics than the fact that so many people have embraced Islam since September 11, 2001. He believes that God is maneuvering to turn things around: “Those who are embracing Islam are replacing Muslims who are not practicing properly. They will be great models for humanity. The Muslim is the model for the whole human race: We’re like a light.”
Under the 99 candles, for the 99 names of Allah, Alim did a few rakas on his own while most of the congregation were sitting on their knees listening to the recitation. He learned the motions by imitating other Muslims: hands to the knees at the first Allahu Akbar; then upright; down to the knees; “God is great” again; forehead and nose to the floor; then back up to the knees; “salaam allekum” side to side. Alim knows that prostration is a form of humbleness to Allah, and he knows it’s good for him: “All my life up and down, up and down, five times a day, physically and mentally it has a psychological effect.” He was depressed earlier in the week about his wife, who is suffering from meningitis. But children at the mosque raised his spirits by showing him how to pray and teaching him a few verses from the Qur’an. He has memorized most of the first chapter, which Muslims recite before every prayer, in Arabic. He is careful to say only what he knows, which he learned mostly by ear, so as not contaminate the book by adding or leaving out any word.
At the pizza place around the corner, on a break from praying, Alim found the hadith on charity to which he had referred on his way to the mosque: “A good word is charity; every step you take to the mosque is charity; removing harmful things from the way is also charity,” he read with a magnifying glass, over a regular slice and a coffee, light and sweet. “Now watch what it says” on the husband’s right with regard to his wife: The righteous woman is obedient to Allah and her husband; neglecting the husband is a sin; having relations is a blessing. “This amazing, this little book,” he said. “I was reading it on the train yesterday, and I couldn’t stop.”
Back at the mosque, close to midnight, Sheikh Bayran Mulich lectured the congregation: “If we can be good Muslims, if we can be the Qur’an that walks, the world can change”Right now the Qur’an can change the whole human history”Islam is coming”It’s tough. It’s painful. But it’s coming”Allah creates hardship to test you”This is the night of repentance. We have to put the finger to ourselves, to our hearts. This is Adam’s way”This is the Night of Power because this is the night Allah has spoken. Read in the name of thy Lord. Read! Educate”Study”.When you study Allah gives you wings.”
Alim strives to be the Qur’an that walks. He wears his faith on his make-shift satchel bag, in white block letters on a green background: “No man is a true believer unless he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself,” his favorite quote from the Qur’an. He tailored the black briefcase he found with the stickers from Islam Fashion and a purple nylon strap, left over from the years he spent taking care of canines in veterinary clinics all over Manhattan, to suit his new purpose in life: to practice and teach Islam wherever he goes. Inside he carries a roll-up mini prayer carpet. When he has to pray on the go, he finds a place without too much traffic, removes his shoes, and does his duty to Allah. He also totes a chart that tells him the windows of time in which he should pray, a paperback of abridged hadith, and The Interpretation of the Meanings of the Noble Qur”an, a pocket sized English-Arabic translation zipped in a gold-colored cover. Alim is well aware of his duties to his creator and his society: “No one is a Muslim unless he teaches what God has given to him every piece of that knowledge, every piece of my humanity, every piece of me, I have to give to somebody.”
Abdu Alim found his own way in Islam, and he believes it was for his own good. The difficulty of learning Islam “becomes a part of you,” he said. “It begins like a burden, but in reality it’s not a burden.” It is part of fitna: “the struggle, the trial to find your own way”tests your patience, perseverance, tolerance.” Ali explained that this is especially true during Ramadan. At times he is tempted to break his fast. Then he reflects on the suffering of those in the world who are deprived of food, and he sympathizes in his own body.
This Ramadan, Abdu Alim would begin fasting when he went to sleep. He didn’t have a predawn meal like many of his brothers and sisters in Islam: He can’t tell “when the white thread becomes distinct” from the black thread of dawn.” And it’s too early for him, anyway. Usually, he would have a piece of carrot cake with milk before bed, making sure to brush his teeth at night so as not to break his fast with toothpaste in the daylight.
Often he would wake up around two or three in the morning and pour his heart out to God. He would beg Allah for forgiveness, to save us from the hellfire, and pray for the innocent in the midst of injustice: God have mercy and help your people; help me to be a good Muslim, a good human being. Making your petitions known to God, Alim said, “you could be crying, or just say it in your heart.”
His second holy month was 100 percent better than the first, when he had to miss 13 days of fasting because he got bronchitis. You are not to fast when it becomes a burden, he explained, “because God is not trying to do that to you.” (The traveler, the ill, the elderly, the insane, the pregnant, and breast-feeding women are permitted not to fast.) During his second Ramadan, Alim missed only the first day of fasting, because he hadn’t heard that the crescent moon had been sighted. But he knows Allah will forgive him, because he had the good intention to fast.
Abdu Alim said he’s not very knowledgeable about the Islamic calendar, and that the average Muslim shouldn’t concern himself too much with this. In Islam, he explained, “everything is by intention;” prayer begins with purification, “which takes place with the intentions of your heart”And every time you do purification, sins fall from your body like leaves from a tree.” And from the moment you intend to pray, “every step you take to the mosque, God is wiping out your sin.”
The entire honor, blessings, and peace of the Night of Power continue in every second of the night until Fijr. But Abdu Ali didn’t make it until dawn. He needed to go home and attend to his wife, to make sure she had her medicine and take her to the clinic early in the morning. “You have to be practical in Islam,” he said, “to take it at your own pace.” One woman told him taking Islam is like a baby taking milk. Abdu Alim says he feels like a child learning to walk.
En Nombre de Alah, El Misericordioso, El Compasivo
Salam Alaikum a Todos/as!!
Me llamo Ramadán” Algunos ya me conocen, les veo sonriendo, Os acordáis de mí? También entiendo por qué estáis emocionados” Es una relación de muchos años Y yo tampoco me he olvidado de vosotros, os conozco a todos Sí Sí, esas noches de paz, misericordia, tranquilidad y esas oraciones” Compartimos el salat, el duáa, el corán, y muchas lágrimas”
Este año, como todos, vengo con muchas sorpresas Regalos, cartas, señales, susurros, milagros y pruebas Soy el mensajero del misericordioso para sus siervos Me ha hablado de cada uno de vosotros y si supierais” Si supierais lo que sois para él de valiosos Me lo dijo: “Les quiero a todos y a todas”
Vengo de invitado por la tierra Dónde están para acogerme los generosos? Dónde están para recibirme los brazos? Esos triunfarán y tendrán éxito y quien a ello se niegue, perdido sea y desgraciado.
Estoy muy contento” Nuevas caras este año voy a conocer Y con otros corazones me voy a relacionar En China, Australia, Japón, Jordania, España y Senegal” Nuevos Musulmanes y niños que ya son mayores Para esos tengo regalos muy especiales Y de parte de Alah, mucha fuerza, fe y bendiciones.
Para ellos me quiero presentar: Os habrán hablado de mí vuestros amigos y padres Y vuestros sabios en sus libros me tienen presente Soy hermano de Muharram, Safar, Shaaban y Shawal” Y gracias a mi señor, de entre ellos el más especial Soy parte muy valiosa del tiempo y el tiempo es oro Con ser el mes del corán Alah me honró.
