📿 Appreciation 🔁 for collaborative achievement 🔃 of piety 🍃

“Whoever completes the fasts of Ramadhan then adds to them the fasts of six days in the month of Shawwal, it will carry the thawab of fasting for the whole year.” (Sahih Muslim) For Muslims, the Eid is an occasion to increase in good deeds. Each Eid marks the conclusion of an important worship, and the determination to continue in obedience and submission to Allah.

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Eids: al-Fitr and al-AdhaAnas (Peace be upon him) reported that upon arriving in al-Madinah, the Prophet (saws) found its people celebrating two days whose significance was held over from the Jaahiliyyah. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: When I came upon you, you had two days that you continued to celebrate from the Jaahiliyyah; indeed Allah(swt) has reiterated them for you: the day of Sacrifice and the day of Fitr (breaking the fast). Shaykh Ahmad `Abdur-Rahman al-Banna said: “(They are better because,) the day of Sacrifice and that of Fitr are legislated by Allah(swt), and are His choice for His creatures. They follow the completion of two of the greatest pillars of Islam, Hajj (pilgrimage) and Sawm (صوم) (fasting).

Observing Ramadan consists of a process which aims at spiritual upliftment
By Enizahura Abdul Aziz

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Doha is the capital city and most populous city of the State of Qatar. Doha has a population of 1,351,000 in a city proper with the population close to 1.5 million. The 2022 FIFA World Cup is scheduled to be the 22nd edition of the FIFA World Cup, the quadrennial international men’s football championship contested by the national teams of the member associations of FIFA. It is scheduled to take place in Qatar in 2022. This will be the first time the World Cup will be held in the Middle East, and in an Arab and a majority-Muslim country. This tournament will be the last one to involve 32 national teams, including the host nation, as the next one will have 48 teams. 

Qatar shares the world’s largest gas field, South Pars, with Iran. The commercial and business ties have irritated Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council countries at odds with Iran over Tehran’s support for Shia-linked militants. [wwwpages: thenational.ae/opinion/comment/qatar-needs-to-address-its-policy-contradictions] By Dr Majid Rafizadeh; is a leading Iranian-American political scientist, president of the International American Council and board member of the Harvard International Review. Iran’s state-owned newspapers have been cheering Qatar’s recent behaviour. Iranian leaders also appear to applaud the rift between Qatar and other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

King Salman, US President Donald Trump and leaders of Muslim countries stand for a family photo at the Global Center for Combatting Extremist Ideology in Riyadh. The center is established as a result of the international cooperation in facing the extreme ideology leading to terrorism, the world’s first common enemy.

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Kor’an 007:157 Those who follow the Messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write (i.e. Muhammad) whom they find written with them in the Taurat (Torah) (Deut, xviii, 15) and the Injeel (Gospel) (John xiv, 16), – he commands them for Al-Ma’ruf (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam has ordained); and forbids them from Al-Munkar (i.e. disbelief, polytheism of all kinds, and all that Islam has forbidden); he allows them as lawful At-Taiyibat [(i.e. all good and lawful) as regards things, deeds, beliefs, persons, foods, etc.], and prohibits them as unlawful Al-Khaba’ith (i.e. all evil and unlawful as regards things, deeds, beliefs, persons, foods, etc.), he releases them from their heavy burdens (of Allah’s Covenant), and from the fetters (bindings) that were upon them. So those who believe in him (Muhammad), honour him, help him, and follow the light (the Qur’an) which has been sent down with him, it is they who will be successful.

Achieving Piety Through FastingIslam teaches that the purpose of fasting is not to make people hungry and thirsty, or to deprive them some of their comfort and conveniences. The real purpose of fasting, according to Islam, is to learn piety.

Piety is highly emphasized in the Quran and Sunnah. There are more than 158 verses in the Quran on piety, and there are hundreds of hadiths on this subject. Muslim scholars see piety as being Islam itself. It is the total sum of all Islamic values and virtues. If one has piety, one has achieved everything. Piety is the consciousness of God. It is to do one’s best efforts to live by His commands and to avoid His prohibitions. The Quran has used the word piety to mean consciousness of God, fear of God, worship of God, sincerity in faith, and avoidance of disobedience to God.

