Ramadan Articles rss

Eid 2011 Photos – 20 Great Pics

Here are some great photos of Eid-ul-Fitr 2011 around the world. I collected these from the BBC, International Business News, and a few other sources. Happy Eid!

Children in Jakarta, Indonesia celebrate Eid 2011.

Children in Jakarta, Indonesia celebrate Eid 2011. Some Indonesians celebrated Eid on Tuesday despite the government setting Wednesday as the official date.

Tagged as: , , ,

Ramadan Reflections on Surat al-Fatihah, the Grand Opening

The Holy Quran is a light

The Holy Quran is a light

By Ismail Kandar for MuslimMatters.org

This year, I am enjoying the benefits of praying Tarawih (night prayers of Ramadan) behind Mufti Ismail Menk and listening to his powerful Tafseer (explanation of the Quran) afterwards. On the opening night, Mufti Menk brought up an issue which always amazes me, the unique method in which the Qur’an begins. This made me reflect on the opening pages of the Qur’an.

Surah Al-Fatiha and the first three pages of Surah Baqarah are an amazing and unique method of starting a book. Perhaps, it is because we recite Surah Fatiha everyday, multiple times, that many of us do not take these verses seriously. Yet, the reason this Surah is emphasized so much is because it is the most important chapter of the Qur’an. It is Faatihatul Kitaab (The opening chapter of the book), Sab’a Mathaani (the seven oft-repeated verses 15:87) and Ummul Kitaab (the essence of the book 13:39). It is the Surah that when recited, Allah replies to each verse. It is the most important du’a that we can make.

The first half of Surah Fatiha is a declaration of Tawheed (Oneness of Allah) in all of its forms: tawheed of Rububiyyah (Lordship) ”All praise to Allah, the Rabb (Lord) of the universe,” (1:1), tawheed of Asma Wa Sifaat (names and attributes) “Most Gracious, Most Merciful, Master of the Day of Judgement,” (1:2-3) and tawheed of Ibaadah (worship), “You alone we worship and you alone we ask for help.” (1:4)

The second half of Surah Fatiha is the most important du’a a person could ever make, “Guide us to the straight path!” (1:5) The Surah then explains what is the staight path and what is not. The straight path is that which was shown to us and followed by those whom Allah has favoured, which Allah explains in another verse, “whoever obeys Allah and His messenger, then they will be with those whom Allah has favoured from the prophets, truthful, matyrs and righteous.” (4:69) This verse refutes the claim by some people that you can find your own way towards Paradise without following the people of the past. True salvation lies in following the Salaf As-Saliheen (The righteous predecessors) and their understanding and practice of the Qur’an.

An old illuminated manuscript of the Quran

An old illuminated manuscript of the Quran

Allah then shows us two types of misguidance. The first form of misguidance is to earn Allah’s wrath by knowingly rejecting the truth and the other form is to go astray by choosing to remain ignorant. So we need to realize that choosing to remain ignorant can not excuse us for our sins and deviations, and if we knowingly reject the truth, we will be cursed by Allah. The only option left is to seek the truth and ask Allah to guide us to the straight path.

Answers in Surat Al-Baqarah

Amazingly, the very next Surah begins by answering this du’a for guidance. “This is the book in which there is no doubt! It is a guidance for those who are God-conscious.” (2:2) Three things are interesting about this verse. Firstly, show me one other book which begins by declaring its own perfection. No human author would dare readers from the beginning by making the claim that there is nothing doubtful in his book, this immidiately makes skeptics look for mistakes. The Qur’an, being the perfect word of Allah, begins with this challenge, a unique and powerful starting point.

Allah then explains to us that this Qur’an is the answer to our du’a (prayer) for guidance but the condition is that we approach this Qur’an with Taqwa (God-consciousness). This is why not everyone benefits from reciting the Qur’an. Allah warns us on the next page to not be from those who only recite ritually or with an evil intention as “it is the same whether you warn them or not, they will never believe.” (2:6) This verse is aimed primarily to those who choose to reject Islam, but like all verses we need to apply it to ourselves and make sure we do not possess any of the qualities that Allah dislikes.

