The fourth pillar of Islam is fasting. Allah prescribes daily fasting for all able, adult Muslims during the whole of the month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the lunar calendar, beginning with the sighting of the new moon.
Exempted from the fast are the very old and the insane. On the physical side, fasting is from first light of dawn until sundown, abstaining from food, drink, and sexual relations. On the moral, behavioral side, one must abstain from lying, malicious gossip, quarrelling and trivial nonsense.
Those who are sick, elderly, or on a journey, and women who are menstruating, pregnant, or nursing are permitted to break the fast, but must make up an equal number of days later in the year. If physically unable to do so, they must feed a needy person for each day missed. Children begin to fast (and to observe the prayers) from puberty, although many start earlier.
In addition to the fast proper, one is encouraged to read the entire Quran. In addition, special prayers, called Tarawih, are held in the mosque every night of the month, during which a whole section of the Quran (Juz') is recited, so that by the end of the month the entire Quran has been completed. These are done in remembrance of the fact that the revelation of the Quran to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was begun during Ramadan.
During the last ten days - though the exact day is never known and may not even be the same every year - occurs the Night of Power (Laylat al-Qadr). To spend that night in worship is equivalent to a thousand months of worship, i.e. Allah's reward for it is very great.
On the first day of the following month, after another new moon has been sighted, a special celebration is made, called 'Id al-Fitr. A quantity of staple food is donated to the poor (Zakat al-Fitr), everyone has bathed and put on their best, preferably new, clothes, and communal prayers are held in the early morning, followed by feasting and visiting relatives and friends.
There are other fast days throughout the year. Muslims are encouraged to fast six days in Shawwal, the month following Ramadan, Mondays and Thursdays, and the ninth and tenth, or tenth and eleventh of Muharram, the first month of the year. The tenth day, called Ashurah, is also a fast day for the Jews (Yom Kippur), and Allah commanded the Muslims to fast two days to distinguish themselves from the People of the Book.
While fasting per se is encouraged, constant fasting, as well as monasticism, celibacy, and otherwise retreating from the real world, are condemned in Islam. Fasting on the two festival days, 'Id al-Fitr and 'Id al-Adha, the feast of the Hajj, is strictly forbidden.
(1) The month oframadanin which was revealed the Qur'an, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong). So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (oframadani.e. is present at his home), he must observe Saum (fasts) that month, and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days which one did not observe Saum (fasts) must be made up] from other days. Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you. (He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify Allah [i.e. to say Takbir (Allahu Akbar; Allah is the Most Great] for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him.
(2) Verily, the Muslims (those who submit to Allah in Islam) men and women, the believers men and women (who believe in Islamic Monotheism), the men and the women who are obedient (to Allah), the men and women who are truthful (in their speech and deeds), the men and the women who are patient (in performing all the duties which Allah has ordered and in abstaining from all that Allah has forbidden), the men and the women who are humble (before their Lord - Allah), the men and the women who give Sadaqat (i.e. Zakat, and alms), the men and the women who observe Saum (fast) (the obligatory fasting during the month of ramadan, and the optional Nawafil fasting), the men and the women who guard their chastity (from illegal sexual acts) and the men and the women who remember Allah much with their hearts and tongues Allah has prepared for them forgiveness and a great reward (i.e. Paradise).
(3) We sent it (this Qur'an) down on a blessed night [(i.e. night of Al-Qadr, Surah No. 97) in the month oframadan - the 9th month of the Islamic calendar]. Verily, We are ever warning [mankind that Our Torment will reach those who disbelieve in Our Oneness of Lordship and in Our Oneness of worship].
From the book "Khulaasatul Kalaam" by Shaykh Jaarullah.
Brother Muslim, Sister Muslima:
1. Fast Ramadhan with belief and truly seeking the reward of Allah the Most High so that He may forgive you your past sins.
2. Beware of breaking your fast during the days of Ramadhan without a valid Islamic excuse, for it is from the greatest of sins.
3. Pray Salat ut-Taraweeh and the night prayer during the nights of Ramadhan - especially on Layatul-Qadr - based on belief and truly seeking the reward of Allah, so that Allah may forgive you your past sins.
4. Make sure that your food, your drink and your clothing are from halal means, in order that your actions be accepted, and your supplications answered. Beware of refraining from the halal while fasting and breaking your fast with the haram.
5. Give food to some fasting people to gain a reward similar to theirs.
6. Perform your five prayers on time in congregation to gain the reward and Allah's protection.
7. Give a lot of charity for the best charity is that of Ramadhan.
8. Beware of spending your time without performing righteous deeds, for you will be responsible and reckoned for it and will be rewarded for all you do during your time.
9. Perform `umrah in Ramadhan for `Umrah in Ramadhan is equal to Hajj.
10. Seek help for fasting during the day by eating the sahoor meal in the last part of the night before the appearance of Fajr.
11. Hasten breaking your fast after the sun has truly set in order to gain the love of Allah.
12. Perform ghusl before fajr if you need to purify yourself from the state of major impurity so that you are able to do acts of worship in a state of purity and cleanliness.
13. Cease the opportunity of being in Ramadhan and spend it with the good that has been revealed in it - by reciting the noble Qur'an and pondering and reflection of its meanings so that it be a proof for you with your Lord and an intercessor for you on the Day of Reckoning.
14. Preserve your tongue from lying, cursing, backbiting and slander for it decreases the reward of fasting.
15. Do not let fasting cause you cross your boundaries by getting upset due to the slightest of reasons. Rather, fating should be a cause of peacefulness and tranquility of your soul.
16. Upon completion of fasting, be in a state of taqwa of Allah the Most High, being aware of Allah watching you in secret and in public, in thankfulness for His favors, and steadfastness upon obedience of Allah by doing all what He has ordered and shunning all that He has prohibited.
17. Increase in remembrance of Allah, seeking of forgiveness, asking for Paradise and protection against the Fire, especially when fasting, while breaking the fast and during suhoor, for these actions are among greatest causes of attaining Allah's forgiveness.
18. Increase in supplication for yourself, your parents, your children and Muslims, for Allah has ordered making of supplications and has guaranteed acceptance.
19. Repent to Allah with a sincere repentance in all times by leaving sins, regretting those that you have done before and firmly deciding not to return to them in the future, for Allah accepts repentance of those who repent.
20. Fast six days of Shawwal, for whoever fasts Ramadhan and then follows it with six days of Shawwal, it is as if he fasts all the time.
21. Fast on the Day of `Arafah, the 9th of Dhul Hijjah, to attain success by being forgiven your sins of the last year and the coming year.
22. Fast on the day of `Aashuraa', the 10th of Muharram, along with the 9th, to attain success by being forgiven your sins of the past year.
23. Continue being in a state of iman and taqwa and perform righteous actions after the month of Ramadhan, until you die. "And worship your Lord until there comes to you the certainty (i.e. death)". [Qur'an 15:99]
24. Ensure that you attain the positive effects of your acts of worship such as prayer, fasting, zakat and hajj, sincere repentance and leaving of customs that are in variance with the Sharee`ah.
25. Invoke a lot of salawat and salam upon the Messenger of Allah, may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him, his Companions and all those who follow them until the Day of Judgment.
O Allah make us and all Muslims of those who fast and stand in prayer during the month of Ramadhan based on belief and truly seeking Your reward so that we are forgiven our past and future sins.
O Allah make us of those who fasted the month, attained full reward, witnessed Layatul-Qadr and attained success by permission of the Lord, Blessed and Most High.
O Allah, verily you are Forgiver, like to forgive, so forgive us.
O Lord, accept from us, verily you are the All-Hearing, all-Seeing, O Living, O Independent, O Owner of all majesty and honor.
And may Allah's blessings and peace be upon Muhammad, his family and his Companions.
Crescentrating just announced its Top 10 Halal Friendly Holiday Destinations for 2012. This year’s top 10 destinations were split into two categories; Top 10 among the Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries and the top 10 among the other countries.
This year’s list was compiled based on the Muslim Lifestyle Friendly (Halal Friendly) facilities and services available to Muslim visitors such as Halal food availability, Halal certified restaurants, and the availability of mosques, family friendly attractions etc., in the particular destination.
OIC Countries, which are generally Halal Friendly, offer a more hassle free vacation due to the readily available supply of Halal food, prayer facilities and the general family-friendly atmosphere. These destinations not only offer their Halal-conscious tourists these necessary Halal friendly facilities, but they also have great tourist attractions such as theme parks, nature excursions, shopping opportunities and wonderful beaches!
Malaysia, which is ranked as the Top Halal Friendly Holiday Destination in an OIC country, offers much to Muslim travelers; Malaysia was followed by Egypt, Turkey, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates, Morocco, Tunisia, Jordan, Brunei and Qatar.
All of the non OIC countries listed have the basic Halal friendly facilities available as well, though they may not be as frequent or as popular as in OIC countries. The destinations offer unique surroundings, atmospheres and attractions for the many visitors they welcome.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is ranked as the most Halal Friendly Holiday Destination in a non OIC country; this crossroad where East meets West is an eclectic mix of traditional masjids and modern ski resorts giving its tourists the best of both worlds. BiH was followed by Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Gold Coast (Australia), Delhi (India), London (UK), Bangkok (Thailand), Munich (Germany) and Vienna (Austria) as the Top 10 Halal Friendly Holiday Destinations among non OIC countries for 2012.
For a more in-depth look at the Halal Friendly Holiday Destinations of 2012, visit www.crescentrating.com.
Crescentrating Pte Ltd. is a Singapore based company focused on the development of the Halal Friendly Travel market segment worldwide. Establishments are crescentrated on a scale of one to seven based on the services and facilities they provide to Muslim travelers. The Board of Directors and Board of Advisers of Crescentrating Pte Ltd. come from diverse backgrounds, bringing unique skills and knowledge from the Islamic Banking Industry, Halal Food Industry, Research and Consultancy, Islamic Scholarship and Corporate experience. All of them are well-established individuals with International and pioneering experience in their chosen fields. (Iqraa Int./7Jan2012)