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Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Laa ilaaha illallahu Wallahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Wa lillahil Hamd

 

'He who fasts during Ramadan with faith and seeks his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven; he who prays during the night in Ramadan with faith and seeks his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven; and he who passes Lailat al- Qadr in prayer with faith and seeks his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven.'
(Bukhari and Muslim)

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Allaho-Akber, Allaho-Akber. La ila-ha ill-lal-lah. Allaho-Akber, Allaho-Akber. Wa-lilahill hamd.

(Allah is great, Allah is great. There is no god but Allah. Allah is great, Allah is great. And all praises are for Allah).

Ibn Abbass (ra) reported: " I participated in the Eid-ul-Fitr prayer with the Messenger of Allah (saw), Abu Bakr (ra), Umar (ra) and Uthman (ra), and all of them held Eid prayer before Khutbah, and then the Prophet Muhammad (saw) delivered the Khutbah (sermon)."
( Muslim )

 
Ramadan Facts :The Muslim Calendar

Blessings Of Allah!The lunar calendar determines festive dates in the Islamic calendar. Months alternate between 29 and 30 days. This results in a year 354 days long (29.5 x 12 = 354), roughly 11 days short of the solar year. Thus, Muslim festival dates, compared to the Gregorian calendar, vary from year to year. 

The migration (Hijra, HIJ-rah) of the prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Medina (A.D. 622) begins the Islamic calendar. The Islamic year A.H. 1417, for example, begins on 18 May 1996 on the Gregorian calendar..

  Ramadan (RAH-mah-dahn).  In the ninth month, Muslims fast.  Although the moon determines the dating of festivals, and prayer times follow the rising and setting sun, during Ramadan, Muslims observe the fast from the first appearance of light to sunset.  Depending on the hourly length of days (whether Ramadan falls in summer, winter, spring or fall), fasting may require either very long or short days, depending on the season. During the night hours, Muslims take a special nutritional meal and otherwise engage in shopping and visiting. Nonetheless, the requirements of the fast can be harsh, especially abstention from drinking water when Ramadan falls during the hot months of the year. Westerners must be careful not to eat, drink, or smoke in the presence of Muslims during the prescribed hours of fasting. The law requires adherence to the fast in public.

Muharram (muh-HAR-rahm) and Dhul-Hijja (thul-HIJ-yuh). Two other months are special; Muharram, which begins the year, and Dhul-Hijja, the last month which is the time of pilgrimage.

Muslim Festivals and Observances

May Allah Bless You!Within Islam, Friday is the day of communal weekly gathering. Based upon the Lunar calendar, Muslims observe the following annual festivals and holidays. 

The first of Muharram (muh-HAR-rahm), New Year’s Day--first month of the Islamic year) celebrates the Hijra of Muhammad and his followers from Mecca to Medina in 622 C.E. (A.D.). 

Ashura (ah-shoo-RA) commemorates the martyrdom of Husayn (hoo-SAYN) on the 10th of Muharram, A.H. 61 (C.E. [A.D.] 680).  Among Shi’a Muslims, this festival is traditionally celebrated for 10 days, beginning from the first of Muharram.  Ashura can also commemorate the safe landing of Noah’s Ark. 

Mawlid al-Nabiy (MOW lid oon-NA-bee) is the anniversary of the birth of the Prophet Muhammad. For many Muslims, this day ranks third in importance, after ‘Id al-Fitr and Id al-Adha.

Mi’Raj al-Nabiy (mehr-raj al-NEB-bee) commemorates the ascension (al-Mi’Raj) of the Prophet to heaven following his night journey (al-Isra’) from Mecca to Jerusalem. Interpreted either symbolically or literally, the Qur’an records the event in Sura 17:1.  While on this night journey, God commanded the Prophet to begin the practice of prayer five times each day. 

Nisf-Sha’ban (nush-if sha-ah-BAHN) comes on the 14th day of the eighth month (Sha’ban)...in the middle (Nisf) of the month. It is a night of repentance in preparation for Ramadan. 

Thank You For Your Wishes!Ramadan (RAH-mah-dahn) is a holy month of fasting wherein Muslims, who are physically able to refrain, do not eat, drink, smoke or engage in sexual activity, from the first sign of dawn until sunset.  This month is a time for spiritual reflection and discipline.  Pious adherents remember past sins.  They express gratitude to God for his guidance.  Many read through the entire Qur'an during this month. The traditional Arabic greeting for Ramadan is "Ramadan Mubarak" (RAH-mah-dahn moo-BAR-ahk, "may God give you a blessed month").  Response is "Ramadan Karim (RAH-mah-dahn KAH-reem, "May God give you a generous month"). 

Jum’at al-Wada’ (juhm-at al-wha-DAH) is know as 'Farewell Friday'.  It is the last Friday of the month of Ramadan. Though not a strict festival, many Muslims consider it a special day.