Alah dijo de mí: “En el mes de Ramadán se hizo descender el Corán, dirección para los hombres y pruebas claras de la Guía y del Discernimiento; así pues, quien de vosotros vea el mes, que ayune” Sura 2/ Aleya 185
Y vuestro profeta Muhammed (s.a.s), el ejemplo a seguir y la guía luminosa para la humanidad entera, deseaba verme teniendo el paraíso más alto asegurado antes de su muerte” Decía: “Oh Alah!! Bendícenos este mes de Shaaban, y haznos vivir hasta alcanzar el Ramadán? “
Me creéis ahora, que no soy un mes cualquiera? Alah prepara un ambiente especial para mi presencia Cierra las puertas del infierno, abre las del paraíso y las fuentes de la gloria Encadena a vuestro enemigo y origen del mal Iblis, maldito sea Multiplica las buenas acciones y borra los errores” Si Alah perdona a miles y miles, por qué no ser de ellos?
Os pido” Buena recepción y aviso: Voy a estar poco… Un lugar en vuestros corazones, más atención y esfuerzo Son días que pasan volando” y ya estoy llegando” Despertad!! Preparaos, oh buscadores del éxito!!
Por otro lado” Estoy triste, Muy triste” Veo en el mundo mucho odio y en cada rincón una guerra Qué os pasa delegados de Alah en su tierra? Esto no puede seguir así, tú y yo lo vamos a cambiar Con un mundo más justo soñamos y lo vamos a lograr.
Espero verte pronto y que el encuentro te sirva de algo Yo estoy ansioso por verte, qué hay de ti?
The Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Whoever prays on Laylat al-Qadr out of faith and sincerity, shall have all their past sins forgiven.” [Bukhari and Muslim, from Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him)]
The Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace) also said, “Seek it in the last ten days, on the odd nights.” [Bukhari and Muslim from Abu Sa`id al-Khudri (Allah be pleased with him)]
The scholars affirm that it is the best of nights, [al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, quoting Mi`raj al-Diraya, 1.216] because of Allah Most High’s words,
“Lo! We revealed it on the Night of Power.
Ah, what will convey unto thee what the Night of Power is!
The Night of Power is better than a thousand months.
The angels and the Spirit [Jibril] descend therein, by the permission of their Lord, will all decrees.
(That night is) Peace until the rising of the dawn.”
(Qur’an, Surat al-Qadr: 97)
Imam Nawawi and others explain that “The Night of Power is better than a thousand months,’ means that it is better than a thousand months without it.
Given the tremendousness of this night, it is recommended to seek this night, and to worship Allah in it, with prayer, supplication (du`a), remembrance (dhikr), and other actions. [Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar, quoting Mi`raj al-Diraya, and Nawawi, al-Majmu`] Because obligatory acts are more beloved to Allah than supererogatory ones, the most important thing for men is to pray both Isha and Fajr at the mosque.
When is it?
There is great difference of opinion about this, because it is of the matters whose certain knowledge has been lifted by Allah Most High from this Ummah, for the wisdom that people strive to seek it:
In general, it is agreed that it is most likely to be in the last ten nights of Ramadan, with the odd nights being more likely. Of the odd nights, the night of the 27th (which is the night before the 27th of Ramadan, for the Islamic day starts with nightfall) is most likely. Imam Shafi`i said that it is most likely to be the 21st, then the 23rd, then the 27th. Imam Nawawi followed the position of Imam Muzani and Imam Ibn Khuzayma that it moves around within the last ten nights. [Nawawi, al-Majmu` Sharh al-Muhadhdhab, 6.488]
However, it could be outside the last ten nights within Ramadan. It may even be outside Ramadan according to both early and late scholars. This has been transmitted from many of the Companions of the Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace), including Ibn Mas`ud (Allah be pleased with him). It is one of the reported positions of Imam Abu Hanifa, and also of many of the great knowers of Allah, including Ibn Arabi (whose position is quoted by Ibn Abidin with support), Abu’l Hasan al-Shadhili, Sha`rani, and many others.
May Allah give us the success of following in the footsteps of the inheritors of the Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace), outwardly and inwardly, and may He make us of those whom He loves.
This is one of the many reasons why one should strive to establish the night vigil prayer (tahajjud), daily.
It has been reported that, “Once the last ten [days of Ramadan] started, the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him, his family, and companions) used to spend the nights in worship, wake his family, strive, and tighten his belt.” [Bukhari and Muslim] Tighten his belt refers to determination.
The established position of Abu Hanifa and his two main companions, Abu Yusuf and Muhammad ibn al-Hasan (Allah have mercy on them) is that it is specific to Ramadan. Abu Hanifa said that it is not a fixed day but, rather, it moves around in the month. [Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar, from al-Bahr and al-Kafi] As for the hadiths about it being the night of the 27th, Ibn Abidin mentions that Abu Hanifa explained them as meaning a particular year.
Ibn Abidin quotes Ibn Nujaym’s Bahr al-Ra’iq that this is one transmitted position of Abu Hanifa. Another, mentioned in Qadikhan’s Fatawa al-Khaniyya, one of the most important works for fatwa in the school, is that the famous transmission from Imam Abu Hanifa is that it moves around the entire year; it could be in Ramadan, and it could be in another month.
Ibn Abidin said,
“This is supported by what the Master of the Knowers of Allah Sayyidi Muhyi al-Din Ibn Arabi mentioned in his Futuhat al-Makkiyya,
“People differed about Laylat al-Qadr. Some said it moves around the entire year. This is my position, for I have seen it in the month of Sha`ban, and in Rabi`, and in Ramadan. I have seen it most, though, in the month of Ramadan, and, specifically, in the last nights. I saw it once in the second third of Ramadan, on an even night, and once on an odd night. Therefore, I am certain that it moves around the entire year, on both odd and even nights.’
And there are many opinions regarding this, which reach 46 different positions.” [Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]
This is reported to be the position of Ibn Mas`ud (Allah be pleased with him) and other great Companions. [As mentioned by Bututi in his Kashshaf al-Qina`, and others; for the many narrations from the Companions and Followers about Laylat al-Qadr, see Ibn Abi Shayba’s Musannaf]
Imam al-Nafrawi al-Maliki mentions in his al-Fawakih al-Dawani fi Sharh Risalat Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani that the position of Imam Malik, Imam Shafi`i and Imam Ahmad, and the majority of the scholars is that Laylat al-Qadr is not a specific night. Rather, it moves around.
Imam Sarakhsi mentions in his Mabsut, a 30-volume masterpiece of Hanafi legal reasoning, proofs, and comparative fiqh that was mainly authored by dictation to students while unjustly imprisoned in a pot well, that the position of most of the Companions (Allah be pleased with him) was that it is on the night of the 27th. (3.127) This understood, others explain, to mean that its most likely night is the night of the 27th of Ramadan. [As in Ruhaybani’s Matalib Uli’n Nuha Sharh Ghayat al-Muntaha 2.225 in Hanbali fiqh]
Voluntary abstinence from food has been a spiritual purification rite in many religions. Penitence, purification, mourning, sacrifice and enhancement of knowledge and powers were some of the aims of fasting envisaged by these religions. Even philosophers, scientists and physicians of the past adopted fasting as a healing process needed to recreate health where there was sickness. Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Galen, Paracelsus, and Hippocrates all believed in fasting as a form of therapy (Haas).