How does fasting build the character of piety according to the Islamic worldview? Let us look at some of the things that a fasting person is supposed to do, and see how they are related to the concept and spirit of piety.

  1. Unlike Prayers, charity, and pilgrimage, fasting is an invisible act. According to Islam, only God and the person who is fasting know whether he or she is fasting or not. One may quietly eat or drink something and no one will notice and no one can find out. However, the fasting person has made this commitment for the sake of God and he or she wants to guard the purity of his or her fast for the sake of God. Fasting thus teaches sincerity, and it helps a person learn to live by the principles of his or her faith regardless whether others know or do not know. This is the very purpose and essence of piety.
  2. Food and sexual intercourse are two needs and desires that are essential for human survival and growth, but they can become easily corruptive and disruptive if they are not properly controlled and disciplined. Piety requires observing the rules of God when one eats and when one enjoys sexual relations. Fasting teaches how to control and discipline these desires.
  3. The world is full of temptations. It takes a lot of discipline to say “no” to something that is very tempting but not good for us. During fasting we learn how to say “no” to things that are otherwise permissible and good, but are forbidden during fasting. When one learns how to say “no” to that which is generally permissible, then one can easily control oneself to avoid that which is forbidden. This is the spirit of piety.
  4. People generally care for themselves and their families, but they often ignore the needs of others. Those who are wealthy do not feel the pain and suffering of those who are hungry, homeless, and living in poverty. Through fasting we taste — to some extent — the pain and suffering of those who are poor and destitute. Fasting teaches empathy and sympathy, and it takes away some of our selfishness and self-centeredness. This is the spirit of piety.
  5. When Muslims fast together in the month of Ramadan, it builds an atmosphere of virtues, brotherhood and sisterhood. They come closer to their Creator and also come closer to each other. Unity, peace, harmony, brotherhood and sisterhood are the fruits of piety. In Ramadan, Muslims enjoy these fruits as they learn to grow in piety.

The Origins of Ramadan
By Wesley Baines

Ramadan, which falls on the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, is the most religiously significant time of year for Muslims throughout the world. It marks the month in which the Quran–the holy text of Islam–was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad by the archangel Gabriel in 610 CE.

This is a month of fasting, prayer, and reflection for Muslims. During this time, Muslims refrain from eating or drinking from sunrise to sunset, and strive to avoid thoughts and behavior which are considered to be impure under the tenets of Islam. Muslims believe that the spiritual rewards for this good behavior are increased during Ramadan. This fast is broken each day with a meal shared amongst family and friends, and the end of Ramadan culminates in a three-day festival, known as Eid al-Fitr. The origins of Ramadan lie in the life of Muhammad, the founding prophet of Islam, and in the story of his encounter with the divine.

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The world’s first App against global hunger. ShareTheMeal is an App developed by the United Nations World Food program. It allows you to donate and feed a child with one tap of your smartphone. Ramadan is a time to think about those who live in hunger throughout their lives and also a time to give charity which makes this App perfect for those wanting to take action and give to the deserving.

The First Ramadan

When Muhammad was forty, he began to spend time in solitude, thinking on questions which troubled him. To do this, he took on the habit of retreating to a cave within a mountain called al-Hira for a month at a time. One year, around 610 CE, Muhammad went up to al-Hira on a day like any other, but he was soon visited by the archangel Gabriel, who took hold of Muhammad and commanded terrified man to “read.” Muhammad was so afraid that he refused twice before actually asking what it was he was supposed to read. Gabriel replied with this. “Proclaim! in the name of thy Lord and Cherisher, Who Created man, out of a clot of congealed blood: Proclaim! And thy Lord is Most Bountiful, -Who taught by the pen -Taught man that which he knew not.”

