Farhat's Muslim Sticker Blog

Discussion and advice for parents and teachers…
  • ramadan wordsearch

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  • Why do Muslims Fast ?
    The fourth pillar of Islam is known as Sawm, or fasting . During the month of Ramadan, which is the ninth of the Islamic lunar calendar, every Muslim who meets certain requirements is required to fast from dawn until dusk.

    The act of fasting is both unique and yet a shared experience in human history. From the very beginning of time, humans have been involved with the great struggle to master their bodies and emotions. The urge to eat is one of the most powerful motivations anyone must face. Many have fail and over-eat or consume unhealthy foods.

    Anyone who has ever sought to come closer to their spiritual self has had to overcome their body’s desire for satisfaction. Hence, the history of fasting goes way back in human history. Previous Prophets have enjoined fasting upon their peoples and untold numbers of wise men and women have made self-denial a part of their life.

    When a person denies something to their own body which it craves, they are elevating their mind and showing that, unlike animals, their reason and will is stronger than their basic urges and passions. In this way our thinking becomes clearer and we learn that we are, indeed, not governed by our instincts. We gain greater awareness of ourselves and hence are able to bring ourselves closer to Allah.

    We can only become the “the best of creation” (95:4) when we rise above our desires and recognize the power of our belief in Allah.. As Allah declared, “You who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you so you can be aware of Allah (gain Taqwa). (2:183)

    When the new crescent moon (Hilal) is sighted signalling the beginning of Ramadan on the next day, Prophet Muhammad (saw) taught us to say: “Allah is Greater, Allah is Greater, Allah is Greater. Praise be to Allah Who created me and you and Who decreed for you the phase (of moon) and made you a sign for the universe.”

    Now imagine waking up, long before the first light of the sun has risen over the darkened sky, and taking a small meal, called Sahoor. When the hint of light approaches, the meal is finished and you pray the morning prayer with great clarity of mind and thought. You make your intention to fast that day for Allah’s sake and then either return to bed for a few hours sleep or stay up and read Allah’s words from the Quran. Then you prepare to face the day. The dua for making intention to fast is “Wa be saumee ghadin nawaytu min shahri Ramadan” – The next day’s fasting I intend for the month of Ramadan.

    During the daylight hours, a fasting person abstains from all food, liquids, smoking and nutritionally- related medicine or any non-essential oral medicine. In addition, all normally undesirable behaviour is especially frowned upon. No fighting, swearing, arguing, lying or other sins are to be indulged in. Of course a Muslim must naturally avoid such sins anyway, but sometimes people fall into error. Fasting for a month from these actions helps us correct ourselves. The Blessed Messenger of Allah once said, “Five things break a person’s fast: Lying backbiting, spreading rumours, false testimony and a lustful gaze.”

    Ramadan : The Month of Training
    The month of Ramadan provides us with a sort of spiritual and moral ‘Boot Camp’. We know that fasting in Ramadan is a duty from Allah and we learn that any sins may spoil our record of fasting with Allah so we take great pains to be on our best behaviour. This intense modification of our habits is designed to help us avoid such sins throughout the rest of the year. The Prophet (saw) once remarked, “Whoever doesn’t give up lying and acting on lies during fasting, then Allah has no need of him giving up food and drink.”
    On another occasion he warned, “There are many people who get nothing from fasting except hunger and thirst.” Clearly the moral dimension is as important as the physical aspects of fasting.

    The Prophet (saw) also said “Fasting is a shield. So, the person observing fasting….should not behave foolishly and rudely, and if somebody fights with them or abuses them, they should tell them twice, ‘I am fasting.” (Bukhari)

    The Prophet (saw) added, “By Him in Whose Hands is my soul, the breath from the mouth of a fasting person is better in the sight of Allah than the smell of musk.( Allah says about the fasting person), He has left his food, drink and desires for My sake. The fast is for Me. So I will reward (the fasting person) for it and the reward of good deeds is multiplied ten times.” (Bukhari)

    Ramadan has such a wondrous impact on our morals and behaviour that it has been described as the month of forgiveness. The Prophet (saw) once declared, “During the month of Ramadan, the gates of Paradise are open, the gates of Hell-fire are closed and the Shaytans are chained.” (Bukhari)

    Ramadan is blessed for another reason. It marks the first month when Allah began revealing His Messaage to Prophet Muhammad (saw). Layalat ul Qadr is the exact night when the Quranic revelation started to be revealed. Many Muslims stay up all night seeking their Lord’s forgiveness and guidance. Also during the last ten days some Muslims perform Itikaf, or Retreat. This consists of living in the prayer area of the Masjid for up to ten days. They spend their time in prayer, reading, study circles and making dua.

    The Lessons of fasting
    The lessons learned during Ramadan are many.
    1. We learn self-control and clear our minds and thoughts for serious remembrance of Allah.
    2. We understand how dependent we are on the food and water that is provided to us by Allah.
    3. We learn what it means to be part of one global ummah, united by our fasting.
    4. We recognize what it means to be hungry and how we must help our fellow Muslims who are hungry every month of the year.
    5. We restrain our anger and we train our habits towards prayer, forgiveness, self-sacrifice and good behaviour.

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  • July 15th, 2012fariParenting, Ramadhan Resources
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  • 10 flags, 2 metres long, £2.50 available from www.muslimstickers.com

    Colourful ramadan decorations to use in iftar parties. We also have ramadan charts and eid decorations and eid balloons.

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