Ramadan Series: Some details to keep in mind

Posted on August 25, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

Assalam alaikum & peace to all.

Every year I hear the debates about what to do and not do during Ramadan.  First it all starts with the actual start of Ramadan, then it is about the start and finish times everyday of the fast, etc.  So I thought I would research some of these and present my findings, Inshallah we will all benefit from it.

Moonsighting Info and Advice

Muslims in America and Canada start their Islamic dates and events based on a criteria adopted by the Islamic Shura Council of North America.

The Islamic Shura Council of North America is a four-member body comprised of the representatives of the four largest Muslim organizations on the continent: the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) the Islamic Circle of North America, the Ministry of W.D. Mohammad, and the Jamaat Community of Imam Jamil al-Amin.

How the Shura Council makes its decision

The Shura Council’s Fiqh position on the issue of moonsighting is that that they will accept any moonsighting from within North America as long as it is not contradicted by undisputed astronomical calculations. In other words, no astronomers differ that the moon can be sighted by a person who has claimed to see it.

What usually happens is if someone claims to have seen the moon, they should call ISNA headquarters in Plainfield, Indiana and a couple of Muslim astronomers talk back to them to authenticate whether they have seen the moon or have mistaken something else for the moon.

Why there are differences about the beginning and end of Islamic dates

Yet, it is not uncommon to find different Muslim countries beginning and ending of Islamic months on varying days. Shaukat explains that this is because of the method they use to determine the month’s beginning and end. There are five main ways Muslims worldwide determine the Islamic dates:

1. Some countries go by actual physical sighting of the moon. India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, UK, the United States, Canada and the West Indies uses this method.

2. Some countries calculate different things about the position of the moon. Saudi Arabia, for example, calculates when is the new moon is born and then follow these calculations when deciding when an Islamic month begins and ends.

3. Countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei determine Islamic events and dates by the calculation of the position of the moon at sunset in their country. If the moon is two degrees above the horizon and three degrees away from the sun then they consider that the new month has begun.

4. In Egypt, if the moon sets five minutes after sunset in their country, then they consider that the moon has been sighted. They do not require physical sighting.

5. Some countries follow the decisions of other Muslim countries. Syria, Turkey and Iraq often follow Egypt’s decision or Saudi Arabia’s. The Gulf countries and some European countries also follow Saudi Arabia’s decision.

“The problem is multiplied when people from these countries in North America want to follow their home country and they try to insist authorities like the Shura council to follow the very first country which has announced the beginning of the month.

Keep your eyes peeled, your telescopes focused and your binoculars ready.

For more information on moonsighting for Ramadan, you can also consult the website http://www.moonsighting.com

Visit Toronto Muslims.com for more on this article

Respected scholars, As-salamu `alaykum. I am from Turkey and currently living in Detroit, USA. I am very confused about imsak (the time to stop eating sahur) and fajr. In Turkey, Muslims finish sahur 15 minutes before fajr. Prayer times I downloaded from the Internet do not have imsak. Muslims here finish sahur at fajr. Which one is right? Jazakum Allahu khayran.


Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Dear brother in Islam, thanks a lot for your question, which reflects your care to have a clear view of the teachings of Islam. Allah commands Muslims to refer to people of knowledge to become well acquainted with the teachings of Islam in all aspects of life.

First of all, bear in mind that Allah has permitted the fasting person to eat and drink until dawn comes. He, Most High, says: (and eat and drink until the white thread becometh distinct to you from the black thread of the dawn) (Al-Baqarah 2:187).

The exact cut-off time for imsak (abstaining from food, drink, etc.) is the time of fajr (dawn); so if you ate until that time you did not incur any sin. Most of the time people confuse between the preferred time and the permissible one; the preferred time for imsak, according to scholars, is to finish sahur ten minutes before fajr.

In his response to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states the following:

You need not be overly confused about this issue, for it is merely a difference of opinion based on the distinction between what is preferred and what is merely permissible. There is no doubt that the cut-off point for consuming sahur is the arrival of dawn (i.e., fajr time). However, the preferred time for abstention is 10 or 15 minutes earlier than that.

The basis for establishing the preferred time of abstention (imsak ) is an authentic tradition from the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). One of his Companions narrated the story of taking sahur with the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). Upon hearing it, someone asked him, “What was the time gap between your sahur and fajr salah?” He replied, “The time required to read fifty verses of the Qur’an.” It is estimated that this time can be 10 or 15 minutes and not more.