The first three pages of Surah Baqarah describe three types of people in terms of belief and relationship with Allah. Allah goes into detail describing those who have Taqwa and attain success, then briefly mentions those who choose to disbelieve, and finally He mentions in even more detail, the hypocrites. It is for us to study these verses and put into the practice the qualities of the successful while being careful to guard ourselves from possessing the qualities of the disbelievers or hypocrites.

After all of this, Allah mentions the first commandment in the Qur’an, the most important commandment and the benefit of obeying it. Allah says, “O mankind, worship your Lord who created you and those before you so that you may attain Taqwa.” (2:21) The first and most important commandment is to uphold Tawheed by worshipping Allah alone as it is through this that we can attain Taqwa and through Taqwa that we can attain guidance from the Qur’an.

I ask Allah to grant all of us Imaan (faith), Taqwa and a deeper understanding of the Qur’an. Ameen.

Tagged as: , , , , , ,

Thomas Jefferson’s Ramadan Iftar

Thomas Jefferson's Quran

Thomas Jefferson's Quran

Did you know that the first ever Ramadan iftar at the White House was held over 200 years ago by President Thomas Jefferson?

“Ramadan,” said President Obama at a White House iftar dinner in 2010, “is a reminder that Islam has always been a part of America. The first Muslim ambassador to the United States, from Tunisia, was hosted by President Jefferson, who arranged a sunset dinner for his guest because it was Ramadan — making it the first known iftar at the White House, more than 200 years ago.”

The dinner to which the president referred took place on December 9, 1805, and Jefferson’s guest was Sidi Soliman Mellimelli, an envoy from the bey (chieftain) of Tunis who spent six months in Washington. The context of Mellimelli’s visit to the United States was a tense dispute over piracy on American merchant vessels by the Barbary states and the capture of Tunisian vessels trying to run an American blockade of Tripoli.

Mellimelli arrived during Ramadan, and Jefferson, when he invited the envoy to the president’s house, changed the meal time from the usual hour of 3:30 p.m. to “precisely at sunset” in deference to the man’s religious obligation.

Jefferson’s knowledge of Islam likely came from his legal studies of natural law. In 1765, Jefferson purchased a two-volume English translation of the Quran for his personal library, a collection that became, in 1815, the basis of the modern Library of Congress.

(This is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://iipdigital.usembassy.gov/iipdigital-en/index.html)

Tagged as: , , ,

25 Beautiful Ramadan Photos 2011

Muslims break their fast at the Jama Masjid mosque in New Delhi, India during Ramadan

Muslims break their fast at the Jama Masjid mosque in New Delhi, India on Aug. 2.

Enjoy these lovely images of Muslims fasting, praying, reading Quran, and breaking their fast in this month of Ramadan.

Ramadan is a lunar month, so it is either 29 or 30 days long. It is a time of sacrifice, purification, prayer, and devotion to God.

Over a billion Muslims worldwide participate in the Ramadan fast.

My own daughter Salma is five years old, so she’s a little too young to fast. But she really wants to try, so I’m letting her fast two hours in the morning, except on school days :-)

– Wael, Zawaj.com Editor

Tagged as: , , ,

Ramadan Dishes Bring Relief – Nutritious and Light Ramadan Meals

Osman Kiranoglu prepares cacik

At Boston Kebab House, chef-owner Osman Kiranoglu, who grew up in Turkey making yogurt, cuts cucumbers to mix into cacik, a versatile dish during Ramadan. (Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe)

The Boston Globe, August 3, 2011
Omar Sacirbey, Globe Correspondent

Relief for a hot month of Ramadan

Dishes reward both memory, faithfulness

As the son of a goat, sheep, and cow herder in the tiny northeastern Turkish village of Rize (REE-za), Osman Kiranoglu grew up making and eating lots of yogurt. Today, Kiranoglu parlays his fluency in yogurt as the chef-owner of the Boston Kebab House in Liberty Square.

