Ramadan Mubarak 1436AH and Ramadan Greetings 2015

Dr. Mozammel Haque

Ramadan Mubarak and Ramadan Greetings to all of you, especially to all the readers of MUSLIM VOICE and the The Muslim Weekly: May this holy month bring barakah, and Allah's boundless mercy upon the believers and harmony and tolerance for the world. Muslims almost everywhere welcome the coming of the month of Ramadan on the same day, on Thursday, the 18th of June, 2015 this year. Saudi Arabia, the heartland of Islam, the country of the Two Holy Mosques, the birthplace of Prophet Peace be upon him, is performing Ramadan on Thursday. The Supreme Court of Saudi Arabia announced on Tuesday that Thursday (18 June 2015) will be the first day of the fasting month of Ramadan, the Royal Court said in a statement. “As no credible reports about sighting of the crescent of Ramadan was received on Tuesday evening, Wednesday will be the 30th day of Shaban and Thursday will be the first day of Ramadan according to the Umm Al Qura calendar,” the Supreme Court said after its meeting in Taif, the Saudi Press Agency reported. Earlier, Saudi Arabia in the mean time had asked its citizens to be on the look-out for the crescent moon starting Tuesday (16 June). So the holy month of Ramadan begins Thursday, 18th of June, 2015. Most of the other Gulf states, including the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait also announced that Ramadan fasting will start on Thursday Europe, US, Australia, Africa and Asia will start the first day of fasting and the first day of Ramadan 2015 from 18 June. So the first day of Ramadan will be Thursday (June 18) according to the Saudi Supreme Court. The announcement was made after there were no reports of the new moon on Tuesday evening. Other countries that will begin the fast on Thursday include Qatar, Jordan and Palestine. Taraweeh prayers will begin Wednesday night. British Muslims welcome Ramadan: the month of discipline, compassion and solidarity on Thursday, 18th of June 2015. British Muslims join over a billion Muslims all over the world in a month of fasting, charity and solidarity. The governments of many countries issued Ramadan Message to Muslims in their countries and around the world.. Ramadan Mubarak to you All I welcome Ramadan, the month of Mercy and Repentance, the month of the Qur’an, of Laylatul Qadr (the Night of Power) and of repentance and forgiveness. Fasting in the month of Ramadan is one of the Pillars of the Islamic faith. It was declared an obligatory duty (Fard) in the second year of the Hijrah upon each and every mukallaf (one capable of carrying out religious duties, i.e. a sane adult). Allah the Almighty made Ramadan fasting compulsory for Muslims. Allah said, “O those who believe, the fasts have been enjoined upon you as were enjoined upon those before so that you be God-fearing.’ [Surah Baqarah, 183]. Literally, Sawm means ‘to abstain’. In the terminology of Islamic law, Sawm means ‘to abstain from eating, drinking and sexual intercourse: with the conditions that one abstains continuously from dawn to sunset, and that there is an intention to fast.’ Therefore, should one eat or drink anything even a minute before sunset, the fast will not be valid. Similarly, if one abstained from all these things throughout the day but made no intention to fast, there will be no fast here too. Allah the Almighty said in the Qur’an “…And eat and drink, until the white thread of dawn appears to you distinct from its black thread…” (Al-Qur’an, 2:187) Literally defined, fasting means to abstain “completely” from foods, drinks, intimate intercourse and smoking, before the break of the dawn till sunset, during the entire month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic year. Fasting in Islam is based on the lunar calendar and is tied to the sightings of hilal, the crescent, or new moon. Allah the Almighty stated: “They ask you concerning the new moons. Say: They are but signs to mark fixed periods of time… (Al-Qur’an, 2:189). And the Traditions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Eat until you see the crescent and break not until you see the crescent. If it is cloudy calculate the period of the month.” (Muslim and others). Fasting in Ramadan is compulsory upon every Muslim, male or female, who has these qualifications, e.g. mentally and physically fit, adult full of age which is normally fourteen and fairly certain that fasting is unlikely to cause any harm, physical or mental, other than the normal reactions to hunger, thirst etc. The said qualifications exclude the following categories: children under the age of puberty and discretion; men and women who are too old and feeble to undertake the obligation of fast and bear its hardships; sick people whose health is likely to be severely affected by the observance of fast; travellers may break the fast temporarily during their travel; pregnant women and women breast-feeding their children may also break their fast and women in the period of menstruation (of a maximum of ten days or of confinement (of a maximum of forty days. They must postpone the fast till recovery and then make up for it. The holy month of Ramadan is the month of mercy, forgiveness, and seeking release from the Hell-fire. It is the month of repentance and acceptance of prayers. It is the month when the devils are chained, the gates of Hell are looked and the gates of Paradise are opened. That’s why; Muslims welcome Ramadan each year with energy and happiness, and are saddened only when the month departs. Fasting is for the living, not for mourning. Ramadan is a month of worship. Muslims should welcome the month with repentance and seeking Allah’s pardon. We should keep away from committing sins; worship Allah sincerely and spending the night and day in prayer, supplication and recitation of the Holy Qur’an. Fasting is a shield which helps prevent many sins and with which Muslim protects himself from Hell-fire. Fasting is more than abstaining from food and drink. It also means to abstain from any falsehood in speech and action, from any ignorant and indecent speech, and from arguing and quarrelling. Therefore, fasting helps to develop good behaviour. Fasting inculcates a sense of brotherhood and solidarity, as a Muslim feels and experiences what his needy and hungry brothers feel. This gives Muslim a new sense of togetherness and association. Allah the Almighty said in the Qur’an: The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for mankind, and clear proofs of the guidance, and the criterion (between right and wrong). (Surah Al-Baqarah 2: 185) As Ramadan is the month of the Qur’an, every Muslim should prepare