This, therefore, is the basis for the imsak time you are used to in Turkey. However, it must be pointed out that the above mentioned hadith does not state that it is not permissible to consume sahur later than that, for it only states that it was the sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). As for the permissibility of consuming sahur until the arrival of dawn, it has been established by the clear text of the Qur’an: (Eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct from the black thread of night) (Al-Baqarah 2:187).

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Ramadan Series: Some ideas to prepare for Ramadan

Posted on August 22, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: |

Assalam alaikum & Peace to all.

I wanted to share this list – it says all the things you can do to prepare yourself for the fast.  Basically before we fast we can get into the mindset.  As well there are some things which would be good to avoid at this time.  Inshallah all will benefit from this month and I hope  that we will all be able to fast and get the rewards of it!

Ramadan is the month of excitement for Muslims. Ramadan is the month of revelation of Quran, the month of reading and reciting the whole Quran, the month of Tahajjud and Qiyam al-layl prayers, Sadaqah, Zakah al-Fitr and Zakah al-Mal. Ramadan is also a month of social activities among Muslims.

No one can go anywhere without preparation, and no one invites a guest without preparing to welcome him / her. Similarly, to welcome Ramadan, the month of fasting, one has to prepare. The following are some tips to help the reader prepare accordingly:

  1. Start reading Quran daily after Salat al-Fajr.
  2. Spend some time listening to recitations from the Quran.
  3. Train yourself to go bed early so that you can wake up far Salat al-Fajr.
  4. Keep yourself in a state of Wudu (Ablution) most of the time.
  5. Evaluate yourself daily before going bed.
  6. Thank Allah for good deeds, and repent to Him for your mistakes and sins.
  7. Start giving Sadaqah daily, no matter how little. Make it a habit like eating and drinking.
  8. Find time to pray extras, such as Tahajjud prayers.
  9. Spend more time reading Islamic books, especially the Quran, Sirah, Hadith, and Fiqh.
  10. Find time to help others with your wisdom, knowledge and other talents.
  11. Try to write articles on Islam for Muslims as well as for non-Muslims.
  12. Associate with Muslim scholars / ulama and other pious people so that you may learn from them.
  13. Train yourself to do good, render free service to others to seek the pleasure of Allah.

What to avoid during Ramadan

  1. Reduce watching TV, instead spend more time reading the Quran and other Islamic literature.
  2. Avoid looking at unlawful pictures, whether magazines, department store catalogs or otherwise.
  3. Avoid going to theaters; instead go to Masajid, Islamic organizations and make that a daily habit.
  4. Avoid eating too much. Eat only when you are hungry and try not to fill your stomach completely.
  5. If you drink Coffee, Tea or Soda, be sure to reduce consumption.
  6. If you smoke, try to reduce daily usage; otherwise Ramadan will be very difficult for you to observe.
  7. If you like to listen to music, whether the style of western societies or even those from Muslim countries, reduce, even eliminate the time you spent on them; replace them with reciting and listening to recitation from the Quran.
  8. If you enjoy playing cards and board games try your best to avoid them as much as possible and fill your time with something useful.
  9. If you enjoy going with friends to picnics and other social gatherings, try to reduce it before Ramadan; otherwise fasting the month of Ramadan will be more difficult.
  10. If you have friends who do not practice the teaching of Islam, try to avoid socializing with them.
  11. If you travel a lot on business, try to do more local business, so you can be more closer to your family and community.
  12. If you are used to staying up till midnight, try to go to bed earlier, so that you will be able to wake up early for Salat al-Fajr and Tahajjud prayers as well.

To prepare ourselves before the month of Ramadan arrives is far better than waiting till it comes. To prepare ourselves for anything in life is a sign of wisdom and maturity. No one is assured of living one day more; tomorrow may not come. So hurry and benefit from blessings and rewards from Allah.

Remember: “Time is not money or gold; it is life itself and is limited. You must begin to appreciate every moment of your life and always strive to make the best use of it.” – Khurram Murad

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Ramadan Series – Ajiza (30 sections of the Quran)

Posted on August 21, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

Assalam alaikum & peace to all.

I wanted to publish the 30 sections “Ajiza”(sections) of the Quran – During Ramadan it is highly encouraged to read the Quran – these 30 Juz (singular of Ajiza) make it easy to read one section each day of Ramadan therefore by the end of it you will have Inshallah finished all of the Quran in the 30 days!