Kiranoglu counts on his experience again during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which began Monday, when observant Muslims abstain from food and drink from dawn to dusk to remember the hardships of the poor. “This year, it’s going to be very difficult,’’ Kiranoglu says. “Long days. Hot.’’ For religious holidays, Muslims follow a lunar calendar, whose year is about 10 days shorter than the solar-based Gregorian calendar. This means that the first day of Ramadan always falls about 10 days earlier than the previous year. For example, Ramadan is likely to start around July 21 next year, and July 11 the year after, and so on.

It takes about 35 years for Ramadan to travel through the solar calendar, so it will be a good seven or eight years before it leaves summer for the shorter, milder days of spring.

Cacik: the perfect summer dish

Until then, Boston-area Muslims have a bevy of dishes for either suhur, an early morning breakfast that precedes the fast, or iftar, the meal after the fast, with which to sustain them during this fasting month. Kiranoglu’s go-to summer recipe is cacik, a combination of yogurt, cucumbers, fresh dill, and mint, which can be served thin for a soup, or thick for a tangy bread dip. “If you go to any house in Turkey, they give you this,’’ says Kiranoglu, who learned the recipe watching his mother in the kitchen and, as the oldest of six children, knew how to make cacik by the time he was 9 or 10.

Cacik has several advantages during a hot summer Ramadan. It is fast, easy, and doesn’t require an oven or stove, and the yogurt helps rehydrate the body after a long day without fluids. It is also deliciously refreshing, as soup and dip, led by the saltiness of the yogurt, followed by the tanginess of the dill, finished with the sweetness of the mint.

Chickpea and roasted red pepper salad: nutritious but light

Ahmad Yasin, owner of Yasin Culinary, a catering company and cooking class studio in Watertown that specialize in Arabic cooking, also has fond memories of Ramadan in northern Syria, where he grew up. “The most beautiful time of the day is when everyone is rushing home after work, before iftar, to be with the family and prepare the food,’’ says Yasin.

Among the dishes he learned to prepare, and one of his favorites, is chickpea and roasted red pepper salad, with chili pepper, black or green olives, thyme, and parsley. It’s a tasty dish packed with protein and vitamins that recharge the body, but light enough for Muslims to respect the dietary advice of the Prophet Muhammad, says Yasin. “You shouldn’t eat until you’re hungry, and you shouldn’t overindulge, so you can work and pray.’’

Another prophetic tradition with nutritional value, Muslims say, is always breaking the fast with dates, which are high in sugar. The theory is that hunger is caused not by an empty stomach, but low blood sugar. A few dates can quickly quell hunger, and prevent overeating after fasting. Typically, after a few dates to break their fasts, Muslims perform evening prayers, which take just a few minutes, before starting their meals.

Khushaf – sweet and refreshing

Sugar’s knack for mollifying hunger is also behind the popularity of khushaf, a mixture of dried fruits and nuts soaked in water until it becomes syrupy, consumed after the dates but before prayers. “It’s sweet and refreshing,’’ says Sana Fadel of Newton, who remembers the dish from childhood visits to relatives in Egypt, where the weather was “super-hot.’’

Qamar Ad-Deen: popular in Egypt

Dishes prepared from qamar id-deen, an apricot paste, also figure prominently during Egyptian Ramadans, Fadel says. Among the most popular are apricot drink, which frequently accompanies dates and khushaf, and apricot pudding as dessert.

This Ramadan, Fadel hopes to introduce khushaf to her two sons, who are too young to fast but old enough to enjoy a family tradition.

Omar Sacirbey can be reached at osacirbey@hotmail.com.

Tagged as: , , , , , ,

Ramadan 2011 Photos – Muslims Getting Ready

Muslim women having Ramadan iftar in Italy

Muslim women having Ramadan iftar in Italy, 2008.