Laylat al-Qadr (LAHAY-let al-KAHD-ehr) is known as the Night of Power. It commemorates the first revelation of the Qur’an. This event came to the Prophet Muhammad in 610 C.E. (A.D.), when he was forty years old. The observance includes the last ten days of Ramadan as no one knows the exact night the Prophet first received God's revelation. Sometimes during this event, pious Muslims seclude themselves in a mosque, leaving only when necessary. 

’Id al-Fitr (i-EED al FAHT-ehr), Festival of the Breaking of the Fast of Ramadan.  Along with ‘Id al-Fitr, Id al-Adha comprise the two main Islamic festivals. ‘Id al-Fitr celebrates the end of Ramadan. It comes on the first day of the month Shawwal which follows Ramadan.  Usually the holiday lasts for three days with family members gathering to exchange presents and celebrate together.  When possible, the faithful attend mosques.  It is also an occasion to pay special alms for the poor ("zakat al-fitr," ZAH-kat al FAHT-ehr).  

Day of Hajj (al-HAHJ), the 'Day of Arafat' comes on the ninth day of Dhul’Hihha. It commemorates the concluding revelation to the Prophet at Mt. Arafat, a mountain 18 kilometers east of Mecca. All Muslims on Hajj attend a service on the plains in front of Mt. Arafat (Waqfatu Arafat). 

Id al-Adha (i-EED ahl-OOHD-hah), the Festival of Sacrifice concludes the act of pilgrimage.  It usually occures two to three months after Ramadan.  Muslims offer sheep, goats, and camels in a pattern after Abraham’s offering of his son Ismail to God. The poor and needy receive the meat. Muslims observe these two festivals (Day of Hajj and Id al-Adha) whether on pilgrimage or not. 

Islam considers Ismail the rightful heir, the son to be sacrificed.  (in the Judeo-Christian tradition, Abraham's second son Isaac, is the true heir, the son to be sacrificed]). 

Traditional Arabic greeting for this day is "Id Mabarak" (id moo-BAH-ahk, "may God make it a blessed feast"). 

Life Cycle Events

Wishing You A Joyous Iftar!Birth Ceremony.  Called "akikah" (ah-KEE-kah) in Arabic, this brief, informal event welcomes a newborn infant into the home.  The traditional Arabic greeting "Mabrook" (MAH-brook), meaning congratulations, is appropriate. 

Initiation Rite.  Taking "Shahada" (SHAH-hah-dah) or "witnessing" occurs anytime from the mid-teens upward.  It is a declaration of the Muslim faith, "There is no god but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God."  Two male Muslims or eight female Muslims witness the event.  An imam (EE-mahm) leads the prayer and gives a sermonic talk.  A muezzin (MOO-ah-zin) calls the faithful to prayer.  The Arabic term "mabrook" (MAH-brook) meaning congratulations, may be appropriate. 

Marriage.  Unless financial or physical restrictions are present, pious Muslims marry.  Marriage is a social contract or covenant, not a sacrament.  The ceremony, taking place in a mosque, is officiated at by an imam.  Two witnesses observe the contract between the bride and groom.  After the ceremony, a reception ("waleemah," wah-LEEH-mah) is common.  Pious Muslims serve no alcohol at this celebration, though beverages and food abound. Traditional Arabic greetings include "mabrook alaik" (MAH-brook ah-LAYK, congratulations) if addressing the man; "mabrook alaiki" (MAH-brook ah-LAYK-ee) if speaking to the bride.

Funeral Rites.  Traditionally two to three days after death the funeral takes place.  Calls or visits to bereaved families entail quiet sitting, offering a prayer and condolences to the bereaved family members.  An imam presides at the ceremony.  At the graveside, Janazah (jan-NAH-zah) prayers for the dead, are recited.  The deceased is buried, never cremated.

Muslim Holidays

For My True Friend!In the Islamic world there are two main holiday periods...the feast which follows the Ramadan fast ('Id al-Fitr, i-EED-ahl-FAHT-ehr) and the feast which follows the Annual Pilgrimage ('Id al-Adha, i-EED-ahl-OOHD-hah).  These conform with the Islamic calendar., which, being based on lunar months, is 10 or 11 days shorter than the Western year. Otherwise, Saudi National Day falls on 23 September of the Western calendar, but the date is normally not observed by the natives. For the two feasts, the government announces official holidays of three or four days. However, it is often the case that in Saudia Arabia, for example, those employed in government and military service take about two weeks off from work. Celebration of the feast following Ramadan has a family focus, while the other feast involves more visiting and entertaining. Islamic holidays are not occasions for military ceremonies. These do occur, but they are mostly confined to bases and training areas and usually involve a pass in review. Appropriate occasions include high level change of command, graduation from formal courses, completion of modernization training or related reorganization. The armed forces provide honor guard details at airports for the reception of visiting dignitaries. Occasionally, troops will line the streets along the route of a motorcade; however, they do not parade through them. During holiday times, officers and men of the National Guard may assemble in some public place to perform the traditional sword dance, which derives from the tribal ritual of old Arabia. 

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