Gabriel then proclaimed that “Thou art the messenger of God and I am Gabriel,” and Muhammad fled the cave, thinking that he had been accosted by an evil spirit. He ran down the mountainside, and as he did, the angel, Gabriel, appeared in its true form in the sky above him, filling the entire sky, which had become green, which, incidentally, is where Islam gains its official color.

When Muhammad returned home, he told his family of what had happened, and when he sought the wisdom of a particularly devout Christian relative, he was told that he had been chosen as a prophet of God. Shortly after, Muhammad began to receive further revelations from Gabriel, as well as from the realizations of his own heart. According to hadith—the stories about Muhammad’s life—all holy scriptures were sent down during Ramadan, making these 30 days the holiest in this religion.

The Traditions of Ramadan

As one of the Five Pillars of Islam—the fundamental acts of Islamic worship—Ramadan is rife with sacred traditions.

The beginnings and endings of Ramadan are ruled by the lunar cycles, and so the beginning of this holy month typically falls a day or so after the new moon. At this time, many Muslims decorate their homes with lamps, lights, crescents, and stars. Although make no mistake—Ramadan isn’t a time for celebration, but rather for spiritual reflection.

The use of lanterns is beautifully prevalent, with these lights being commonly hung at shops, homes, streets, and many other places. This tradition may have originated in Egypt, where, during the Fatimid Caliphate, Caliph al-Mu’izz li-Din Allah was greeted by lantern-holders to celebrate his rule.

On a man-made island, the I.M. Pei–designed Museum of Islamic Art houses an extensive collection from across the Muslim world. At Souq Waqif, a traditional market, vendors offer goods like clothing, crafts and spices. Pei, who traveled far and wide to develop an understanding of Islamic architecture, based the design on the ninth-century ablution fountain at the Mosque of Ahmad Ibn Tulun in Cairo, where he said he found “a severe architecture that comes to life in the sun, with its shadows and shades of colour,” at the time of the building’s completion.

The central activity of Ramadan is, of course, fasting. For the entire month, Muslims refrain from eating while the sun is shining, with the exception of those who are elderly, ill, or have any other condition which might preclude fasting.

  1. This fasting must be intentional. The concept of niyyah—which means “intention”—guides the fasting of Ramadan. Muslims must willfully dedicate their fast to Allah alone in order to achieve niyyah.
  2. Each day, this fast is broken after sunset, often with dates, as the Prophet Muhammad recommended. Muslims gather their friends and families in what are called Iftar parties to eat in fellowship.
  3. After breaking the fast, but before eating dinner, Muslims offer the fourth of their five daily prayers—the Maghrib prayer, and after dinner, they make their way to their Mosques to offer the fifth daily prayer, known as the Isha prayer.
  4. The day will often end with a special voluntary prayer called Taraweeh, which is offered by the congregation.
  5. The final ten days of Ramadan are considered some of the most holy. The 27th night is of particular importance—this is called the “Night of Power and Excellence.” This is the night that Muhammad received his first revelation, and many Muslims spend this day praying and reciting the Quran.

After the 30 days of Ramadan have passed, the month concludes in a celebration, known as Eid-ul-Fitr, wherein Muslims gather to offer prayers of thanks. Delicious dishes are prepared for the occasion, and Muslims everywhere visit friends and exchange gifts during this time.

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Special Ramadan Coverage

A Month of Faith

This isn’t just a time for abstract reflection—Ramadan has a real, practical purpose that creates real changes within those who observe it.

Ramadan is all about growing nearer to God. Physically carrying out tasks solely for God helps Muslims to feel that He is a reality in their lives, and bequeaths a sense of purpose and direction.

It is also about developing and strengthening powers of self-control so that, throughout the rest of the year, sinful desires and thoughts can be better resisted.

Finally, Ramadan is a great time to learn and practice charity, kindness, and generosity. Deprivation and fasting helps Muslims to remember the plight of those less fortunate, as well as those blessings that may normally be taken for granted.

