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Posts Tagged ‘Iftar

Fasting and YogaIn nature cure, one of the very important tools for health and disease cure is fasting.
Many people are learning the trick of curing their colds, headaches, nervous spells and other acute troubles by missing a few meals or taking a short fast. It is the simplest and the most efficient way of relieving the overloaded and “food-poisoned” system. You would be surprised to know how little food is actually required to keep the individual healthy.
One of the commonest complaints of the sick is that they have “lost their appetite”. In fact, the greatest blessing to them would be to lose their appetite long enough to find their hunger. Loss of appetite is an indication that the system is overcharged with toxins and nature is trying to correct this by giving a chance to the waste accumulation in the organs to escape from the system.
Fasting as a remedy is fully in harmony with the “nature-cure” philosophy of the cause of disease. If the disease is created by an abnormal accumulation of toxins in the system, it stands to reason that fasting will help in their elimination from the system. The membranous linings of the stomach and intestine which act as a “sponge” to absorb food materials are now “squeezed” to throw out the waste matter from the system.

Exercises While Fasting

The idea prevails that during a prolonged fast one should have complete rest. This however, is a serious mistake. There is no reason why one should not take the usual amount of or accomplish the accustomed daily tasks, provided, these do not strain the physical and mental energy to the point of exhaustion.

Source: http://www.healthandyoga.com/html/fasting.html

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How Tos of Fasting

The Obligation

Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam. It is an act of obedience and submission to Allah’s commands through the highest degree of commitment, sincerity and faithfulness to seek Allah’s mercy, to atone for sins, errors, and mistakes and to avoid condemnation to Hell.

It is done out of deep love for God, with a genuine virtue of devotion, honest dedication and closeness to Allah, for Fasting is for Allah and Him alone.

The fasting during Ramadan is obligatory on every adult, sane, and able Muslim.

Denial of the obligatory nature of fasting in the month of Ramadan amounts to disbelief.

One who avoids fasting without genuine reasons is a sinner and transgressor according to Islamic Shariah (Law).

Time: When to fast

Fasting in Islam involves abstinence from three primal physical needs of human beings- food, drink, and sexual intercourse from dawn (approximately one and a half hours before sunrise) to sunset during the entire month of Ramadan.

Who is exempted from fasting

1. Children under the age of puberty and discretion;

2. The insane people who are unaccountable for their deeds. People of these two categories are exempted from the duty of fasting and no compensation or any other substitute is enjoined on them;

3. Men and women who are too old and feeble to undertake the obligation of fasting and bear its hardships. Such people are exempted from this duty, but they must offer at least one needy poor Muslim an average full meal or its value per person day.

4. Sick people whose health is likely to be severely affected by fasting. They may postpone the fast, as long as they are sick, to a later date and makeup for it, a day for a day;

5. People expecting hardship. Such people may break the fast temporarily during their travel only and make up for it in later days, a day for a day. But it is better for them, the Quran says, to keep the fast if they can without causing extraordinary hardships;

6. Expectant women and women nursing their children may also break the fast, if its observance is likely to endanger their own health or that of their infants. But they must make up for the fast at a delayed time, a day for a day;

7. Women in periods of menstruation (of a maximum of ten days). They must postpone the fast till recovery and then make up for it, a day for day.

The How To’s of Fasting

Niyyah or Intention of Fast

To observe the fast, the intention of fasting is essential (Wajib). The intention should be made daily, preferably before dawn of each day of fasting (in Ramadan).

Provision is made if someone has forgotten to express his intention before dawn. In such a case one is allowed to express intention of fasting before noon to avoid the invalidation of the fast.

The wording of Niyyah may be as follows:

“I intend to observe fast for today.”

Suhoor

Suhoor is a light, predawn meal, recommended before actually fasting. It is a blessing and hence recommended but not essential.

Any consumption of food or drink should cease at least five to ten minutes before the onset of dawn.

Iftar

Iftar is an Arabic term meaning breaking the fast immediately after the sunset. Iftar is a light snack consisting of dates or desserts, along with liquids, such as water, juice or milk.

This is eaten after making the following Dua (supplication) for breaking the fast:

“Oh Allah!  I fasted for your sake and I am breaking my fast from the sustenance You blessed me with, accept it from me.”

