Published On:27 July 2011
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

Understanding Ramazan / Eid

By Md. Hizbullah

Ramazan is the ninth month of the Islamic year, based on the lunar calendar. It is regarded as the holiest month in the Muslim belief, the month in which the Quran, according to tradition, was revealed to Prophet Mohammed. This month is of substantial importance, wherein fasting and other relating practices are observed. A Muslim is obliged to be at fast during this holy month. However, there are relaxations in certain cases like pregnant and nursing women, children younger than twelve, and women during their periods and of course the people with bad health. However, in such cases, people need to clear all the days missed during Ramazan in the following months.

The Muslims are not only supposed to fast but at the same time restrain themselves from anything that is not of good nature. And most importantly, a person needs to keep away from sex. The fasting days are observed with people refraining from eating, drinking, smoking or anything that satiates the hunger or thirst or anything that relieves him from it. This is accompanied by observing patience and controlling anger. Overall, a person undergoes a self-restraint and self-purification process.

As soon as the crescent is observed by most of the Hilal committees, a public announcement is made that the holy month of Ramazan commences from the next day. And so do the practices start, following the proclamation. The same night, people offer the prayers of “Tarawih” after Isha prayers. Tarawih is observed only in the month of Ramazan. These are prayed in pairs of two; and eight or twenty Raka’ahs are prayed in total. The purpose of the Tarawih, which takes place every night after Isha prayers during Ramazan, is that Muslims attempt to complete recitation of the Quran by reciting at least one Juz (parah) every night. But in some cases, usual recitation of surahs that people know takes place.

The prayer of Tarawih is followed by the normal way of living till the time of Sehri. It is the period before the break of dawn. A meal is enjoyed at this time till the time the Muazzin calls to the mosque (Azaan). Several dishes are enjoyed in this duration, but it is important to have something at Sehri or at least drink water, or else it wouldn’t count as a fast in religious terms, even if he starves throughout the day. After the fagir azaan (morning call)is heard, a Muslim is supposed to stop eating. Sehri is followed by the Salaha fagir (morning prayers).

During the whole day, a person is recommended to keep away from all evil things like deception, lies, anger and most importantly, sex. Usual prayers are observed during the day, and in most of the cases, people offer some additional prayers to get rewarded.
Dusk approaches, and Muslims get ready with their meals to break the fast, and mark the end of the first successful day. But it only takes place when the Azaan is heard (magrib azaan). This is the time of Iftar – the time when people enjoy meals to break their fast. The same practice is followed on other days as well.

The practices are repeated all the days to come as mentioned above. And after twenty days, any odd day in the last ten days of Ramazan may be Lilatul Quadr. This is the anniversary of the night Muslims believe the first verses of the Quran were revealed to the Prophet. It’s believed that this is the night when their fate in the following year is decided. It is also the anniversary of the night in which the Quran is believed to have been revealed in its entirety. This night is better than one thousand months. So, people offer prayers and invocations throughout the night, keeping awake throughout.

One more practice is followed by most of the Muslims called Itikaf. It’s a form of worship, where a person stays inside a mosque with real good intentions to get rewarded, and washed of all his sins. This is done in the last ten days of Ramazan. The person is required to stay at least three days in the mosque. He’s assisted with food and all other necessities by any of his family members or relatives. It is a more self-restraint and self-purification process, being isolated from the rest of the world, and intimate with the Almighty.

The last Friday, ordinarily known as Jumait-ul-vida, is the day when people bid farewell to the month of Ramazan by reciting various invocations and naats in the mosques. In a way, people are sad about the departure of this holy month.

Eid-ul-fitr: This marks the beginning of the month of shawal and the end of Ramazan. The most auspicious festival Muslims keep waiting for. The meaning of the festival is happiness which is seen in every face. No fast is observed on this day, and special dishes are prepared on this occasion. The preparations are under process all through the previous week and most importantly on the day prior to this day. People are found with clean and fresh dresses on this occasion, and special Eid prayers, a prayer of two Raka’ahs, are offered in Eid Gaah (a vast field meant for congregations) or mosques.

A special tradition of Eidi is seen on this day, where small kids demand allowances and are provided without hesitations. The kids keep waiting for this day. On this day, they receive money from almost every family member and other relatives. After the Eid prayers, a heavy and delicious meal is enjoyed by people, and Sadqa-i-fitr is practiced, which includes giving alms to the poor.

Shawwal: The month following Ramazan is called Shawwal. It is recommended to keep fast for six days of shawal, starting from the day after Eid. However, keeping fast on Eid is strictly prohibited.

[Md. Hizbullah is a Delhi-based Journalist. He is also actively associated with ‘People for Humanity’. He can be reached at hizbullah.journalist@gmail.com]

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on July 27, 2011. Filed under , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

By Indian Muslim Observer on July 27, 2011. Filed under , , , . Follow any responses to the RSS 2.0. Leave a response

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