We find in scriptures such as the Bible, for example, prophets like Moses, Elijah, Daniel and Jesus resorting to fasting for the sake of spiritual purification as a means of communication with God. The Qur’an also indicates that fasting is a religious practice common to the religions of the past:
[O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, in order that you attain piety.] (Al-Baqarah 2:183)
Fasting in Judaism
The Jewish calendar contains comparatively few regular fast-days. Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), is the only fast-day prescribed by the Mosaic Law:
And this shall be a statute for ever unto you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you: For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the LORD. It shall be a sabbath of rest unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls, by a statute for ever (Leviticus 16:29-31).
The Jews observe ten days of repentance starting with Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) and ending with Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement). This is a time to consider the sins of the previous year and repent.
The Synagogue is also empowered to impose fasting in case of a misfortune befalling the people… Yom Kippur is the day on which Jews believe that the fates of all Jews are to be sealed for the coming year. This day is held to be the most solemn and serious day in the Jewish calendar, which involves grieving for sins committed in the past year as well as praying for forgiveness. On this day, Jews fast for 25 hours from sundown on the previous evening until sundown the next night. To the Jews, fasting is more than just refraining from drinking and eating: working on fast days is not permitted, and having sexual relations and bathing, as well as using ointments and leather shoes, are prohibited.
The fast begins with a special evening service known as Kol Nidre (All Vows), and synagogue services last for the whole of the following day until the fast ends.
It is also customary among many Jewish communities to fast on the eve of New Year’s Day: Rosh Hashanah.
Besides Yom Kippur, there were four regular fast-days established by Jewish tradition to keep the memory of various sad events that affected the Jewish nation during their captivity. According to some scholars of the Talmud these fasts were obligatory only when the nation was under oppression, but not when there was peace for Israel.
The Synagogue is also empowered to impose fasting in case of a misfortune befalling the people, such as pestilence, famine, or an evil decree enforced by the ruler of the day.
The Jewish fasts normally begin at sunrise and end with the appearance of the first stars of the evening, (with the exception of Yom Kippur, which lasts from sundown to sundown). The giving of charity on a fast-day, specially the distribution of food necessary for the evening meal, is encouraged (Jewish Encyclopedia) .
Fasting in Christianity
From the sermon on the Mount, we know that Jesus instructed his earliest disciples to fast:
When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you (Matthew 6:16).
It is obvious that the kind of fast prescribed by Jesus was already familiar to the Jewish community, as there is no record that he taught any change. Therefore, it must have been complete abstinence from food and drink, as the above verses indicate. That is why he spoke of putting oil on the head and washing the face so that the tiredness of fasting may not be obvious to others.
Today, many Christians following the guidelines of the Church do not practice this kind of fasting; they avoid eating meat for a few days; or in some cases eat only one meal a day during the fast. And there is no ban on drinks either. This may be because the New Testament does not give any details as to how to fast.
Lent, which is observed by Roman Catholic, Anglican, and certain other churches, is a forty-day period of fasting and penitence in emulation of Jesus Christ’s example in his fast in the wilderness (deserts) of Judea.
The first main component of Lent is the obligation of abstinence which applies to all older than 14. For Roman Catholics, abstinence means not eating meat in any form, but not including fish. But there is also a concept of “partial abstinence”, meaning eating meat only once per day.
On three occasions in the Bible, people fasted for forty days. The first occasion was when Moses received the Ten Commandments (Exodus 34:28). The next occasion was when Elijah encountered God before the anointing of Elisha (I Kings 19:8). The third occasion for such a fast was when Jesus was in the wilderness and tempted by Satan (Matthew 4:2).
There are many reasons given in the Bible for fasting. It is seen as an act of sacrifice that reminds Christians of God and through fasting, while the flesh is denied comfort, the spirit is strengthened.
Fasting in Hinduism
On this day, Hindu devotees fast during the day and keep vigil during the night in prayer and meditation. Fasting in Hinduism is the denial of the physical needs of the body for the sake of spiritual gains. According to Hindu scriptures, fasting helps create an attunement with the Absolute by establishing a harmonious relationship between the body and the soul. Hindus believe that this counters the tendency of people to be obsessed with worldly indulgences, and not allowing time for spiritual attainment. Worshippers are advised to impose restraints on themselves to get their mind properly focused. One form of this restraint is fasting.
Fasting is prescribed on all Ekadasi days. Ekadasi is a Sanskrit word that refers to the 11th day of the lunar fortnight, twice a month (Bowker, 173).
Vedic scriptures strongly recommend observing a complete fast on the day of Ekadasi (without drinking water). Everyone from the age of eight to eighty, irrespective of caste, gender, or any material consideration, is recommended to fast on this day to make spiritual progress.
Those who cannot perform the austerity of complete fasting, can follow Ekadasi by eating once a day at midday, or eating once a day in the evening. However, under no conditions should one eat grains in any form on this day.
On this day, devotees fast during the day and keep vigil during the night in prayer and meditation. Observing Ekadasi, it is believed, would destroy all sins and purify the mind.
Fasting is seen not only as a part of worship; it is also a training of the mind and the body to endure all hardships and to persevere under difficulties and not give up.
Fasting in Islam
The chief objective of fasting in Islam is to develop God-consciousness. .. In Islam, fasting is an important act of worship done for Allah, whereby a Muslim draws closer to His Lord by abandoning food, drink, and sexual intercourse from sunset to sundown. Because of this, the sincerity of faith and devotion to Allah should become all the more evident. The believer knows that Allah will love him when he or she is ready to abandon for Allah’s sake the things he or she most desires. Fasting the lunar month of Ramadan is obligatory upon every Muslim, male or female, who is adult (i.e., has reached puberty), sane, healthy, and not traveling, as the Qur’an points out:
[Ramadan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur’an, as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (Between right and wrong). So every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting, but if any one is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed period (Should be made up) by days later. Allah intends every facility for you; He does not want to put to difficulties. (He wants you) to complete the prescribed period, and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perchance ye shall be grateful.] (Al-Baqarah 2:185)
The Islamic fast involves a free decision on the part of the believer to renounce the temptations of all appetites and desires of the flesh during the day time for the whole month.
There are other kinds of voluntary fasting like fasting on Mondays and Thursdays of each week, fasting 3 days in the middle of the lunar month, and fasting on the day of `Ashura’ and the day of `Arafah.
According to Muslims, fasting means abstaining from food, drink and sexual intercourse from dawn to sunset, Muslims are also supposed to abstain from lying, backbiting and arguing, as the Prophet Muhammad indicated: “Fasting is not merely abstaining from eating and drinking. Rather, it is also abstaining from ignorant and indecent speech. So if anyone abuses you or behaves ignorantly to you, then say: I am fasting, I am fasting” (Al-Hakim).
