Posted By

Tags

A Holy Month for abstinence and sacrifice

Venkat Raman

Ramadan (or ‘Ramzan’) the Holiest Month in the Islamic Calendar will begin on or around May 5 this year, requiring Muslims to abstain from eating, drinking and smoking from dawn to dusk.

They will also be required to pray at specified hours and break their fast with a special prayer after sunset. Piety, sacrifice and giving alms to the poor and needy are among the sacred duties of every Muslim during the Holy Month.

Means of Salvation

According to the Muslim faith, it was during Ramadan, the ninth month of the Muslim calendar that the Holy Quran, the sacred book, “was sent down from heaven, guidance unto men, a declaration of direction and a means of Salvation.”

This is also the time of the year when Muslims concentrate more on their faith and spend less time on the concerns of their everyday lives.

In the Arab world, where this writer lived and worked for more than two decades, governments, philanthropists, welfare organisations and community groups offer alms.

The Red Crescent Society (The International Red Cross is so called in these areas) offers rice, wheat, vegetables and fruits and other essentials to the needy.

“Fasting is one way of realising the true state of hunger and the Holy Month is devoted to understanding the sufferings of some sections of the society. Abstinence from pleasures of life (all entertainment and night club activities are suspended during the Month, even after dusk) including sex with spouses helps Muslims to concentrate on the teachings of Islam,” a religious leader said.

At the end of the day, the fast is broken with prayer and a meal called the Iftar.

In the evening following the Iftar, it is customary for Muslims to go out visiting family and friends. The fast is resumed the next morning. It is also customary for commercial and industrial undertakings in the Arab world to host special dinners after Iftar for staff and clients, at least once during the Holy Month.

Pregnant women, children, those in poor health and suffering from certain types of ailments including diabetes are exempt from fasting, in addition to Muslims travelling overseas. But many travellers do observe the fasting hours, irrespective of their schedules.

According to the Holy Quran: “One may eat and drink at any time during the night ‘until you can plainly distinguish a white thread from a black thread by the daylight: then keep the fast until night”

The Muslim Faith also states that the good accruing from fasting can be nullified by the following: telling a lie, slander, denouncing someone in his or her absence, a false oath and greed or covetousness. While these are considered offensive at all times, the offense is believed to be multifold during Ramadan.

Significant dates

Muslims also spend several hours praying and studying the Holy Quran. Many Mosques conduct special classes for both Muslims and non-Muslims keen on learning the teachings of the Holy Book. In addition to the five daily prayers, a special prayer is recited during Ramadan. Called, ‘Taraweeh,’ this night prayer is usually longer. Steadfast Muslims spend the entire night in prayer in Mosques.

Laylat Al Qadr or the Night of Power is observed on the evening of the 27th day of Ramadan. Muslims believe that it was on this night that Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) received the revelation of the Holy Quran. According to the Holy Book, this is also the time when God determines the course of the world for the following year.

Muslims in New Zealand

The Muslim community in New Zealand, comprising citizens, migrants and visitors will also observe Ramadan as its members congregate in Mosques for daily prayers and take   up social work after dusk.

Ramadan this year will remind us of the death of fifty innocent men, women and children in Christchurch Mosques on Friday, March 15, 2019 and the fifty other people injured in a mindless massacre.

We are a caring nation, and there is no evidence of any root of terrorism amongst us. We are a tolerant society, home to more than 200 ethnicities speaking 160 languages and there has never been any sign of intended harm; we may have occasionally felt a tinge of racism here and there, but never to a scale that would lead to massacre.

We live in a corner of the world, untouched by terrorists. But hatred, terrorism and a penchant for mass murder apparently exists elsewhere.

Indian Newslink greets its Muslim readers, advertisers and well-wishers on the occasion of the Holy Month of Ramadan and wishes them success in all their pursuits.

Share this story

Related Stories

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Indian Newslink

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement