Thomas Jefferson’s Ramadan Iftar
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)
25 Beautiful Ramadan Photos 2011
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
Ramadan 2011 Photos – Muslims Getting Ready
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):
Ramadan Announcement 2011 / 1432 AH
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.
Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi
Chairman of the Fiqh Council of North America
The Meaning of Eid
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.
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.
Eid Announcement 2010 – Eid-ul-Fitr is Friday Insha’Allah
If you’re looking for the 2011 Eid Announcement, see:
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.
How to worship in Laylat-ul-Qadr
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.
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.
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
27 Beautiful Photos of Ramadan Around the World
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.
18 More Lovely Ramadan Photos
These lovely Ramadan photos came from Time Magazine. They are actually from last year. Some of my favorites: the men resting in the masjid in Indonesia; people breaking their fast at the market in Bangladesh; the women praying in St. Louis, USA; the boys studying Quran in India; the woman leaving her shoes outside the masjid in Tehran; and the vendor selling Muslim caps in Karachi.
Photos like this really bring home the universality of our Ummah, and of Islam itself. We are privileged to have been honored by Allah with this deen. Let’s be grateful for every breath, every moment, and every chance to worship Allah and do good in the world.
And our Ramadan archives:
Ramadan fasting has a healing effect on peptic ulcers
By Dr Muhammad Karim Islamabadi
September 4, 2007
Ramadan fasting has a healing effect on peptic ulcers as it curbs smoking which is recognised as a precipitating factor for the peptic ulcer. The whole gastro-intestinal system takes good rest for the first time in the whole year.
I feel pity for the stomach. I really feel pity for the stomach, intestines and infact the whole gastro-intestinal system. And this is so because the whole year, we never let this system take rest.
Apart from the three main meals, every few minutes, we pour something in our stomach, be it snacks, drinks, fruits or other eatables. None of us ever thinks that the food which we had already sent in before is being digested by the stomach and right when it has reached halfway, we dump some more into it only to disrupt the digestive work previously completed. This of course makes the food stay a longer time in the stomach which may result in dyspepsia, gastritis, irritable bowel syndrome etc.
In contrast, Ramadan is the only period in which our gastro-intestinal system takes good rest as the Muslims observe fasting for the whole month. Digestion is not just the name of churning movements of the stomach and the absorption by the intestines, but it is a huge integrated system involving the nervous system (eg. vagus nerve) as well as hormone secreting glands.
So the whole gastro-intestinal system takes good rest for the first time in the whole year. As digestion begins in the mouth where the salivary glands secrete excessive saliva which carries hormones to act upon the food, the burden on the salivary glands and teeth is reduced in the month of Ramadan. The oesophagus takes rest during fasting as there is no food to require its propelling movements which push the food to the stomach. Similarly, the stomach and the intestines also take good rest as after completing the digestion and absorption of food consumed at Sehri time, they have nothing to do till Iftar time. Even glands like pancreas and gall bladder which secrete hormones also reduce their secretions as there is no food to demand their hormones.
Hence, there is substantial reduction in the gastrointestinal hormones like gastric juice, gastrain, gastric inhibitory peptide (GIP), motilin, vascoactive intestinal peptide (VIP),neurotension, enteroglucagon, neuropeptide Y, gallium etc. Lastly, the colon and the liver are also at ease during fasting.
In short, Ramadan lifts the heavy burden and strain which we have put on our gastrointestinal system and gives it what can said to be a refreshing annual vacation of 30 days. Now coming to the diagnostic possibilities of Ramadan fasting, a good number of patients who consult physicians with abdominal pain, suffer from peptic ulcers. The peptic ulcer can be gastric or the duodenal type. The occurence of abdominal pain in both gastric and duodenal ulcers is different in relation to the food intake. Duodenal ulcer pain, though variable usually occurs when the stomach is empty and the gastric ulcer creates pain after the food intake.
In normal days, the differentiation of the two entities is difficult to make as people eat frequently, but in Ramadan, an individual undergoes two stages. One during the fasting when his stomach is empty and the other after evening meal when the stomach is full. If the patient complains of abdominal pain while fasting, it will point to the possibility of duodenal ulcer and if the pain occurs after Iftar, then gastric ulcer will be the suspected diagnosis.
The peptic ulcer pain is variable and it may not occur in some patients. Similarly, in most of the duodenal ulcer cases, as soon as mild pain starts, the patient eats something due to which the pain disappears and the disease remains undiagnosed. This undiagnosed ulcer may later surface with perforation of the ulcer and haematemesis (vomiting of blood) which has a high mortality.
In Ramadan, while fasting, the duodenal ulcer pain is more likely to surface and as there is no provision to relieve the pain with food, the patient may be forced to consult a physician who with the help of endoscopy can easily clinch the diagnosis. While examining the abdomen of a patient who is already fasting, a physician can easily palpate the tenderness as well as feel the oedema around the peptic ulcer region.
Ramadan fasting has a healing effect on peptic ulcers as it curbs smoking which is recognised as a precipitating factor for the peptic ulcer. It also has beneficial effects on inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, dyspepsia and gastritis.
Last, but not the least, imagine a person who has fasted for more or less 14-15 hours and is now ready to break his fast. His taste buds have taken good rest, so at Iftar, the food is going to taste more pleasant and enjoyable than ever before. This is yet another bounty of Ramadan. Allah’s Messenger Prophet Muhammad (saws) says: “There are two pleasures for the fasting person, one at the time of breaking his fast and the other at the time when he will meet his Lord, then he will be pleased because of his fasting.”