Guest Author - Linda Heywood
Ramadan is the month in which every healthy and able person should fast from dawn to sunset.
All Islamic months, including Ramadan, begin at night with the new Moon. This year the new Moon will rise in the UK at 6.40 pm on Saturday 30th July 2011 (1st Ramadan 1432). The first day of fasting is at dawn (2:45 am) on Sunday 31st July. Fasting continues for one full Luna month so the last day of fasting will be until sunset (7:57 pm) on Monday 29th August when the new Moon will have risen at 3:04 pm.
Chapter 2, verse 187
Permitted for you is sexual intercourse with your wives during the nights of fasting. They are the keepers of your secrets, and you are the keepers of their secrets. God knew that you used to betray your souls, and He has redeemed you, and has pardoned you. Henceforth, you may have intercourse with them, seeking what God has permitted for you. You may eat and drink until the white thread of light becomes distinguishable from the dark thread of night at dawn. Then, you shall fast until sunset. Sexual intercourse is prohibited if you decide to retreat to the masjid. These are God's laws; you shall not transgress them. God thus clarifies His revelations for the people, that they may attain salvation.
Fasting involves abstaining from eating or drinking or having sexual intercourse during the day light hours. Fasting is not intended to be a hardship for us, so those who are unable to fast due to illness or travelling can make up the days at a later date. In other circumstances we can feed someone less fortunate than ourselves to make up for the lack of fasting that day. But nothing is a substitution for fasting.
Chapter 2 verses 183 – 184
O you who believe, fasting is decreed for you, as it was decreed for those before you, that you may attain salvation. Specific days. If one is ill or traveling, an equal number of other days may be substituted. Those who can fast, but with great difficulty, may substitute feeding one poor person for each day of breaking the fast. If one volunteers righteous works, it is better. But fasting is the best for you, if you only knew.
It was during the month of Ramadan that God entrusted the Quran to the soul of the prophet Mohamed who would later reveal this Quran to mankind. Some of the people in the time of Mohamed were still following the religion of Abraham and were still performing the prayers, fasting, charity and hajj. So the words of the Quran came as a reminder to them and as guidance for everyone.
Chapter 2, verse 185
Ramadan is the month during which the Quran was revealed, providing guidance for the people, clear teachings, and the statute book. Those of you who witness this month shall fast therein. Those who are ill or traveling may substitute the same number of other days. God wishes for you convenience, not hardship, that you may fulfil your obligations, and to glorify God for guiding you, and to express your appreciation.
The Night of Destiny is the night of Ramadan when God revealed the Quran to Mohamed. It is considered to be the 27th night of Ramadan. To many Muslims this has become a special night, every Ramadan, but to me the verse is saying there was only one special night ~ The Night of Destiny.
The Night of Destiny has been and gone and will never come again. Because that is the night in which God sent mankind its most valuable gift from Him, the Quran, in which everything we ever need to know, while we are here on Earth, is revealed to us.
Chapter 97 verses 1-5
We revealed it in the Night of Destiny. How awesome is the Night of Destiny! The Night of Destiny is better than a thousand months. The angels and the Spirit descend therein, by their Lord's leave, to carry out every command. Peaceful it is until the advent of the dawn.
Nothing is left out of the Quran. The word Quran means something that is continually recited, and since the day it was revealed to Mohamed until this very day, it is recited and it is even more relevant and valuable to us today.
So the month of Ramadan is not just about starving myself all day and then stuffing my face all night. Fasting is a reminder that when the end of the day comes, and I can eat, there are other people on this planet with me who may not eat or drink that night.
Fasting is a blessing to the body because if practiced well it can help lower blood pressure and can help your body lose a bit of fat. Fasting is a blessing from God so that we can appreciate everything that He gives us. It is a time of reflection and gratitude and prayer.
My date of birth converts to Monday 24th Ramadan 1377 A.H. My first experience of fasting during Ramadan coincided with the year my first child was born. It was the time of year when the days in the UK are the longest. That was thirty one years’ ago, in another two years’, my fasting life will have come full circle. This year we will have to fast for at least eighteen hours, I just pray God is kind to us with the weather!