On Monday, May 6, 2019, Muslim Filipinos will join the more than one billion Muslims all over the world to observe the Holy Month of Ramadan. But to thousands of Marawi displaced Muslims, Ramadan has never been the same the way it used to be since their homeland was shattered and devastated by the Marawi Siege of 2017. For the third time in three years, they will spend again the Holy Month in tents and shanties.
The exact day when Ramadan is actually to start depends upon the appearance of the new moon as seen by man’s naked eyes. If the new moon is sighted on Saturday evening, the 29th day of Rajab, the 8th month of the Islamic Hijrah, Ramadan begins on Sunday; if it is not sighted, it will begin on Tuesday. But it is presumed that the crescent will not be seen in the Philippines on Saturday and therefore Ramadan will start on Monday.
It is a common practice among religious scholars to go to hilltops and seashores for the new moon sighting to help determine when to start fasting during Ramadan.
Usually, in Marawi City, considered Islamic cultural capital of the country, the local Mufti who is the chief of religious authorities in the locality, in cooperation with the provincial and city government units, the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) and private Islamic organizations, will announce in various media platforms including radio and television outlets whether the new moon is sighted or not.
As the Muslim’s Hijrah calendar is lunar which is based on the movement of the moon, each month begins on the appearance of the new moon and is either 29 or 30 days depending on the moon cycle, and the counting of days start from sunset to sunset which is different from the Gregorian calendar in which day begins from midnight to midnight.
Ramadan, the 9th month of the Hijrah Calendar, is an Islamic holy month in which fasting from dawn to dusk in the entire month is enjoined upon an able Muslim who reaches the age of puberty and free from physical or mental illness.
A sick person is exempted to fast but has to make it up when he gets well, or has to feed at least one Muslim in the entire fasting month if he cannot make it up due to lingering illness.
A traveler too is not required to fast, and likewise a woman who is in her monthly period. But they have to make up the fast when he is no longer travelling or when her monthly period is gone.
Fasting in Islam is abstaining from food and liquid intake, sexual lust, speaking bad and hurting words, doing immoral and illegal acts and other bad habits on certain appointed time that is from the appearance of the white thread before sunrise.
Those acts are in addition to what have already been forbidden for a Muslim to do in his lifetime such as gambling, stealing, hurting or killing other creatures, and their like.
A married couple is not allowed to engage in lustful act as husband and wife from dawn (or the appearance of the white thread in the east before sunrise) to sunset, but they may do so from sunset to dawn when food and drinks can also be taken in.
History and Obligations
Ramadan (also known as Ramzan, Ramadhan, or Ramathan), observed by Muslims worldwide, is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. The word itself comes from the Arabic root “ramida” which roughly translates as “Scorching Heat”. Fasting was made obligatory on all adult Muslims in the Second Year of Hijri (Migration from Makkah to Madinah of Muslims). The only people exempted from keeping a fast are the ones who are travelling, aged, pregnant, diabetic, chronically ill, menstruating or breast feeding. Many children endeavour to complete as many fasts as possible as practice for later life.
Ramadan Practices and Blessings
Ramadan is considered one of the most blessed months in Islam. Muslims fast during this month, doing maximum Dhikr (Remembrance) of Allah (SWT). The month of Ramadan culminates with the festive occasion of Eid ul Fitr as Muslims thank Allah (SWT), celebrating the festival with religious fervor. This month is full of celebration and festivity as the Muslims immerse themselves in reading the Quran and Duas (Supplication) and spending maximum time doing Dhikr. The Muslims fast the whole month as it teaches them the true meaning of perseverance and tolerance. During this month, Muslims are not only supposed to refrain from eating and drinking during the stipulated timing but they are also required to curb all negative emotions like anger and prove themselves to be the perfect Muslim. Moreover, the Quran was also completed in this month.
How to Fast?
A Fast (sawm) is kept by Muslims from dawn to sunset, timings of which varies in every region. During this time, they refrain from eating food, drinking, smoking and engaging in sexual relations. In Ramadhan, Muslims also strive hard to refrain from any sinful behaviour such as lying, cursing, false speech. The food eaten before sunrise is known as Suhoor, and the one eaten after sunset is known as Iftar. During these times, Muslims spend generously to make the food available for whole community (specially the poor one). The rewards of all Good Deeds are increased during the Month of Ramadan, whether it is praying salat or giving charity. This Hadith testifies this fact as well: “When Ramadan arrives, the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of hell are locked up and devils are put in chains.”(Sahih al-Bukhari 1899)
Each day, before dawn, Muslims observe a pre-fast meal called the suhur. After stopping a short time before dawn, Muslims begin the first prayer of the day, Fajr. Suhur (or sahari) is the pre-dawn meal which is very important during Ramadan since that is what one’s body thrives on all day and should be carefully planned for a steady diet plan that helps you stay healthy.
Dua for Suhur
At sunset, Muslims get together for the iftar Meal to break their Fasts. Just after listening to Maghrib Athan, they recite the Iftar Dua to ask Allah for His sustenance. Dates (generally in Date-growing countries) are usually the first food to break the fast. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) broke fast with three dates according to some traditions.
Social gatherings very frequently happen at Iftar. Traditional dishes are often highlighted, including traditional desserts, and particularly those made only during Ramadan. Dua for Iftar
Recite Quran Kareem
In this Holy Month, Muslims are encouraged to Recite Al Quran. Ramadan is a month to remember this biggest blessing and source of guidance mankind was ever given. Tarawih is one of the way Muslims complete the recitation of Holy Quran which are held in Mosques. It is Mustahab (An action which is rewarded, but whose omission is not punishable) for the Muslim to read whole Qur’an during Ramadhan and to strive to complete it, but that is not obligatory. Some Muslims do it by Completing 1 Juz’ each day for the 30 Days of Ramadan.
Here is the collection of some of the Verses in Quran about Ramadan.
Lailat ul Qadr
Lailat ul Qadr, also called the ‘Night of Power’ is one of the most coveted nights of the Islamic Year. It is one of the last ten odd nights in the month of Ramadan and is full of blessings. It please Allah (SWT) to see the Muslims fasting during the month to please Him. This month of Ibadah ends with the Muslim festival of Eid ul Fitr.
Learn How to determine the Date of Lailatul Qadr
Nightly prayers (Tarawih)
Tarawih are the extra prayers some Muslim Communities perform at night after Isha Prayers in the Islamic month of Ramadan. They are not mandatory Prayer but are still of utmost Importance.
Zakat is another Pillar of Islam, and giving Charity becomes even more important during Ramadan. It is a way to purify your wealth for the will of Allah (SWT) and is payable on assets owned over one lunar year. The collected Zakat is required to be given to the poor and deserving people. You can calculate this year’s Zakat using IslamicFinder’s Zakat Calculator. In Ramadan, all good deeds are rewarded more than in any other month of the year. This is the why many people choose give Zakat (Sadqa) to poor in this Month.
Here are the Ways to be charitable in Ramadan.
Itikaf means to be in isolation in a Masjid or at home with the intention of solely dedicating your time to the worship of Allah (SWT). It is Sunnat-al-Muaqidah (Sunnah that is urged to be performed) to sit in Itikaf in the last 10 days of Ramadan. A person may commence Itikaf after sunset of 20th of Ramadan, and end it when the moon for Eid is sighted. The Sunnah stays the same if the month of Ramadan is of 29 or 30 days.
(With article from https://www.islamicfinder.org)