What breaks the fast

  1. Intentional consumption of food, drink, medicine, or smoking during the fasting.
  2. Any injection which has some nutritional value.
  3. Beginning of menstruation or post natal birth bleeding (even in the last moment of sunset).

The conditions mentioned above invalidate fasting and require “Qada” (making up only the missed day or days). However, intentional intercourse during the hours of fasting invalidates fasting and not only requires “Qada” but also additional penalty (Kaffara-see the explanation of this below).

What does not break the fast

  1. Eating or drinking by mistake, unmindful of the fast.
  2. Unintentional vomiting.
  3. Swallowing things which are not possible to avoid, such as one’s own saliva, street dust, smoke, etc.
  4. Brushing the teeth.
  5. Bathing: if water is swallowed unintentionally, it does not invalidate the fast. However, while fasting gargling should be avoided.
  6. Injection or I/V (Intravenous) which is solely medicinal and not nutritional.
  7. In some special circumstances if the food or drink is just tasted and immediately removed out of the mouth without allowing it to enter into the throat.

Kaffara

During the fasting period, if one deliberately breaks his or her fast, s/he must free one slave, or fast for sixty continuous days, or feed sixty needy persons, or spend in charity an amount equal to feeding sixty persons.

If one chooses to fast sixty days and the continuity is interrupted for any reason, except menstruation, one has to start the sixty day cycle all over again.

Breaking of the fast under exceptional conditions

Muslims are permitted to break their fast of Ramadan when there is a danger to their health.

In this situation a Muslim should make up his/her fast later. The missed fast(s) can be made up at any other time of the year, either continuously or intermittently, except on the day of Eid-ul-Fitr and the day of Eid-ul-Adha

Tarawih

These are special Sunnah prayers in the month of Ramadan. They follow the Isha prayers.  A minimum of eight and a maximum of twenty Rakat are offered in pairs of two.

Lailat al-Qadr

Amongst the nights of Ramadan, there is one special night of Power (Qadr) which is highlighted in Surah al-Qadr (Surah 97 in the Quran).

It has the significance of being better than a thousand months (Quran 97:3).

This was the night when Quran was revealed to mankind. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) recommended Muslims search for this night of Power (Qadr) in the odd nights of the last ten nights in Ramadan.

Muslims spend the night in Ibadah (worship), asking forgiveness of their sins and reciting the Quran.

Source: http://www.soundvision.com/info/ramadan/howfast.asp

Ramadan

Posted on: August 12, 2008

Ramadan (Arabic: رمضان, Ramaḍan) is a Muslim religious observance that takes place during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, believed to be the month in which the Qur’an began to be revealed.

Name origin

The name “Ramadan” is taken from the name of this month; the word itself derived from an Arabic word for intense heat, scorched ground, and shortness of rations. It is considered the most venerated and blessed month of the Islamic year. Prayers, sawm (fasting), charity, and self-accountability are especially stressed at this time; religious observances associated with Ramadan are kept throughout the month.

Laylat al-Qadr, which falls during the last third, commemorates the revelation of the first verses of the Qur’an and is considered the most holy night of the year. Ramadan ends with the holiday Eid ul-Fitr, on which feasts are held. During the month following Ramadan, called Shawwal, Muslims are encouraged to fast for a further six days.

Practices during Ramadan

Fasting

Main article: Sawm

The most prominent event of this month is the fasting (sawm) practiced by most observant Muslims. Every day during the month of Ramadan, Muslims around the world get up before dawn to eat the Suhoor meal (the pre dawn meal) and perform their fajr prayer. They break their fast when the fourth prayer of the day, Maghrib (sunset), is due.

During Ramadan, Muslims are expected to put more effort into following the teachings of Islam and to avoid obscene and irreligious sights and sounds. Sexual activities during fasting hours are also forbidden.[Qur’an 2:187] Purity of both thought and action is important. The fast is intended to be an exacting act of deep personal worship in which Muslims seek a raised level of closeness to God Almighty. The act of fasting is said to redirect the heart away from worldly activities, its purpose being to cleanse the inner soul and free it from harm. Properly observing the fast is supposed to induce a comfortable feeling of peace and calm. It also allows Muslims to practice self-discipline, sacrifice, and sympathy for those who are less fortunate, intended to make Muslims more generous and charitable. Muslims can eat after the sun has set. Pregnant women, the elderly, the ill and children less than 12 years of age are all exempt from fasting as lack of food could damage health.

