Muslims begin observing month of Ramadan
By SEETA PERSAD Friday, July 20 2012
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A little boy sits among men praying at Eid-ul-Fitr observances at the Marvin Lee Stadium Grounds in Macoya. Muslims around the world will begin observ...
Muslims around the world will this weekend begin observing the holy month of Ramadan in preparation for the celebration Eid-ul-Fitr.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. Every day in the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn to sunset, abstaining from food and drink. According to Imam Suffiat Mohammed from Barrackpore, Ramadan is the month during which the Qur’an was revealed, providing guidance for the people.
Fasting in Arabic is called, “Siyam” or “Saum,” which literally means “to be at rest.” “The religious practices instituted by God, such as fasting, are blessings from God. If we can practice our religious duties the way we are supposed to, we get many benefits. Furthermore, these practices allow us to be more conscious of God in our lives,” Mohammed said.
The month-long period of fasting begins with the sighting of the new moon and will end after 29 or 30 days, when the crescent moon is again sighted to indicate the first day of the tenth month of Shawwal, when Eid-ul-Fitr will be celebrated.
Fasting will begin from 4.39 am, and break at 5.56 pm. Taraweeh or extra devotional prayers are held every night at masjids, and Muslims also take the opportunity to offer prayers for the souls of their departed relatives. Ramadan is also a time when charity is given, as according to the Holy Qur’an, when one performs a good act, it is multiplied many times over. During the month of Ramadan, it is prescribed by the Qur’an that all adult able-bodied Muslims abstain from food and drink during the day.
An early breakfast or Suhoor marks the beginning of the fast, which ends with Iftar at dusk. Lavish dinners of Aftari are also held in masjids.
Mohammed said fasting has been recommended by the Qur’an to teach self-restraint and control over human desires. It is compulsory for those who are healthy to take part in Ramadan, but if a person is sick or on a journey, they may begin the observance at a time convenient to them. The month of Ramadan ends with the holiday Eid-ul-Fitr, the time when families gather for elaborate lunch and exchange gifts to celebrate a successful month of devotion.