The chief objective of fasting in Islam is to develop God-consciousness, leading to the blossoming forth of goodness and virtue in life because the kind of self-restraint learnt from fasting is capable of strengthening the will to lead a better and purer life in this world, which in turn will lead to an eternal life of happiness in the next.
Bowker, John. Oxford Concise Dictionary of World Religions. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.
Haas, Elson M. Staying Healthy with Nutrition: The Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medicine. Berkeley, CA: Celestial Arts, 2006.
Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol.5, pg.347-9.
Welsh, John W. “Fasting in Earliest Christianity” . Insights (a publication of FARMS), Vol. 21, No. 9, 2001.
Professor Shahul Hameed is a consultant to the Discover Islam Section in IslamOnline. net. He also held the position of the President of the Kerala Islamic Mission, Calicut, India. He is the author of three books on Islam published in the Malayalam language. His books are on comparative religion, the status of women, and science and human values.
If work is simply the place you earn your bread and punch in your hours, why not redefine it this Ramadan? Make your workplace the scenario for Dawa, especially in the current tension-filled atmosphere of misunderstandings about Islam and Muslims.
Here are some ideas that can help you share Ramadan with your boss and coworkers this year.
1. Begin informing people about it as soon as possible
Start telling bosses, supervisors and coworkers about Ramadan now. Bring it up in the course of conversation casually.
In terms of when Ramadan starts and ends, just give the projected date (i.e. for Ramadan this year, it’s November 6th). Don’t get non-Muslims involved in the technicalities of finding out the correct date. Do the same for Eid. You can decide for yourself which date to start and stop fasting on.
2. Post it up
On your office or department bulletin board, put up a factsheet on Ramadan, with a short introduction of yourself and which department you are from. Don’t just give the facts, but also include a few sentences about what this blessed month means to you (i.e. spiritual growth, closeness to God, being more generous, etc.).
3. Get an article printed in your local newspaper and circulate copies
This will not only be good Dawa – it may even promote department/company pride (i.e. one of our employees is a writer too!). Post it up with the masthead of the newspaper on top.
4. Negotiate your lunch hour with the boss
This is another task that needs to be done as soon as possible. Explain that you will need a short break for prayer and then you will take lunch break at Iftar time.
5. Talk to the office cafeteria people about your Iftar needs
If you normally buy lunch at the cafeteria, explain to the cafeteria staff that you would like to arrange to have your lunch saved for Iftar time. Ask them to keep one serving of lunch in the fridge so you can pick it up at Iftar time.
6. Create a “Ramadan corner” at your desk
If you have your own desk at work, dedicate a corner of it that is accessible to passersby the “Ramadan corner”. Put a basket of dates, sweets, written information on Ramadan and maybe a small frame of eye-catching Islamic calligraphy on it. Post a note inviting coworkers to the free sweets and information.
7. Have a small Iftar gathering at your desk
Invite coworkers to a snack of dates and fresh fruits during Iftar time. At least once, have a more formal meal ready for everyone (check with your boss before you do this).
8. Distribute written material on Ramadan
If you’ve got a central location in your workplace where people can pick up free newspapers, get permission to stack a factsheet and pamphlets on Ramadan.
You can also leave the sheets on the Ramadan corner of your desk.
9. Get a Ramadan greeting from your boss
Have your boss, commanding officer or head of the department issue a public notification that Ramadan is coming up or is here and they and the company congratulates all Muslim employees on this occasion.
10. Put an article about Ramadan in the office newsletter
If you have a company or department newsletter, write up a personal article about why you are looking forward to Ramadan and what Ramadan is. Then arrange for them to publish it.
A new night beginning of the sacred month the thin slice of the crescent visible only a few minutes to the naked eye
Awaiting the news, here, far away in a land pretentiously secular with In God We Trust visited only on Sunday
Awaiting watching the Internet for the crescent news And some calls made Relatives far flung: Chicago, New York, London, Frankfurt and Los Angeles
Yes! The crescent has been sighted! Ramadan Mubarakh! Over miles and miles and miles of telephone lines
The masjid schedule consulted, and alarm clock set. For the meal before first light
Work the next day, same tempo, same schedule. The boss and co-workers say; “Oh, you’re fasting?” “Why?” Unable to comprehend the beauty of a simple ritual: “Come, we’re going to see a movie after work; we won’t make you eat!”
Going home, 1/2 hour before sunset from the 9-5 routine, never ending, never changing
Arriving home, break fast with some friends meal cooked the night before.
Remembrance of Ramadan in Karachi, Casablanca, Lahore, Cairo and Dhaka
Tears, and anger expressed today: Murder and slaughter on this day! Killed in prostration! Where Abraham (peace be upon him) lies! Martyrdom in a Holy month! On Holy land!
And hope expressed: Our faith desecrated, but, fastest growing in America! A simple prayer; perhaps one day we will fast in San Francisco, as we fasted in Dhaka, Cairo, Lahore, Casablanca and Karachi
And the fast is broken and later friends and family mill around, some content others tired, angry, grieved and all somber on this day of Ramadan… Peace
Two reporters of VOA Indonesia met with LADO sisters on October 7, 2005. It was during Ramadhan, and the sisters were having an Iftar Dinner at one of the sister’s house. We conducted an interview with some members but mostly with Zulayka Martinez who we think could represent the group with her story as the only Muslim in her family.
Before the day of this event, we visited with brother Mujahid and his family at his residence to speak with him about how his life changed after he became a Muslim. Mujahid, his wife, and his father are all Columbian-American converts to Islam. Based on the interviews and footage, we produced a story about the growing number of Latino Muslims in the United States.
The website address for VOA Indonesia is http://www.voanews.com/indonesian.
My first Ramadan was a time of change for me. It would be the first time I engaged in the Islamic fast. Also, I would learn about how important Islam is to me in the face of societal criticism and ignorance.
On a personal and practical level, I was also able to take time to figure out some important matters in my life. I decided to pursue a career in business instead of academia, which for me means pursuing an MBA rather than a PhD. It was a very tough decision; I am glad I had the down time to really focus on important issues. I also finally changed my name legally. I had to wait almost two months to get clearance from the Federal and Colorado Bureaus of Investigation before I could complete the process (and I thought we lived in a free country). My name change was official and legal as soon as the holy month began.
With the name change and fasting, I finally felt like a real Muslim. How is that possible? Well, I got daily mispronunciations of my name, and I still do. I am asked where I am from in South Asia or the Middle East. And, I constantly stumbled into people who did not know much about Islam, specifically, about our holy month. I was gracious and forgiving, and I tried not to make any issues out of things. However, I was taken by such blatant disregard people have for anything different from the “American standard.” Based on my Latino heritage and family, I used to always be asked if I could speak English and where I was from. I could brush those experiences off as naivety (or ignorance). Now, I am treated as if I can only be an outsider to the “American experience.”