  • Juz’ 1- Al Fatiha 1 – Al Baqarah 141
  • Juz’ 2- Al Baqarah 142 – Al Baqarah 252
  • Juz’ 3 -Al Baqarah 253 – Al Imran 92
  • Juz’ 4 -Al Imran 93 – An Nisaa 23
  • Juz’ 5 – An Nisaa 24 – An Nisaa 147
  • Juz’ 6 – An Nisaa 148 – Al Ma’idah 81
  • Juz’ 7 – Al Ma’idah 82 – Al An’am 110
  • Juz’ 8 – Al An’am 111 – Al A’raf 87
  • Juz’ 9 – Al A’raf 88 – Al Anfal 40
  • Juz’ 10 – Al Anfal 41 – At Tauba 92
  • Juz’ 11 – At Tauba 93 – Hud 5
  • Juz’ 12 – Hud 6 – Yusuf 52
  • Juz’ 13 – Yusuf 53 – Ibrahim 52
  • Juz’ 14 – Al Hijr 1 – An Nahl 128
  • Juz’ 15 – Al Isra (or Bani Isra’il) 1 – Al Kahf 74
  • Juz’ 16 – Al Kahf 75 – Ta Ha 135
  • Juz’ 17 – Al Anbiyaa 1 – Al Hajj 78
  • Juz’ 18 – Al Muminum 1 – Al Furqan 20
  • Juz’ 19 – Al Furqan 21 – An Naml 55
  • Juz’ 20 – An Naml 56 – Al Ankabut 45
  • Juz’ 21 – Al Ankabut 46 – Al Azhab 30
  • Juz’ 22 – Al Azhab 31 – Ya Sin 27
  • Juz’ 23 – Ya Sin 28 – Az Zumar 31
  • Juz’ 24 – Az Zumar 32 – Fussilat 46
  • Juz’ 25 – Fussilat 47 – Al Jathiya 37
  • Juz’ 26 – Al Ahqaf 1 – Az Zariyat 30
  • Juz’ 27 – Az Zariyat 31 – Al Hadid 29
  • Juz’ 28 – Al Mujadila 1 – At Tahrim 12
  • Juz’ 29 – Al Mulk 1 – Al Mursalat 50
  • Juz’ 30 – An Nabaa 1 – An Nas 6
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Ramadan preparation tips

Posted on August 14, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: |

Some Ramadan preparation tips I’ve found on line – Please share yours and I will add it to the list!!

01. Buy all necessities for the month of Ramadan before Ramadan so you can spend less time during the holy month rushing around. You can be more focused on your religious rituals and spiritual development. Everyone in the family, even the kids, can participate, writing a shopping list, preparing some meals to be stored in the freezer.

02. If you have gotten into bad sleeping habits throughout the year, start readjusting now so you can wake up for Fajr prayer.

03. Sunnah fasts of Shaaban (the month before Ramadan) help to prepare for Ramadan and help to make the transition into the holy month a smooth one.

04. Reduce TV watching and prepare the family for the new spirit of Ramadan. Engage with your kids more and more in creative activities that remind them of Ramadan. (Suggested activities including reading the moral story books in group).

05. Organize your tape/CD collection to make it easy to select and to play nice nasheed (Hamd/Naat) to sing along together or Quran and Dua recitation, so as to introduce the spirit of the month gradually.

06. Plan ahead for the time you are spend at home in order not to lose the balance between your responsibility as a parent to supervise the children’s studies and your engagement in religious practices such as reading Quran and praying Salat.

07. Plan ahead if your daughter needs a hijab to accompany you to the mosque. If possible, get shoes for the kids that are easy to tie when they leave the mosque. Do you or the kids need prayer rugs for prayer? Plan transportation to the mosque and back home.

08. Prepare as much cooking as you can before Ramadan. Here are some time-saving tips:

  1. Prepare some vegetables and store them in the freezer to have them ready when needed.
  2. If you soak dates in milk or water and eat them for Iftar, pit the dates before Ramadan.
  3. Chop onions, garlic and store them in the freezer to have them ready when cooking during Ramadan.

09. If you are planning to invite guests for Iftar, the best time to do that is during your monthly period (menstruation). This has several advantages:

  1. You will be able to taste the food that is going to be served.
  2. You won’t be engaged in some acts of worship so you’ll have more time for cooking.
  3. You won’t have guilt feelings for staying after ‘Isha’ with the guests and not going to the mosque.

10. Prepare your kids before Ramadan that they have to help you more in housework and in setting the table and preparing the Iftar. Relate their action with the notion of Sadaqah and good deeds. Remind them that the reward of their good deeds is multiplied during Ramadan.

http://www.ezsoftech.com/ramadan/ramadan_tips.asp

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