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RAMADAN EoACA?a time for inner cleansing.

Ramadan is considered the holiest month of the Islamic calendar, as it was the month when Allah sent Archangel Gabriel (Jibril) to Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) with the first verses of the Holy Quran.

Exemptions

There are a few categories of people who are exempt from fasting, and are instead required to feed at least one poor person a day during Ramadan for the fasts they missed. These include people with mental health issues, children, elderly, those sick, travellers, pregnant women and nursing mothers.

Fasting Dos and Don'ts for Muslims

n The use of eye drops and contact lenses are permissible.

n While brushing teeth, one should be careful not to swallow any water.

n Travelling for the sole purpose of being exempt from fasting is considered a sin.

n If a woman starts menstruating, even moments before sunset, her fast becomes null and she has to make up for it later.

n Forcing oneself to vomit deliberately nullifies a fast.

n One can take a nap during the day.

n One must be dignified and have pure demeanour during the fast.

Non-Muslims and new expats

n Don't eat or drink in public before sunset. This includes consuming anything in your car/taxi, including chewing gum. It is a serious offence for which you can be fined.

n Refrain from wearing revealing clothes throughout Ramadan.

n When it is iftar (ending of fast) time, don't begin eating before anyone else and wait for the prayer to sound, which signifies the beginning of iftar.

n Don't smoke in public.

n Don't try to pressure a Muslim into ending his/her fast.

n Don't show public displays of affection

n Don't raise the volume on your stereo or TV during prayer times.

n Don't swear in public.

n Greet Muslim colleagues and friends with Ramadan Mubarak or Ramadan Kareem!

Women

Women having their monthly period are also exempted, but only on those days that they are menstruating, and should resume fasting when the menses stop. They also have to make up for the days they missed by fasting a day for each missed day any time before the next Ramadan.

Behaviour

Ramadan fasting is not just for food; people fasting should abstain from food, drinks, and sexual activities. Any negative behaviours such as lying, using foul or insulting language and backbiting is forbidden in general but would be a great sin in the days of Ramadan. During Ramadan, Muslims aspire to become more pious, generous, be good to others and exercise self-discipline.

A spiritual act

The intention to fast (Niyah) is crucial for a person's fast to be accounted for, as fasting is more of a spiritual act than it is a physical one. It is not needed to state the intention of fasting verbally, as it is enough to silently commit oneself to the intent of fasting and then one should approach the month with a clear conscience and a purity of mind and soul.

Humility and health

Fasting is meant to make people humble themselves and increase their moral discipline as well as serve as a reminder of the plight of those less fortunate who live in hunger and deprivation. It also has health benefits as it helps the body to detoxify and speeds up the healing process as the energy usually used for digestion is diverted towards metabolism and the immune system.

Hijri Calendar

The Hijri calendar is a 12-month lunar calendar. It is 11 days shorter than a solar year, and so it shifts with respect to the Gregorian calendar.

Islamic Months

1 Muharram

2 Safar

3 Rabi Al Awwal

4 Rabi Al Thani

5 Jumada Al Ula

6 Jumada Al Thani

7 Rajab

8 Sha'aban

9 Ramadan

10 Shawwal

11 Dhu Al Qa'da

12 Dhu Al Hijja

Mosques

Mosques are Islamic worship places. They have unique architectural features. They usually have one or many domes and minarets. The main sections of a mosque's interior are the Mihrab and Minbar. The Mihrab is a niche or recess that falls at the midpoint of the wall facing the Qibla. The Minbar is usually a platform next to the Mihrab, where the imam stands to give a sermon

Moon Sighting

Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said that Ramadan officially starts with the sighting of the slight crescent moon (hilal), which marks the beginning of the month. The Moon-Sighting Committee of the UAE is responsible for determining the start and end of Ramadan.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Jul 31, 2011
Words:755
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