Tuesday, August 09, 2011
Q: Why does Ramadan begin on a different day each year?
A: Because Ramadan is a lunar month, it begins about eleven days earlier each year. Throughout a Muslim’s lifetime, Ramadan will fall both during winter months, when the days are short, and summer months, when the days are long and the fast is more difficult. In this way, the difficulty of the fast is evenly distributed between Muslims living in the northern and southern hemispheres.
Monday, August 08, 2011
Q: Is Islam the only faith that observes fasting?
A: No, Islam is a continuation of the religion of Abraham, Moses and Jesus (peace be upon them). Hence, it is not surprising to find references to fasting in Judaism and Christianity. Other faiths also enjoin fasting, as they recognize its spiritual benefits. Fasting is thus universally known as a means of gaining self-discipline and of gaining closeness to God.
Fasting is an institution for the improvement of moral and spiritual character of human being. The purpose of the fast is to help develop self-restraint, self-purification, God-consciousness, compassion, the spirit of caring and sharing, the love of humanity and the love of God. Fasting is a universal custom and is advocated by all the religions of the world, with more restrictions in some than in others. The Islamic Fast, as opposed to mere starvation or self-denial, is an act of worship and obedience to God, thanksgiving, forgiveness, spiritual training, and self-examination.
Sunday, August 07, 2011
Q: Do children, sick and old people need to fast?
A: Fasting is only obligated on Muslims who have reached puberty, are sane and are healthy. So children who have not reached puberty are exempt, but are encouraged to fast some days, or a portion of a day, to train them for when they are obliged to fast. The temporarily sick who have a sickness that may extend a few days, where fasting may severely affect them or prolong their recovery are not obliged to fast but must make up the days after Ramadan. The chronically ill and elderly, for example those with diabetes, are not obliged to fast, but should feed a needy or poor person for each day they miss.
Saturday, August 06, 2011
Q: What do Muslims do during Ramadan?
A: Muslims usually wake before dawn to take a small meal called “suhoor”. They abstain from eating, drinking and sensual pleasures during the daylight hours of the blessed month. Muslims exert more effort in worship, praying, contemplating, helping others, giving charity, reciting the Quran (the holy book of the Muslims); many Muslims endeavour to complete the Qur’an’s recitation at least once during the month. At sunset, Muslims break their fast, usually with a big meal with family and friends. Many Muslims also attend the mosque at night, to engage in special night prayers called “taraweeh”.
Friday, August 05, 2011
Q: Do Muslims not eat and drink for a whole month?
A: No. Muslims are ordered to abstain from food, drink and sensual pleasures from the break of dawn until sunset throughout the whole month. This means, that after sunset until the break of dawn of the following day, Muslims may eat and drink as they please. Many Muslims take this opportunity to invite friends and family over to share in the spirit of Ramadan.
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