Prayer and reading of the Qur’an

Sultan Ahmet Mosque, Istanbul in Ramadan (the writing with lights called mahya)

Sultan Ahmet Mosque, Istanbul in Ramadan (the writing with lights called mahya)

Ramadan Lanterns, Cairo


Ramadan Lanterns, Cairo

Eid Ul-Fitr meal, Malaysia

Eid Ul-Fitr meal, Malaysia

In addition to fasting, Muslims are encouraged to read the entire Qur’an.

Sunni Muslims tend to perform the recitation of the entire Qur’an by means of special prayers, called Tarawih, which are held in the mosques every night of the month, during which a whole section of the Qur’an (juz, which is 1/30 of the Qur’an) is recited, so that by the end of the month the entire Qur’an has been completed. Tarawih is an Arabic phrase referring to those extra prayers. This prayer is performed after salah of Isha’a, but before the witr rakat. Tarawih is an innovation introduced into Islam by the second Caliph Umar so is not practiced by Shia Muslims.

Muslims also pay Zakat (only applicable if one can afford it) during the month. For those who qualify to pay Zakaat, as per the Islamic Nisab (that is those whose wealth exceeds their necessities), of the leftover of their wealth earned in that Islamic calendar year. Although Zakat can be paid any time of the year, it has to be calculated on a year to year basis, and many Muslims use Ramadan as the month for calculation and disbursement.

Ramadan is also a time when Muslims are to slow down from worldly affairs and focus on self reformation, spiritual cleansing and enlightenment, establishing a link between God Almighty and themselves by prayer, supplication, charity, good deeds, kindness and helping others.

Since it is a festival of giving and sharing, Muslims prepare special foods and buy gifts for their family and friends and for giving to the poor and needy who cannot afford it, this can involve buying new clothes, shoes and other items of need. There is also a social aspect involved – the preparing of special foods and inviting people for the Iftar meal (the meal to break the Fast).

In many Muslim and non Muslim countries with large Muslim populations, markets close down in the evening to enable people to perform prayers and consume the Iftar meal (the meal to end the fast) – these markets then re-open and stay open for a good part of the night. Muslims can be seen shopping, eating, spending time with their friends and family during the evening hours.

Events of Ramadan

Laylat al-Qadr (Arabic: لیلة القدر) (known as Shab-e Qadr in Persian), literally the “Night of Decrees” or “Night of Measures”, is the anniversary of two very important dates in Islam that occurred in the month of Ramadan.[citation needed] Muslims believe that it was the night of the Laylat al-Qadr that the Quran’s first verse was revealed. The exact night of the Laylat al-Qadr is only known to God and Muhammed but he chose to keep it to himself so that Muslims won’t pray only that night. That is why Muhammad indicated that it was one of the last ten odd nights of Ramadan.

The Islamic holiday of Eid ul-Fitr (Arabic: عيد الفطر) marks the end of the fasting period of Ramadan and the first day of the following month, after another new moon has been sighted. The Eid falls after 29 or 30 days of fasting, as per the lunar sighting. Eid ul-Fitr means the Festival of Breaking the Fast, a special celebration is made. Food is donated to the poor (‘Zakat al-Fitr’), everyone puts on their best, preferably new, clothes, and communal prayers are held in the early morning, followed by feasting and visiting relatives and friends. The prayer is two rakaahs only, and it is an optional prayer as opposed to the compulsory 5 daily prayers. According to one current school of thought (Ankaboot), it is suggested that North American Muslims arrange their work-schedule for Eid by requesting the two most likely days of Eid as Holidays or simply as days off from work. This allows for quality family time, and is akin to the Christian/North American tradition of taking Christmas and Christmas Eve off as holidays. This also allows for time off to celebrate the Eid prayer at a mosque and with family. The fast always ends after 29 or 30 days of fasting, and thus the request would be for the 29th and 30th day after the start of the fast.

Muslims are encouraged to fast six days in Shawwal, the month following Ramadan that begins after Eid ul-Fitr; these days need not be consecutive. According to hadith, one who fasts the month of Ramadan and six days during Shawwal will be rewarded as though he fasted the entire year.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramadan


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