Being an outsider in the USA has been commonplace for me just like in the daily experiences of some people of color. I have been alienated plenty of times for being different due to my huge Mexican family or the Roman Catholic practices I grew up participating in. However, now I related to my Muslim friends on a new level. I remember in years past accidentally inviting Muslims to lunch during Ramadan. Finally, I was on the other side of the question. I was rearranging my schedule, and learning to negotiate the pangs of hunger and thirst.
I was always hungry. This is my primary memory of Ramadan. I noted what I ate and how much I ate. I broke the fast with friends, and I ate a year’s worth of halal meat. I always watched a clock to note how much time until I could eat again. It became a daily obsession, even after I got used to the fast. Food and water were truly my favorite things.
I truly learned to savor my meals. I have to admit that food at the end of the day tasted the best. My everyday home cooked meals tasted like I was out at my favorite restaurant. Water had become a favorite elixir of the day; it felt 120% more refreshing. I have to admit that not drinking water or tea at work was a hard sacrifice, especially when I did repetitive work.
The worst of times was when I was too tired to eat. I would come home exhausted after putting in a long class and work day; and I would not have the energy to prepare a meal. I usually would lie down and pass out for a few hours. Sometimes, I would not get up until the morning prayer time. Therefore, I would go entire days on one meal. Naps were another friend of mine. I took many of them in order to rest up for the fast and balance out my sleep.
I was always tired. This is another significant memory of my first Ramadan. I attend graduate school full-time, and I work full-time. However, I was more exhausted than usual. Work, school, prayers, friends, and homework kept me busy and made the time pass quickly. I tried to focus on my deen and to experience the full effect of the holy month. Amidst the exhaustion, I gave up soda and candy. I could not rely on soda pop to pep me up.
My Muslim friends are important to me, and they got me through my first time fasting. I also met some awesome Muslims in all my interactions in the community here in Denver. Lots of folks had advice, but I noticed that many converts had the best advice for me. I am starting to understand what it means to be an American Muslim. While Islam is rooted in many beautiful and diverse cultures, I see a need for Islam to express itself here in the United States. Converts to Islam bring a different experience of the faith. Moreover, Latino Muslims also contribute to the culture of converts here in the US. As we continue to develop our ‘umma, it will be interesting for all of us to bring our Ramadan experiences together.
On a lighter note, a non-Muslim friend at school told me she was also fasting with us in honor of Ramadan. She told me this after class one day (mid-day) as she finished her coffee and donut. I smiled and noted that fasting is tough at first, but we adapt to it. I was perplexed by her snacking in the middle of the day. We later discussed rules of fasting as I explained this important Pillar of Islam. I gently noted the restrictions around eating in Ramadan if one intends to fast as a Muslim.
My family has finally started showing disapproval. I was first asked all about Ramadan, and I was asked all about fasting. I was also asked continuously about why I converted. The questions felt invasive initially, but I patiently responded to the inquiries. While they live back home in California, my close relatives began questioning my fast and calling it a “health concern.” The lack of water throughout the day was the biggest concern along with my legal name change. I finally was seen at home as a Muslim, and I would see my family’s disapproval, which is a discussion for another time.
Overall, I was forever changed by my first Ramadan. My eating and sleeping habits were forever impacted. The most important time for me was the last two weeks of Ramadan. I began to feel a sort of ecstatic state by the end of the day. I was really able to connect to my prayers at the end of the day. While noting all the details of how my first Ramadan felt, the most important was my connection to Allah (swt). That connection has changed how I see Islam in my life and how I feel that Islam is becoming an integrated, guiding force in it. For me, that was most significant about the holy month. And, I hope to continue to grow in our faith tradition. Insha’Allah.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
The call to prayer; the savoring of fresh dates, then followed by Salaatul Maghrib at 6:30 p.m., the usual on a busy Ramadan evening. The Islamic Education Center of North Hudson (IECNH) has traditionally hosted weekend iftars for families, sponsored by donors early in the month. This year, however, a few of us Latinas thought it would be nice to sponsor a dinner ‘para la comunidad’.
The iftar was our way of sharing the blessings of Ramadan with our local Muslim community, mostly Arab-speaking. Our local Muslim community does not always have the opportunity to know their fellow Latino Muslim. This has more to do with language and cultural barriers than with a lack of outreach methods or in-house programs.
For several years now, the IECNH ‘dawah committee’ has organized weekly classes and special events, such as the Annual Hispanic Muslim Day and monthly open houses where the atmosphere is familial. On Wednesdays, the preferred language of choice is Spanish, and public Shahaadas are often made. Except for a few masjid regular attendees, little interaction occurs beyond “Salaam Alaikum.”
However, on Saturday, October 15, 2005, we all proved otherwise at the Islamic Educational Center of North Hudson in Union City, New Jersey. The Latina sisters with lots of amor prepared multicultural dishes for a full house of about 150 worshippers. Diana Mariam Santos, who is married to a Turk, Neisy Lara and Flor Maza, who are both married to Egyptians, prepared greens, pasta, and Mediterranean style lentil soup (sorry no beans).
The hard work was definitely well worth the effort. You can always tell how good the food and service is by the long stay between the meal and the gathering for the khatira (short speech) before Taraweeh prayers. Not that iftars are all about that. Well, it does make for small talk, “Great soup, and well-seasoned chicken, what gave the rice that color?” Beyond that, I can’t say there was much “interaction” but sure enough a lot of warming of the hearts.
Islam is the religion of unity, the ummah, Ahl-us-Sunnah. This is most evident during Ramadan when the love is transparent on virtually every Muslim’s face. I pray that we initiate more of these cross-cultural get-togethers and share the blessings of Islam throughout the year. Amin.
The Message – Canada / January 1997 http://www.islamzine.com/ramadan/fasting4.html
All praises to Allah (SWT), Lord of the worlds. He who revealed in His Glorious Quran, “Oh you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those who came before you that you may keep your duty to your Lord (having taqwa),” 2:185. And may blessings and-peace of Allah (SWT) be upon His last Messenger Muhammad ibn Abdullah, forever.
Oh you who believe, Ramadan is a sacred month wherein Almighty Allah (SWT) is constantly testing His creation and giving humanity the opportunity to achieve infinite, endless Bliss. Fasting is a complete purification and a means to developing the consciousness of Allah’s (SWT) presence. The consciousness of Allah (SWT), Taqwa, is a protection against the schemes of Shaitan, and the suffering of this world. Allah (SWT) has informed us that, “Whoever keeps his duty to Allah (has taqwa), He ordains a way out for him and gives him sustenance from where he imagines not. And whoever trusts in Allah, He is sufficient for him. Surely Allah attains His purpose. Allah has appointed a measure for everything.” (65:2)
Many Muslims today have a misconception about fasting and the activities of a fasting person. They go into a state of semi-hibernation, spending most of their daylight hours in bed. If they fear Allah (SWT) , they wake up for prayer, but then return to sleep immediately. This unnatural sleep makes them become lazy, dull witted and often cranky.
Ramadan is actually a time of increased activity wherein the believer, now lightened of the burdens of constant eating and drinking, should be more willing to strive and struggle for Allah (SWT). The Prophet (pbuh) passes through approximately nine Ramadans after the Hijrah. They were filled with decisive events and left us a shining example of sacrifice and submission to Allah (SWT).