Above all, those who observe Ramadan find themselves with a chance to truly contemplate their faith and rid themselves of those bad habits they have accumulated over the previous year. It is a time unlike any other in the Islamic calendar, a sort of “reset button” for the soul.For Muslims, Ramadan was founded so that humankind could benefit from its customs to change themselves for the better, strengthening their bond with God and enabling themselves to make the world a better place.Eid-al-Fitr (Arabic: عيد الفطر‎) is a day of feasting and is celebrated by Muslims to congratulate themselves for fasting the month of Ramadan. It is celebrated on the first of Shawwal (10th month of the lunar Islamic calendar). This Eid is a reward to the Muslims who spent the month of Ramadan fasting and in worship. Like Eid al Adha, this Eid begins early in the morning with a prayer held in a large, open area. Before the Eid prayer, Muslims are obligated to pay Zakat-al-Fitr, a charity that goes to poorer families who cannot otherwise engage in the festivities.

Exemption From Fasting
By Adil Salahi

Fasting in Ramadan is an incumbent duty on every adult Muslim of sound mind and health and who is resident, not traveling. A woman must also be in her period of cleanliness from menses or postnatal discharge. Thus, those who are not required to fast are non-Muslims, the mad, the young, the ill, the travelers, women who are in their menstruation or postnatal periods, the elderly, and pregnant and breast-feeding women. Some of these groups are not required to fast at all, such as the non-Muslims and the mad. Others, such as the young, should be encouraged by their guardians to fast. Some cannot fast but are required to compensate by fasting at a later date. Others are exempt but required to compensate for not fasting.

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Here is a detailed explanation:

Fasting is an Islamic act of worship, hence those who are not Muslims are not required to fast. Since sanity is a prerequisite for imposing any duty, the insane are exempt from the duty of fasting. Ali quotes the Prophet as saying: “Responsibility is waived from three types of person: An insane person until he recovers, a sleeping person until he wakes up, and a young boy or girl until they attain puberty.” (Related by Ahmad, Abu Dawood and Al-Tirmidhi). Although the young are not required to fast, their parents or guardians are directed to encourage them to fast so that they are used to it from childhood, as long as they can bear its hardship. Al-Rubayi’ bint Mu’awwadh said that the Prophet sent callers to the districts of the Ansar in the morning of Muharram 10 (the day which was recommended for fasting in the early stages of Islam) to announce: “He who is fasting let him continue his fast to the end of the day, and he who has not fasted, let him fast the rest of his day.” We observed the fasting for that day ever since, and made our young boys fast as well. We used to go to the mosque and take with us soft toys for them. If a boy cried, we gave him his toy to play with until fast-breaking time.” (Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim).

Exemptions Requiring Compensation

Elderly men and women, and those who are ill with no expectation of recovery, and those engaged in very hard occupations and cannot earn their living by other means are exempt from fasting if fasting causes them undue hardship all the year round. They are required, however, to feed a needy person for each day on which they do not fast. Ibn Abbas says: “The elderly man is exempt from fasting provided that he feeds a needy person for each day. He is not required to fast at a later date.” (Related by Al-Daraqutni and Al-Hakim).

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Al-Bukhari relates on the authority of Ata’ that he heard Ibn Abbas reciting the Qur’anic verse: “Those who find fasting a strain too hard to bear may compensate for it by feeding a needy person.” (2:184).

Ibn Abbas said that this verse has not been revoked. It is valid for an elderly man or an elderly woman who cannot fast. They feed for each day a needy person.

An ill person with a chronic disease who is not expected to recover and finds fasting too much of a strain is treated in the same way as an elderly person. The same applies to workers engaged in very hard jobs. Shaikh Muhammad Abdou says that the phrase, “those who find fasting a strain too hard to bear,” in the Qur’anic verse, refers to the elderly, the ill and people in similar circumstances such as those whose livelihood requires them to do very hard jobs such as miners.

The same ruling applies to criminals sentenced for life imprisonment with hard labor, if they actually find fasting too much of a burden and if they have enough money to cover the required compensation.

Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding may not fast if they fear for themselves or for their children on the basis of past experience or on the advice of a competent doctor or if it seems highly likely that their fears are well founded.

