میهمانی رمضان مبارک باد
The 4th pillar of Islam is practiced during the month of Ramadan. Ramadan is derived from an Arabic word for intense heat and scorched ground and shortness of rations. (in Arabic: رمضان, Ramaḍān) – – and it is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar (Hijri calender), established in the year 638 CE. It is considered the most venerated, blessed and spiritually-beneficial month of the Islamic year. Prayers, fasting, charity, and self-accountability are especially stressed at this time; religious observances associated with Ramadan are kept throughout the month.
"Ramadan is the month during which the Qur'an was revealed, providing guidance for the people, clear teachings, and the statute book. "Those of you who witness this month shall fast therein. Those who are ill or traveling may substitute the same number of other days. Allah wishes for you convenience, not hardship, that you may fulfill your obligations, and to glorify Allah for guiding you, and to express your appreciation."[2:185]
Laylat al-Qadr (Night of Power/Measure/Decree) is considered the most holy night during Ramadan. Muslims believe that it was the night of the Laylat al-Qadr that the Quran's first verse was revealed. The exact night of the Laylat al-Qadr is unknown. Abu Bakr, who was a companion of Prophet Muhammad indicated that it was one of the last ten odd nights of Ramadan.
Practices during Ramadan
The most prominent event of this month is the fasting practiced by most observant Muslims. The fasting during Ramadan has been so predominant in defining the month that some have been led to believe the name of this month, Ramadan, is the name of Islamic fasting, when in reality the Arabic term for fasting is Sawm. Every day during the month of Ramadan, Muslims around the world break their fast when the fourth prayer of the day, Maghrib (sunset), is due. They eat before the sun comes up at a certain time and after a certain time during the night. Because nothing is permitted to pass the lips, smoking and fellatio are also banned.
Proscriptions and prescriptions during Ramadan
During Ramadan, Muslims are also expected to put more effort into following the teachings of Islam as well as refraining from anger, envy, greed, lust, sarcastic retorts, backbiting, and gossip. They are encouraged to read the Qur'an. Sexual intercourse during fasting in the day is not allowed but is permissible after the fast (when referring to sexual intercourse, it is intended to mean with one's spouse alone, as all pre- and extra-marital relations are strictly forbidden in Islam). Obscene and irreligious sights and sounds are to be avoided. Purity of both thought and action is important. The fast is intended to be an exacting act of deep personal worship in which Muslims seek a raised level of closeness to God. The act of fasting is said to redirect the heart away from worldly activities, its purpose being to cleanse the inner soul and free it from harm. Properly observing the fast is supposed to induce a comfortable feeling of peace and calm. It also allows Muslims to practice self-discipline, sacrifice, as well as sympathy for those who are less fortunate, intending to make Muslims more generous and charitable.
In addition to fasting, Muslims are encouraged to read the entire Qur'an.
Sunni Muslims tend to perform the recitation of the entire Qur'an by means of special prayers, called Tarawih, which are held in the mosques every night of the month, during which a whole section of the Qur'an (‘Juz', which is 1/30 of the Qur'an) is recited, so that by the end of the month the entire Qur'an has been completed. Tarawih is an Arabic phrase referring to those extra prayers. This prayer is performed after salah of Isha'a. Sunnis believe it is customary to attempt a khatm (complete recitation) of the Qur'an in Ramadan by reciting at least one juz per night in Tarawih. These are done in remembrance of the fact that the revelation of the Qur'an to Prophet Muhammad was begun during Ramadan.
Shia Muslims view this prayer as a Bid'ah and caution all to stay away from it. Instead of performing Tarawih, Shia Muslims perform the night prayer during Ramadan just like any other night. This night prayer performed every night is called Qiyam al-layl, better known as Tahajjud. It must be noted, that Shia and Sunni Muslims attempt to read the entire Qur'an by the end of the month.
Added to Flickr Explore (interestingness) page of 12 September 2007.