In the first year after the Hijrah, the Prophet (pbuh) sent Hamza ibn Abdul Muttalib with thirty Muslim riders to Saif al Bahr to investigate three hundred riders from Quraish who had camped auspiciously in that area. The Muslims were about to engage the disbelievers, but they were separated by Majdy ibn Umar al-Juhany. The Hypocrites of Al-Madinah, hoping to oppose the unity of the Muslims, built their own masjid (called Masjid al-Direr). The Prophet (pbuh) ordered this masjid to be destroyed in Ramadan. On the seventeenth of Ramadan, 3 A.H., Almighty Allah (SWT) separated truth from falsehood at the Great Battle of Badr. The Prophet (pbuh) and 313 of his companions set out to intercept a caravan of their own goods that had been left in Makkah. It was led by Abu Sufyan, himself, and estimated at 60,000 dinars. They were met, instead, by a well equipped army of the nobility of Quraish, intent on putting out the light of Islam. Despite being outnumbered three to one and appearing weak and unseasoned, the Muslims defended their faith with a burning desire to protected the Prophet and meet their Lord through martyrdom. Allah (SWT) gave them a decisive victory on this day of Ramadan, that would never to be forgotten.
In 6 A.H., Zaid ibn Haritha was sent to Wadi al-Qura at the head of a detachment to confront Fatimah bint Rabiah, the queen of that area. Fatimah had previously attacked a caravan led by Zaid and had succeeded in plundering its wealth. She was known to be the most protected woman in Arabia, as she hung fifty swords of her close relatives in her home. Fatimah was equally renowned for showing open hostility to Islam. She was killed in a battle against these Muslims in the month of Ramadan. By Ramadan of 8 A H., the treaty of Hudaibiyya had been broken and the Muslim armies had engaged the Byzantines in the North. Muhammad (pbuh) felt the need to strike a fatal blow to disbelief in the Arabian Peninsula and conquer the city of Mecca. Allah (SWT) had declared His Sanctuary a place of peace, security and religious sanctity. Now the time had come to purify the Kaabah of nakedness and abomination. The Prophet (pbuh) set out with an army having more armed men than Al-Madinah had ever seen before. People were swelling the army’s ranks as it moved toward Makkah. The determination of the believers, guided by the Will of Allah (SWT), became so awesome that the city of Makkah was conquered without a battle, on – 20 Ramadan. This was one of the most important dates in Islamic history for after it, Islam was firmly entrenched in the Arabian Peninsula. During the same month and year, after smashing the idols of Makkah, detachments were sent to the major centers of polytheism and al-Lat, Manat and Suwa, some of the greatest idols of Arabia, were destroyed.
Such was the month of Ramadan in the time of the Prophet (pbuh). It was a time of purification, enjoining the good, forbidding evil, and striving hard with one’s life and wealth. After the death of the Prophet (pbuh), Muslims carried on this tradition and Allah used the true believers to affect the course of history. Ramadan continued to be a time of great trials and crucial events.
Ninety-two years after the Hujrah, Islam had spread across North Africa, Iran, Afghanistan, Yemen and Syria. Spain was under the tyrannical rule of King Roderic of the Visigoths. Roderic had forced his six million serfs and persecuted Jews to seek the aid of the Muslims of North Africa in order to be delivered. Musa ibn Husair, the Umayyad governor of North Africa, responded by sending his courageous general Tariq ibn Ziyad at the head of 12,000 Berber and Arab troops In Ramadan of that year, they were confronted with a combined Visigoth army of 90,000 Christians led by Roderic, himself, who was seated on a throne of ivory silver, and precious gems and drawn by white mules. After burning his boats, Tariq preached to the Muslims warning them that and Paradise lay ahead of them and defeat and the sea to the rear. They burst with great enthusiasm and Allah (SWT) manifested a clear victory over the forces of disbelief. Not only was Roderic and his forces completely annihilated, but Tariq and Musa succeeded in liberating whole of Spain, Sicily and of France. This was the begining of the Golden Age of Al-Andalus where Muslims ruled for over 700 years.
In the year 682 A.H., Salahuddin al-Ayyubi, after battling with the Crusaders for years, finally drove them out of Syria and the whole of their occupied lands in the month of Ramadan. The Muslim world was then destined to meet one of its most frightening challenges.
In the seventh century A.H. the Mongols were sweeping across Asia destroying everything that lay in their path Genghis Khan called himself “the scourge of God sent to punish humanity for their sins. “In 617 A.H. Samarkand, Ray, And Hamdan were put to the sword causing more than 700,000 people to be killed or made captive. In 656 A.H. Hulagu, the grandson of Genghis Khan, continued this destruction. Even Baghdad, the leading city of the Muslim world, was sacked. Some estimates say that as many as 1,800,000 Muslims were killed in this awesome carnage. The Christians were asked to eat pork and drink wine openly while the surviving Muslims were forced to participate in drinking bouts. Wine was sprinkled in the masjids and no Azan (call to prayer) was allowed. In the wake of such a horrible disaster and with the threat of the whole Muslim world. and then Europe being subjected to the same fate, Allah (SWT) raised up from the Mamluks of Egypt, Saifuddin Qutz, who, united the Muslim army and met the Mongols at Ain Jalut on 26th Ramadan, 468 A.H. Although they were under great pressure, the Muslims with the help of Allah (SWT), cunning strategy and unflinching bravery, crushed the Mongol army and reversed this tidal wave of horror. The whole of the civilized world sighed in relief and stood in awe at the remarkable achievement of these noble sons of Islam.
This was the spirit of Ramadan that enabled our righteous forefathers to face seemingly impossible challenges. It was a time of intense activity, spending the day in the saddle and the night in prayer while calling upon Allah (SWT) for His mercy and forgiveness.
Today, the Muslim world is faced with drought, military aggression, widespread corruption and tempting materialism. Surely we are in need of believers who can walk in the footsteps of our beloved Prophet (pbuh),the illustrious Sahabah, Tariq ibn Ziyad, Qutuz, Salahuddin and the countless heroes of Islam. Surely we are in need of believers who are unafraid of the threats of the disbelievers, yet kind and humble to the believing people; Muslims whose fast is complete and not just a source of hunger and thirst.
May Allah (SWT) raise up a generation of Muslims who can carry Islam to all corners of the globe in a manner that befits our age, and may He give us the strength and the success to lay the proper foundations for them. May Allah (SWT) make us of those who carry out our Islam during Ramadan and after it, and may He not make us of those who say what they do not do. Surely Allah (SWT) and His Angels invoke blessings and peace upon our Prophet Muhammad. Oh you who believe send blessings and peace to him forever.
EL CENTRO ISLAMICO DEL ECUADOR http://www.centroislamico.org.ec
NORMAS GENERALES EN LA OBSERVANCIA DE AYUNO DEL MES ISLAMICO DE RAMADÁN
“! CREYENTES!. SE OS HA PRESCRITO EL AYUNO, AL IGUAL QUE SE PRESCRIBIO A LOS QUE OS PREDECIERON. QUIZAS ASI TEMAIS A ALAH (DIOS) “. – SURA AL-BAQARA: 183
¿EN QUÉ CONSISTE EL AYUNO?