himself to welcome the blessed month of Ramadan by strengthening his relationship with the Qur’an. A Muslim is encouraged to complete one recitation of the Holy Qur’an during Ramadan. We should engage more and more in the recitation of the Qur’an, in dhikr (remembrance of Allah), perform extra Salah (ritual prayers) at night and renew identity with one another in our obedience to Allah. RAMADAN MESSAGES FROM GOVERNMENTS From European Continent British Prime Minister David Cameron’s Message for Ramadan British Prime Minister David Cameron, MP, sent his “very best wishes to everyone observing the holy month of Ramadan.” He said, “It’s a hugely important time as Muslims in Britain and across the world mark the foundation of their faith. And as friends and families come together in contemplation and in fasting, we are reminded of those Muslim values – those British values – of community, family and charity.” British Prime Minister also said, “you can see them today with British Muslims giving more to charity than any other faith group in Britain, fulfilling their sacred duty of Zakat by making a real difference to lives blighted by conflict and disaster, and with British Muslims at the top of every field – from our biggest businesses, to our precious health service to our Houses of Parliament, and yes – to the Cabinet I lead. I’ve talked a lot about one nation – about Britain being a country where everyone can get on – whatever their background and wherever they’re from. British Muslims embody that spirit.” “Again this year government is supporting the Big Iftar programme with hundreds more communities, from Leeds to Luton, Woking to Manchester, throwing open their doors so that people of all faiths and none can break bread and get to know their neighbours,” Prime Minister Cameron said. Prime Minister concluded, “So wherever you are this holy month, I wish you Ramadan Mubarak.” British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond Ramadan Message Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond sends his warmest wishes to Muslims in the UK and across the world at the start of the holy month of Ramadan. Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said: “To Muslims in the UK and around the world I wish ‘Ramadan Mubarak’. “The UK is proud of our strong links in the Muslim world, through our partnerships overseas and through the vibrant and diverse Muslim communities in the UK. Our missions and staff across our diplomatic network will be joining together with the communities in which they live and work to celebrate and reflect on our shared values,” British Foreign Secretary said. Foreign Secretary Hammond also said, “Ramadan is also a time for peaceful reflection and acts of compassion and charity. Many across the Muslim world will spend this Ramadan separated from their families and communities by conflict and poverty. The UK will continue to support those in need across the world through our generous humanitarian and development aid. And we will continue to work for a world that is peaceful, secure and prosperous for all.” From American Continent U.S. President Obama’s Ramadan Message to Muslims U.S. President Barack Obama has issued a message to American Muslims and Muslims around the world congratulating them on the start of the holy fasting month of Ramadan as a time to remember the poor and the needy and to share responsibilities. "On behalf of the American people – including Muslim communities in all fifty states - I want to extend best wishes to Muslims in America and around the world. Ramadan Kareem," Obama said in a message.(Full Message will be published in the next issue) Dr. Abdullah Omar Nasseef Dr. Abdullah Omar Nasseef, President of the Karachi-based World Muslim Congress (WMC) and Secretary General of the Cairo-based International Islamic Council for Dawah and Relief (IICDR) was passing through the United Kingdom. I talked to him on Tuesday, 16th of June, 2014 before he was flying back to Saudi Arabia. I was very much privileged to speak to him and find an opportune moment to request him his message to the Muslim community as well as to the Muslim Ummah about the importance and significance of the month of Ramadan, the month of fasting ordained by Allah the Almighty. Dr. Nasseef, the former Secretary General of the Makkah-based Muslim World League, said, “We take the opportunity of this month of Ramadan like every year. This is the month which Allah the Almighty prescribed for us: fast; Taqwa is the safeguard of the society from going us astray from this way or other. That’s why it is important for us to remind our brothers and sisters around the world and globe that this occasion is not like other social gathering, social occasion. Socially you can achieve many things but spirituality it should change ourselves and our society and we should urge people to go back to Allah the Almighty and the Prophet (peace be upon him) in order to introduce the change.” “Now we are witnessing this year a fitn all around the world; problems are happening everywhere; and no society is safe from this misery and problem. They have to realise that unless we go back to original Islam nothing will change. All kind of terrorists and radical people are telling to the societies that this is the way Islam should be the dominant but they are doing the wrong thing; they are causing Islam the problem and to Muslims all the confusion,” said Dr. Nasseef. Dr. Nasseef, the former President of the Jeddah-based King Abdulaziz University, mentioned, “I always say in my message that we lack proper knowledge; and fail to deliver proper education and proper understanding of Islam to our young people. People think many things when they fast in the holy month of Ramadan; when they pray salah, Taraweeh and all the Ibadah; it is enough.” But Dr. Nasseef said, “it is not enough. We have to ponder on what is our problem and seek the solution from the Qur’an and Hadiths and this can be done by the people who are already aware and have the knowledge. They should also be verified that their opinions can make people going astray; trains their minds and their thinking and preaching.” “So I appeal to Allah Subhanahu wa Taala to guide our Muslim brothers and sisters to choose the right path and to get education to introduce the changes which will affect the society deeply and change our Ummah and that will help us to overcome our crisis and miseries which we are witnessing today,” said Dr. Nasseef. Dr. Nasseef hopes, “Insha Allah this Ramadan will be blessing month for the Muslims to be closer and closer to the teachings of Prophet (peace be upon him).” drmhaque@hotmail.co.uk