Ramadan has already started, but even before Ramadan began, Muslims all over the world were getting ready in many ways. Here are some photos of Muslims preparing for Ramadan in 2011 (and there’s one photo from 2008 as well – I came across it and found it interesting):

Tagged as: , , , , ,

Ramadan Announcement 2011 / 1432 AH

Ramadan Mubarak!

Ramadan Mubarak!

If you’re looking for the 2011 Eid Announcement, see: ISNA Eid Announcement 2011

Ramadan Announcement by the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA):

First day of Ramadan will be Monday, August 1, 2011
and Eid ul-Fitr on Tuesday, August 30, 2011, insha’Allah.

“O you who believe, fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may (learn) self-restraint.” Qur’an 2:183

The Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) and the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR) recognize astronomical calculation as an acceptable Shar’ia method for determining the beginning of lunar months including the months of Ramadan and Shawwal. The FCNA & ECFR use Makkah al-Mukarramah as a conventional point, and take the position that the conjunction must take place before sunset in Makkah and the moon must set after sunset in Makkah.

On the basis of this method the dates of Ramadan and Eid ul-Fitr for the year 1431 AH are established as follows:

1st of Ramadan will be on Monday, August 1, 2011

1st of Shawwal, which marks the start of Eid ul-Fitr, will be on Tuesday, August 30, 2011.

Ramadan 1432 AH:
The Astronomical New Moon is on July 30, 2011 (Saturday) at 18:40 Universal Time (9:40 pm  Makkah time). Sunset at Makkah on July 30 is at 7:01 pm local time, while moonset at Makkah is 6:41pm local time (20 minute before sunset).  Therefore the following day Sunday, July 31, 2011 is not the 1st day of Ramadan.   First day of Ramadan is Monday, August 1, insha’Allah. First Tarawih prayer will be on Sunday night.

Eid ul-Fitr 1432 AH:
The Astronomical New Moon is on August 29, 2011 (Monday) at 3:04 Universal Time (6:04 am  Makkah time). On Monday, August 29, sunset at Makkah is 6:40 p.m. local time, while moonset is at 6:44  pm local time. Therefore, first day of Shawwal, i.e., Eid ul-Fitr is Tuesday, August 30, insha’Allah.

May Allah (swt) keep us on the right path, and accept our fasting and prayers. Ameen.  For more detailed information, please visit: www.fiqhcouncil.org or www.moonsighting.com

Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi
Chairman of the Fiqh Council of North America

Tagged as: , , , ,

The Meaning of Eid

Muslim family at Eid prayer

Muslim family at Eid prayer

Eid means “recurring happiness” or “festivity”. There are two such Eid in Islam.

The first is called Eid al-Fitr (the Festival of Fast Breaking). It falls on the first day of Shawwaal, the tenth month of the Muslim year, following the month of Ramadan in which the Glorious Qur’an was revealed and which is the month of fasting.

The second is called Eid al-Adhaa (the Festival of sacrifice). It falls on the tenth day of Zulhijjah, the final month of the Muslim year. The Islamic Eid are unique in every way. To them there can be nothing similar in any other religion or any other sociopolitical system. Besides their highly spiritual and moral characteristics, they have matchless qualities.

Each Eid is a wholesome celebration of a remarkable achievement of the individual Muslim in the service of Allah SWT. The first Eid comes after an entire month of ‘absolute’ fasting during the days of the month. The second Eid marks the completion of Hajj to Makkah, a course in which the Muslim handsomely demonstrates his renouncement of the mundane concerns and hearkens only to the eternal voice of Allah SWT.

Each Eid is a thanksgiving day where Muslims assemble in a brotherly and joyful atmosphere to offer their gratitude to Allah SWT for helping them to fulfill their spiritual obligations prior to the Eid. This form of thanksgiving is not confined to spiritual devotion and verbal expressions. It goes far beyond that to manifest itself in a handsome shape of social and humanitarian spirit. The Muslims who have completed the fasting of Ramadhaan express their thanks to Allah SWT by means of distributing alms among the poor and needy on the first Eid before the prayer.

