Story: Zainabu Issah
RAMADAN, a month of fasting is fast approaching and its required of all Muslims to observe the fast except whe they are sick or travelling.
Whether doing a mandatory fast or a voluntary fast, Muslims are suppose to follow the three principles of fasting namely abstainance, faith(Taweed) and devotion.
Abstainance entails a Muslim not to only fast without food or water but also desist from things that are considered halal (forbidden). Those things are cheating, stealing, backbiting, fornication and adultury.
Married couples can resume their affair after the fast is broken at dusk. To continue the next day fast, couples are supposed to perform a ritual bath to clean their bodies.
If the sexual affair was intentional, then the Muslim must fast an additional 60 days after the Ramandan has ended. If the person is unable to fast for 60 days he/she would have to feed 60 people. In addition, to sexual intercourse, masturbation is also forbidden.
If during the fast a Muslim mistakenly eats, he is expected to ask for forgiveness and then continue the fast. But if he does so intentionally, then the fast is nullified.
Taweed as the main principle of fasting is the believe that there is only one God.
This principle is part of the Shahada (declaration of faith) which is signed by all Muslim converts and is the main believe in the three principles of fasting in Ramadan. Without it Muslims cannot exist in the world and it also teaches the principle of destiny.
Devotion on the other hand is devotion to Allah and Islam.This means that what Allah wants is what the practising Muslim wants.This also includes performing the five pillars of Islam thus the Shahada, Salat, Zakat, Hajji and fasting in the month of Ramadan.
These principles humbly guide a Muslim to be devoted to Allah and also a way to raise the status of a Muslim.
Ramadan comes but one’s a year and it is the time when the Muslim must live a life required by the Quran and the Sunnah (ways of the prophet).
Ramadan is, therefore, the month of everything halal (permissible) and also the month of avoiding everything haram (forbidden).
The rules and guidelines of Ramadan have been established by the Prophet Mohammed about 1400 years ago, and the sharia (laws) emphasises the importance of following the Sunnah (ways of the prophet).
When looking at how to come closer to Allah, a Muslim must avoid things that would allow the shaitan (devil) to enter and cause doubt in the mind.
A Muslim must therefore abstain from all bad talk and even listening to bad talk. This means that the television should not be watched except for news and shows of Islam.
A Muslim man usually avoids the sight of women for they can become tempting to the man. A woman on the other hand dresses to cover vital parts of her body to avoid tempting man.
Muslim women menstruating in the month of Ramadan are not allowed to fast until they have ended. However she is expected to fast for the days she missed after the month of Ramadan.
She must break the fast as an obligation and not as a mere legal act. Thus if she observes the fast, it will legally be insufficient and will not be accepted by Allah.
The month of Ramadan teaches a Muslim to be closer to Allah by reading the Quran, visiting the mosque, praying the night prayers and evoking blessings upon the Prophet Mohammed, peace be unto Him.
The night of power also known as Layalat al Qadr is observed in the last 10 days of the Ramadan season and special prayers are said in hope of obtaining the reward of 1000 months of worship. Muslims recite dua (prayers) for the sick, the needy and the persecuted and seek Allah’s protection from any evil intended.
This year’s Ramadan will start on Wednesday, August 11 if the new moon is sighted on Tuesday, August 10.
However, if the new moon is not sighted on August 10, then Thursday, August 12 shall be the automatic day for the commencement of the Ramadan.
Daily Graphic on 9th August 2010.