Rolling out the Red Carpet

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Ramadan Kareem

O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint (2:183). Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam. It is obligatory to all Muslims from about age twelve.

The sighting of the thin sickle of the new moon of Ramadan heralds the beginning of a month of glory and spiritual elevation. It typifies that the Muslim denies himself between sunup and sundown the blessings of food and drink, and submits himself fully to Allah, observing the same abstention from beginning to end of month in his thoughts, speech, behavior, and deeds.

Ramadan is the ninth month of Islamic calendar. It is a month of blessing marked by prayer, fasting, and charity and focuses on self-sacrifice and devotion to Allah.

During this month Allah revealed the first verses of the Qur’an. At mosques during Ramadan, near about one thirtieth of the Qur’an is recited each night in prayers known as tarawih.

We fast for the entire month of Ramadan. This means no eating or drinking at all during the sunshine. After the sunset, the fast is broken with a meal (iftar).

The crowning mercy is not just restricted to fasting alone. Worship and good deeds during Ramadan are also wellheads of sanctified concession. We fast during the day not just denying food and water, but as interpreted by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), “Exercise strict control over your tongue, eyes, ears, thoughts and deeds and do everything possible to seek the pleasure of Allah.”

Supplications and repentance of sins are the hallmarks of Ramadan. A night, among the last ten, is known as the “Night of Glory” (Laylatul Qadr). This is among the odd dates but 27th is widely considered as the one. Muslims offer special prayers all the night through.

According to a hadith the recitation of just one Aya in Ramadan brings about reward much the same as the recitation of complete Qur’an in other months.

Ramadan is a specified period of purification and the Qur’an must carefully be studied for self-guidance. Allah is the light of the heavens and earth and the Qur’an—a light for the seekers of truth. It wards off the evil effect of unhealthy atmosphere, it sanctifies the cause of the fast and keeps the true believer in direct communion with Allah, and it does but speaks His own words.

O the divine Fountainhead of blessings, bless Mohammad (pbuh) and help us observe fasts, by restraining our limbs from disobeying You and employing them in that which would please You. O Allah! Enable us not to lend our ears to any vain and our eyes towards any amusement; and so that we may not stretch our hands towards anything forbidden. O Allah help us not to step towards anything prohibited; nothing may fill our bellies but what You have made lawful and our tongue may not utter anything save what You have permitted. O Allah we may cease to exert ourselves except in that which would bring us nearer Your reward, and stop doing everything save that which would protect us from Your torment.

O Allah, empower us to perform timely the five prayers with due regard to their limits which You have enjoined and ceremonies which You have prescribed, and times which You have fixed; and in this respect raise us to the rank of those who performed them with success, who duly observed their essential points, who always performed them at proper times, in most perfect and complete purity and most evident and touching humility, according to the rules laid down by Your Prophet (pbuh), Your favors on him, concerning their bows and prostrations and all the other excellent rites.

And, O the Forgiver, enable us, in this month, to show favor to our relations and do good to them, and to take care of our neighbours with kindness and benevolence, and to purge our property of obligations, and purify it by giving the legal alms; and be just to him who is unjust to us, and make peace with him who is hostile to us-far be it from us to reconcile him who is abhorred on account of You and for Your sake.

O the Benevolent, in every night of the nights of this month, there are men whom Your pardon liberates, or whom Your forbearance forgives, therefore, let us be among these men; and let us be to our month the best people. O Allah, obliterate our sins and remove from us our penalties; so that the month may pass from us while You have cleansed us, within it, of guilt's, and freed us of sins.

O the Compassionate, fill this month with our worship of You alone, and adorn its moments with our service to You; and help us in the day-time to observe fast, and at night to pray and beseech You and humble ourselves unto You, and abase ourselves in Your presence; so that neither its day may bear witness against us of negligence, nor its night of default.

O the Merciful, let us be like this in all the months and days, as long as You keeps us alive; and let us be of Your righteous servants, who will inherit paradise, wherein they shall live forever; and who do give what they give with a fearing heart, for verily, they shall return to You! And let us be of those who are prompt in charity and excel therein.

O Allah for us let this month be a period of peace, faith safety and total submission to Your will; make us walk apace swiftly to that which You like and approve. O Allah pour out much blessings on us in this month, make available for us its generous good and assistance, and keep us safe from the harm, evil, misfortune and mischief that may try to trap us in this month. Amen. (