El ayuno de Ramadán es una orden de Dios y una purificación, que consiste en la abstinencia total de la bebida, comida, relaciones matrimoniales y otros detalles más que puntualizaremos.
¿QUÉ TIEMPO DEL DIA?
Comienza desde el amanecer hasta la puesta del sol.
¿QUÉ TIEMPO DEL AÑO?
El mes de Ramadán, que es el noveno del calendario Islámico.
¿PARA QUIÉN ES OBLIGATORIO?
El ayuno es una obligación inexcusable, pues su mandato esta claramente especificado por ALAH (SUBHANA WATA ‘ALA), en el Cor-án:
“AQUEL QUE PRESENCIE EL MES DE RAMADÁN, QUE LO AYUNE”.
El ayuno del mes, es obligatorio para todo musulmán, hombre o mujer, que haya alcanzado la mayoría de edad (de acuerdo a la Sharía), que se encuentre gozando de plenas facultades mentales y físicas. Existen las siguientes categorías:
1) Obligatoria: a) el mes de Ramadán. b) promesa personal de ayuno. c) expiación de faltas. 2) Voluntaria: de acuerdo al SUNNAH . Ejemplo: los seis días del mes de Shawwal.
El día de Arafat. El día de Ashura y otros establecidos en la Tradición Profética.
DIAS PROHIBIDOS DE AYUNO:
1) Los días de las fiestas de los dos EID anuales. 2) Los días que se llaman de ¨Tashriq¨ o los tres días subsiguientes al EID AL-ADHA. 3) Otros establecidos en el Sunnah como: todos los días del año; sólo el viernes, etc.
CONDICIONES PARA EL AYUNO:
Tener la intención de ayunar por complacer a ALAH en su ordenanza establecida. Siendo preferible reanudar la pureza de la intención cada noche. Para las mujeres adultas: – Encontrarse en estado de purificación del ciclo mestrual – Estar fuera del puerperio o embarazo.
LO QUE QUEBRANTA LA LEY SAGRADA DEL AYUNO Y QUE OBLIGATORIAMENTE NECESITA SER EXPIADO: – COMIDA, – BEBIDA Y- RELACIONES MATRIMONIALES.
Por cada día quebrantado intencionalmente: – Liberar un esclavo, o – Ayunar dos meses seguidos, o – Dar de comer a sesenta personas de escasos recursos.
LO QUE ANULA EL AYUNO, EXPIANDO SOLO EL DIA POR DIA.
1) Medicamentos en gotas para la nariz o el oído (sintiendo el sabor en la garganta). 2) Inyecciones (sueros, vitaminas) o supositorios. 3) Provocar intencionalmente el vómito. 4) Comer el Sojur (bocadillo en la madrugada) – o el Iftar (desayuno a la puesta del sol), antes del tiempo prestablecido. 5) Fumar o percibir olores de petaca (inhalatorios). 6) Exagerar el enjuague bucal de la ablución, hasta que provoca la entrada de agua. 7) Otras de menor escala.
LO QUE NO ANULA EL AYUNO.
1) Comida o bebida sin intención (olvido). 2) El kojol (polvo negro en los párpados). 3) Gotas en los ojos, sin que se sienta su sabor en la garganta. 4) Natación si evita la entrada de agua en la boca. 5) Vómito sin intención. 6) Polvo o insectos del camino si los asimiló accidentalmente. 7) Humo del vecino fumador. 8) Otras de menor escala.
NO ANULA EL AYUNO, PERO ES PREFERIBLE EVITARLO.
1) Atrazar el Iftar (desayuno), con intención. 2) Probar comida durante su preparación. 3) Besos de pareja (sin intención de provocar). 4) Exámenes de sangre. 5) Palabras grotescas, o más. 6) Otros.
ALGUNOS PARÁMETROS PERMITIDOS PARA EL AYUNANTE
1) Exhalar aromas fragantes de flores. 2) En lugares extremadamente calurosos, tener una toalla húmeda permanente o bañarse. 3) Otros.
ES SUNNAH DURANTE EL AYUNO.
1) Atrazar el Sojur (Comida de la madrugada , antes de empezar el ayuno). 2) Apresurar el Iftar (Ruptura del ayuno). 3) Romper el ayuno con dátil (algo dulce o agua). 4) Seguir el Ejemplo del Profeta Mujammad y no tratar de hacer más o menos que Él.
RAZONES QUE PERMITEN NO AYUNAR.
1) La enfermedad. 2) Estar de viaje. 3) La mujer embarazada y la que esta dando de lactar. 4) Maltratos físicos o inminente amenaza de muerte. 5) Entrar en edad que es difícil ayunar, vejez.
Es importante evitar completamente palabrería vulgar, soez, mentiras, rencillas, peleas y en general actos desonestos, que estén involucrados los cinco sentidos del cuerpo y que puedan poner en grave peligro el cumplimiento de esta LEY SAGRADA DEL AYUNO.
DU’A (súplica) para el momento de la ruptura del ayuno:
Transliteración: “ALAJUMMA LAKA SUMTU, WA BIKA AMANTU, WA ‘ALA RIZQUIKA AFTARTU”.
Traducción: “!Oh Dios mío!. Por Ti yo he ayunado, en Ti pongo toda mi confianza y con Tu sustento yo rompo el ayuno”.
EL CENTRO ISLAMICO DEL ECUADOR, MEZQUITA “ASSALAAM”, HACE LOS MAS FERVIENTES VOTOS PORQUE ALAH (DIOS) TODO PODEROSO ACEPTE NUESTRA PURIFICACION DEL AYUNO, Y CULMINE CON UNA FELIZ FIESTA DEL “EID” Y UN AÑO LLENO DE BENDICIONES.
The celebration of the month of Ramadan possesses an important religious and social meaning for the Islamic community and Latin America is no exception. In the Hispanic world, Muslims should adapt their schedules in order to break their fast, but at times, due to work difficulties, they have no choice but to delay it. They are limited to breaking the fast with a glass of water, and have to wait until they leave work to break the fast collectively as tradition states.
Ramadan in Chile
Fareed Maymoun, a Moroccan immigrant, is used to waking up early to go to his job as a construction worker, but when Ramadan starts he gets up half an hour before sunrise. “It’s an important time for me. For the 3 years that I have been living in Chile Ramadan has a very special meaning for me. The first day is marked by a reunion at the mosque to celebrate another year, and break the fast together with the rest of the community.”
Like Fareed, the 3,000 Muslims that live in Chile try to integrate their lives with their spiritual beliefs in a difficult environment. “Christian co-workers are now used to my fasting. When we are on our lunch break many openly admire the will of those who are fasting, although they do not understand why we do it,” he states.
The Islamic Center itself fills with children and their parents, when the prayers are finished families get together to enjoy the many activities prepared: popular songs, and delicious food.
“In the mosque a festive atmosphere is evident, people fill the halls and their children run from here to there. You hear kul ‘am wa anta bikhair, to wish many happy returns for the beginning of Ramadan” Nawal Alvarez states.
The majority of families take advantage of this day to eat together. “We prepare Mote con huesillo, a special juice with pieces of dried apricot.” explains Nawal.
“In Morocco Fareed and I would have met with all our relatives, but here we’re going to eat with some friends at the mosque. Last year was the first time to break the fast without my family and it was very hard”, adds Yasmina, Fareed’s wife.
Nawal and Yasmina have it all prepared for this year, the first weekend of Ramadan they will organize an iftar (meal to break the fast) at the mosque. “We will be eight women cooking and the menu is a traditional one, first sweet tea then couscous and dried fruits with many Ramadan sweets”, explains Yasmina.
The first days of Ramadan as well as the last days are marked by family visits while children enjoy their new toys and sweets. However, for those working, their situation is no different from those of any Muslim minority.
“The difficult thing is when we are not allowed to leave a short time before the Maghrib (sunset) Prayers. For us, it is very important to be with the family at the Prayers and the breakfast. Normally we offer to work during lunch breaks to compensate. But sometimes the supervisors do not accept,” stated Fareed. “In Chile it is more difficult than in other countries because here there are fewer Muslim immigrants. In France, or Germany, there are businesses where Muslims are a majority and they are able to manage their work hours.” He said.
Ramadan in Spain
In Spain an Agreement of Cooperation, between the Spanish State and the Islamic Commission of Spain was established in 1992 and approved as Law 26/1992. The law affirms in article 12.1 that: “Members of the Islamic Communities belonging to the Islamic Commission of Spain who desire, will be able to request the interruption of their work on Friday of each week, from 1 p.m. to 4.20 p.m., as well as finishing work one hour before sunset, during the month of Ramadan”.
The celebration of Ramadan acquires a special importance in all Spanish cities–like Madrid, Barcelona and Catalonia–where numerous Muslim communities reside. Muslims get together to break their fast and they organize social meetings in the mosques. Amin Villoch, a Spanish Muslim, illustrates this, “The first day of Ramadan more than 9.000 Muslims gather at the mosques in Madrid to celebrate the breaking of the fast. Ramadan is an important factor in reuniting the community. The Islamic Center of Madrid always prepares many activities during this month for them.”
After the Maghrib Prayers, the mosque becomes a place of festivity. Everyone eats harrisa (an oriental sweet) and dates; Ramadan treats which no Muslim house lacks. “Women spend all day preparing typical food to offer to their relatives and friends whom they meet at the mosque”, explains Amira Masaad. “The first day of Ramadan is a special day. Although, it’s difficult being far away from my family, the mosque organizes events and activities to bring the Muslim community in Spain together.”
Many of the Muslims living in Catalonia visit the mosques occasionally, more to meet the community than to pray. However, when Ramadan starts, the mosques are filled with Muslims. “Muslims celebrate fully these 30 days and dedicate a lot of time for prayers.” This is when the situation becomes difficult too, “the lack of space for Prayer comes to light during Ramadan. The Catalonian Muslim community puts a lot of effort into establishing new places for Prayers and to be able to continue to attract more Muslims.”
Other activities that Spanish mosques organize during Ramadan include Arabic classes, Islamic culture classes and Qur’an and Hadith discussions.
Ramadan in Nicaragua & Dominican Republic
In Nicaragua approximately 300 Palestinian, Jordanian, Iraqi, Libyan and Nigerian citizens, as well as 4 Nicaraguans; all faithful Muslims, celebrate the month of the Ramadan. In 1999, Muslims established a mosque in Cuidad Jardin, where they gather every Friday to pray Ahmed Hajjami, a Muslim who has resided in Nicaragua for 6 years, assured us that approximately 300 faithful Muslims, celebrate Ramadan in Nicaragua.
“We begin at half past five in the morning. There isn’t any difference in complying with Ramadan in Nicaragua or any other part of the world”, he said.
Nevertheless, he emphasized that given the characteristics of Nicaragua, it is more difficult to carry out Ramadan’s obligations. “One of the main obstacles is the time to pray, on some occasions we only pray in the morning and at night, it is almost impossible to pray the other three times,” he explained.
For Muslims in Nicaragua, the renewal of faith during this period is the main celebration. Ramadan is not a month of penitence by fasting, but of festivals with banquets, gifts and new clothes.
The mosque also publishes a calendar with prayer times and times of fasting, which is coordinated with Al-Noor Mosque in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. In the Dominican Republic there are approximately 2,500 Muslims, and the ones that reside in the capital regularly attend the festivities of Ramadan at Al-Noor Mosque, the only mosque in the city.
Yunis Ribas explains, “Although the community is rather small in the Dominican Republic, Muslims gather on the first day at Al-Noor Mosque and their families usually accompany them. Later they meet in Recoleta at a halal (permitted by Allah) restaurant, a Jordanian immigrant runs it. We usually have harira, a traditional Moroccan soup, and shawarma, a spicy meat dish, on the first day.”
The mosque distributes audio materials for the Muslim community, and Muslims gather for Tarawih Prayers before heading home. “You can see the happiness of Muslims when they exchange greetings after the prayers, especially when there are new faces. Usually the day ends with a traditional herbal tea.” Yunis declared.
Ramadan in China
Li Xan is a Chinese student who studies engineering at the Universidad Del Desarrollo in Chile. He has been living with his father in Chile for 3 years now. However, he remembers how his family used to celebrate Ramadan in China. “During Ramadan my father would get up at 4 o’clock in the morning, and an hour later he’d arrive at the Mosque of Niujie, in the center of Beijing, just in time for the Dawn Prayer.”
For Muslims in China, Ramadan is traditionally a period of fraternity, solidarity and Islamic charity.
“Every day in Ramadan, we attended all the five prayers at the mosque. My father’s friends understood our commitment, and when he was occupied with a lot of work they would help him to do it so that he could be punctual for Prayers”, Li explained.
Li is among more than 20 million Chinese Muslims that live by Ramadan’s obligations, continuing strictly the Islamic doctrines, praying five times a day in mosques and abstaining from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk. According to the Islamic association of China, Chinese Muslims have convenient access to prayer services as there are more than 34.000 mosques throughout the country.
“Since the foundation of the Peoples Republic of China in 1949, the rights and religious liberty of the Muslims have been protected by the constitution and the law”, he states.
The Niujie Mosque, built in 996, and that of Dongsi, 500 years old, are the two most two famous mosques in the capital. The Niujie Mosque is an important center for Islamic studies and operates a Qur’an school. During the last 50 years, the government has assigned, on numerous occasions, special funds for the repair of these buildings because of their historical importance.
Beijing has over 900 Muslim restaurants and food stores. Some supermarkets sell food especially for followers of Islam. “Thanks to the social stability and the fast economic growth of the country, Chinese Muslims enjoy a peaceful Ramadan. Many Muslims share traditional food with their neighbors, and distribute gifts to poorer Muslims,” noted Hang Xian a 61 year old Chinese Muslim trader.
Wherever you are, Ramadan is undoubtedly a most special month.
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