They are required to offer compensation without the need to fast later on, according to Ibn Umar and Ibn Abbas. Abu Dawood relates on the authority of Ikrimah that Ibn Abbas commented on the Qur’anic verse that includes the phrase, “those who find fasting a strain too hard to bear,” saying: “It is a concession to elderly men and women who can hardly fast.

We are not like robots that have no choice in our actions.  Everything happens by the will of God but at the same time we have a free will to choose our choices and this is why we are accountable for our actions.

“They may exempt themselves from fasting and feed a needy person for every day they do not fast. Similarly, pregnant and breast-feeding women may not fast if they have fears (meaning for their children). They are required to compensate by feeding needy people.” Ibn Abbas used to say to a pregnant wife of his: “You are in the same position as a person who finds fasting too much of a strain. You may compensate for it without having to fast later on.”

The Prophet is quoted as saying: “God has relieved a traveling person from fasting and from half of his prayers, and He has relieved pregnant and breast-feeding women from fasting.” The Hanafi school of Fiqh requires such women to fast later on in compensation for not fasting in Ramadan, and they are not required to feed needy persons. The Hanafi and Shafie schools of Fiqh are of the view that if such women fear for their children only, they have to fast later on and feed needy persons, while if they fear for themselves or for both themselves and their children, they have only to fast later on.

Exemption Requiring Later Fasting

Those who are ill and hope to recover and those who are traveling may not fast, but they have to compensate by fasting later on. God says in the Qur’an: “But he who is ill or on a journey shall fast instead the same number of days later on.” (2:185).

The sort of illness which qualifies for exemption from fasting is the severe illness which is likely to get worse or to be prolonged by fasting. According to Ibn Qudamah, a leading scholar of the Hanbali school of Fiqh: “It is reported that some of the early scholars have extended this exemption to cover all sorts of illness, including pain in a finger or toothache, on the basis that the Qur’anic statement expressing the exemption is of general import, and also in view of the fact that a person on a journey is exempt from fasting even if he does not need such an exemption.

Hence, the same applies to any ill person.” Al-Bukhari, Ata’ and the Zahiri school of Fiqh subscribe to this view.

A healthy person who fears to get ill by fasting is treated as an ill person; he is exempt from fasting. The same applies to anyone who suffers greatly from hunger or thirst to the extent that he fears for his life. Such a person must break his fast even though he may be healthy and not traveling. He has to fast later on.

God says in the Qur’an: “Do not kill yourselves. God is compassionate to you.” (4:29). If someone who is ill fasts in spite of his illness and bears the burden of fasting patiently, his fasting is valid although his action is not commendable because he has turned his back on a concession God has granted him. Moreover, he may injure himself by his action.

As for those who are traveling, the question arises: Which is preferable, fasting or not fasting. The Hanafi, Shafie and Maliki schools of Fiqh prefer fasting for anyone who finds it easy. Not fasting is preferable for those who find fasting too much of a strain. Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal prefers the exercise of the exemption, i.e. not fasting. Umar ibn Abd Al-Aziz prefers what is easier to the person concerned. Hence, if a person finds fasting in Ramadan easier despite traveling and finds fasting later on more of a burden, it is preferable for him to fast.

If a traveling person makes up his mind during the night to fast, and starts his day fasting, he may break his fast during the day. On the other hand, if a person who is not traveling intends to fast, then starts traveling during the day, most scholars are of the opinion that he is not allowed to break his fast for traveling.Ahmad ibn Hanbal and others think that it is permissible for him to discontinue fasting. According to the Prophet’s traditions, when a person is ready to travel he may break his fast before he actually sets off on his journey. The distance which qualifies a traveler to make use of the exemption is the same which qualifies for shortening prayers. Again, the duration of stay at his destination during which a traveler is allowed not to fast is the same as the duration during which he is allowed to shorten his prayers.

Scholars differ on this point with some of them making that duration as short as four days and others extending it to twenty days. It is generally more acceptable to say that unless a traveling person makes up his mind to stay as a resident at the place to which he has traveled, he continues to be a traveler.

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