Eid also is a day of remembrance. Even in their most joyful times the Muslims make a flesh stall of the day by a plural session of worship to Allah SWT. They pray to Him and glorify His name to demonstrate their remembrance of His favors. Along with that course, they remember the deceased by praying for their souls, the needy by extending a hand of help, the grieved by showing them sympathy and consolation, the sick by cheerful visits and utterances of good wishes, the absentees by cordial greetings and sincere considerateness. Thus, the meaning of remembrance on the day transcends all limits and expands over far-reaching dimensions of human life.

Eid greetings

Eid greetings

Most of the imams when delivering the Eid khutbah will mention that Eid is a day of victory. The individual who succeeds in securing his spiritual rights and growth receives the Eid with a victorious spirit. The individual who faithfully observes the duties, which are associated with the Eid, is a triumphant one. He proves that he holds a strong command over his desires, exercises a sound self-control and enjoys the taste of disciplinary life.

Once a person acquires these qualities, he has achieved his greatest victory because the person who knows how to control himself and discipline his desires is free from sin and wrong, from fear and cowardice, from vice and indecency, from jealousy and greed, from humiliation and all other causes of enslavement.

Therefore, when he receives the Eid, which marks the achievement of this freedom, he is in fact celebrating his victory, and the Eid thus becomes a day of victory.

This is the proper meaning of an Islamic Eid. It is a day of thanksgiving, a day of festive remembrance and a day of moral victory. An Islamic Eid is all this and is much more because it is a day of Islam, a day of Allah SWT. Celebrate this coming Eid with the true imaan and taqwa. InshaaAllah, besides having enjoyment, we will be blessed by Allah SWT.

Source: islaam.org

Tagged as: , , ,

Eid Announcement 2010 – Eid-ul-Fitr is Friday Insha’Allah

Eid Mubarak from Zawaj.com

Eid Mubarak from Zawaj.com! (this amazing image is by Said Ibrahim of London, saidnapro.blogspot.com)

If you’re looking for the 2011 Eid Announcement, see:

ISNA Eid Announcement 2011

Announcement by Fiqh Council of North America and European Council for Fatwa and Research

The Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) recognize astronomical calculation as an acceptable Shar’ia method for determining the beginning of lunar months including the months of Ramadan and Shawwal. The FCNA & ECFR use Makkah al-Mukarramah as a conventional point, and take the position that the conjunction must take place before sunset in Makkah and the moon must set after sunset in Makkah.

On the basis of this method the date of Eid ul-Fitr for the year 1431 AH is established as follows:

1st of Shawwal, which marks the start of Eid ul-Fitr, will be on Friday, September 10, 2010, Insha’Allah.

Eid ul-Fitr 1431 AH:

The Astronomical New Moon is on September 8, 2010 (Wednesday) at 6:30 pm Makkah Time. Sunset in Makkah on September 8 is at 6:31 pm. On that day, the moon in Makkah at sunset is below the horizon. Therefore, the first day of Shawwal, which marks the start of Eid ul-Fitr is on Friday, September 10, 2010, insha’Allah.

May Allah (swt) keep us on the right path, and accept our fasting and prayers. Ameen. For more detailed information, please visit: www.fiqhcouncil.org or www.moonsighting.com.

Tagged as: , , , ,

How to worship in Laylat-ul-Qadr

Mecca mosque in Hyderabad India, on the first day of Ramadan

A view of Mecca Masjid, or mosque, during the evening prayers on the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, in Hyderabad, India, Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2008. AP / Mahesh Kumar A

Date: October 25, 2005Name of Mufti: IslamOnline Shari`ah Researchers

Topic: Recommended Acts of Worship in Laylat-ul-Qadr

Name of Questioner: Omar from United States

Question: As-Salam `Alaykum Warahmatullah Wabarakatuh ! Dear Sheikhs, given that the blessed night Laylatul-Qadr is approaching, we would like you to tell us what should we do in this night. Kindly inform us of the acts of worship that are recommended in this night?


Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Dear brother in Islam, thank you very much for having confidence in us. We ask Allah to guide the whole Muslim Ummah to make the best use of the blessed days of Ramadan, and to seek the great blessings Allah grants His sincere servants during these days.

Laylatul-Qadr is the most blessed night. A person who misses it has indeed missed a great amount of good. If a believing person is keen to obey his Lord and increase the good deeds in his record, he should strive to encounter this night and to pass it in worship and obedience. If this is facilitated for him, all of his previous sins will be forgiven.

Praying Qiyam:

It is recommended to make a long Qiyam prayer during the nights on which Laylatul-Qadr could fall. This is indicated in many Hadiths, such as the following:

Abu Dharr (may Allah be pleased with him) relates: “We fasted with Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) in Ramadan. He did not lead us in Qiyam (Night Vigil Prayer) at all until there were seven nights of Ramadan left. Then he stood with us (that night, in Prayer) until one third of the night had passed. He did not pray with us on the sixth. On the fifth night, he prayed with us until half of the night had passed. So we said, ‘Allah’s Messenger! Wouldn’t you pray with us the whole night?’ He replied: ‘Whoever stands in Prayer with Imam until he (the Imam) concludes the Prayer, it will be recorded for him that he prayed the whole night…” (Reported by Ibn Abi Shaybah, Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi)

Point of benefit: Abu Dawud mentioned: “I heard Ahmad being asked, ‘Do you like for a man to pray with the people or by himself during Ramadan?’ He replied, ‘Pray with the people’ I also heard him say, ‘I would prefer for one to pray Qiyam with Imam and to pray Witr with him as well, for the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “When a man prays with the Imam until he concludes, he’ll earn the reward of praying the rest of that night.”

Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Whoever stands (in Qiyam) in Laylatul-Qadr (and it is facilitated for him) out of faith and expectation of Allah’s reward, will have all of his previous sins forgiven.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim). The phrase “and it is facilitated for him”, according to the version narrated by Ahmad, on the authority of `Ubadah Ibn As-Samit, means that a person is permitted to be among the sincere worshippers during that blessed night.

Making Supplications:

It is also recommended to make extensive supplication on this night. `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) reported that she asked the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) “O Messenger of Allah! If I knew which night is Laylatul-Qadr, what should I say during it?” And he instructed her to say: “Allahumma innaka `afuwwun tuhibbul `afwa fa`fu `annee (O Allah! You are Oft-Forgiving, and you love forgiveness. So forgive me).” (Reported by Ahmad, Ibn Majah and At-Tirmithi)

Abandoning Worldly Pleasures for the Sake of Worship:

It is further recommended to spend more time in worship during the nights on which Laylatul-Qadr is likely to be. This calls for abandoning many worldly pleasures in order to secure the time and thoughts solely for worshipping Allah. This is based on the following Hadith narrated by `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her): “Upon entering into the last ten (of Ramadan), the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) would tighten his Izar (i.e. he stayed away from his wives in order to have more time for worship), spend the whole night awake (in Prayer), and wake up his family.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim) She also said: “Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) used to exert more efforts (in worship) on the last ten than on other nights.” (Reported by Muslim)

– IslamOnline.net, reprinted with some modifications from Islam.com

Tagged as: , , , , , ,

27 Beautiful Photos of Ramadan Around the World

Palestinian girls prays at Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem during Ramadan

Palestinian girl prays Jum’ah at Al-Aqsa Masjid in Ramadan

These 27 wonderful photos show Muslims all over the world worshiping in Ramadan, reading Quran, cooking, breaking their fasts, and striving to get closer to Allah.

The pictures really capture the diversity of our Ummah; our wealth of spirit even amid material poverty; the beauty of our rituals; and the vitality of our communities. Alhamdulillah.

These photos are courtesy of the Sacramento Bee and are from Ramadan 2008.

See also:

Ramadan around the world: 35 beautiful photos

18 lovely Ramadan photos

Tagged as: , , , , , ,