August 22, 2009

Happy Ramadan!

It's the first day of Ramadan and I am again reminded of the beauty of my religion. This time round I have the opportunity to celebrate it in an Islamic country and experience the charity, prayers and celebration first hand.

Here's a quick run down of Ramadan:

* It is the month in which the Quran (Islamic Holy Book) was revealed to the prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

* Every day during this month, Muslims spend the daylight hours in a complete fast. The Arabic word for "fasting" (sawm) literally means "to refrain" - and it means not only refraining from food and drink, but from evil actions, thoughts, and words. Therefore, fasting is not merely physical, but is rather the total commitment of the person's body and soul to the spirit of the fast. Ramadan is a time to practice self-restraint; a time to cleanse the body and soul from impurities and re-focus one's self on the worship of God.

* Muslims are called to re-evaluate their lives in light of Islamic guidance. This includes making peace with those who have wronged us, strengthening ties with family and friends and doing away with bad habits.

* Through fasting, a Muslim experiences hunger and thirst, and sympathises with those in the world who have little to eat every day. Thus, through increased charity, Muslims develop feelings of generosity and good-will toward others.

* Muslims have a breakfast called "Sohoor" before the sun comes up and complete the first of five prayers for the day (more info here) Here is a video I took last night (or should I say, this morning at 3am!) of the "Masaharatti" - the guy who walks the streets banging on a drum to wake people up. So if you don't have an alarm, this will do the job!

More about Ramadan (and what it means) here.
My own personal experience of Ramadan here

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