Mumbai/Makkah/London/Washington: As the holy month of Ramadan knocks the doors, over 1.5 billion Muslims along the lenght and breadth of the world are urged to welcome the ensuing month with an immense sense of piety and to strictly follow the teachings of the Holy Qur'an ans Sunnah during while fasting.
The Muslims across the world are also urged to get ready to avail the manifold bounties of Almighty Allah during the holy month.
Ramadan is expected to begin either Wednesday or Thursday (June 17 or June 18), depending on the visibility of the crescent. The month begins in the entire world with a difference of a day or two based on sighting of moon in different parts.
Dr. Saleh Bin Abdullah Bin Humaid, Imam and Khateeb of the Grand Mosque in Makkah, in his Friday sermon ahead of Ramadan said the wise person is the one who does self-introspection and prepares for the life after death.
In his Friday sermon, Sheikh Bin Humaid said self-introspection is the approach of sincere and righteous worshipers.
He said the holy month of Ramadan is a treasure for the God-fearing. He said obeying Allah Almighty is an honor. Bin Humaid said Allah has compensated the short life with great rewards for good deeds during the holy month.
"During Ramadan there is a night that is more rewarding than praying a thousand months. Any one unable to avail of the bounties of this night is a loser", he said.
Dr. Bin Humaid said that during this blessed month the gates of heaven are opened, the gates of the hell-fire are closed and the satans are chained.
He said the degree of sincerity in welcoming this month is to combat the Satan and one's own whims and desires.
"A person must work hard in seeking reward from Allah", he said.
Among the preparations for Ramadan is sincere repentance, giving up sins and having a strong determination not to commit the sins again.
One should seek to do good, benefit from the seasons for good deeds and increase acts of worship including fasting, praying, giving alms, performing late night prayers, reciting the Holy Qur’an, supplicating and contacting and visiting relatives.
The Muslim must purify his heart by keeping away from anger, hatred, envy, arrogance and backbiting. Sheikh Bin Humaid regretted the unfortunate and seditious events in some regions and blamed deviant youth for them.
He said these youths are playing into the hands of foreign elements and tampering with the security and stability.
Dr. Abdulbari Awwadh Al-Thubaiti, Imam and Khatib of the Prophet’s Mosque, in his Friday sermone before Ramadan elaborated on the noble characteristics of the believers who follow the path of the pious ancestors based on the way shown in Allah’s Book and the Prophet’s Sunnah.
Al-Thubaiti said if the believer is afflicted with something good he thanks Allah and if he is afflicted with some harmful matter, he is patient and this is good for him. The Muslim earns a good characteristic by learning the Qur’an and teaching it as well as by seeking knowledge on the Shariah. He stressed on the necessity to seek knowledge and its role in the advancement of the Ummah.
Pregnant and feeding mothers can refrain from fasting but they have to cover up the lost days during their healthy period.
"The month is an ideal opportunity for people to relinquish their bad habits and cultivate healthy behavioral patterns", the Imam said.
Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic calendar. The term Ramadan literally means scorching in Arabic. It was established as a holy month for Muslims after the Qur'an was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in 610 AD in the Night of Power (Laylat al-Qadr).
Observance of Ramadan is mandated in the Qur'an, Surah 2, Ayah 185.
During the month of Ramadan, most Muslims fast from dawn to sunset with no food or water. Before sunrise many Muslims have the Suhur or predawn meal. At sunset families and friends gather for Iftar which is the meal eaten by Muslims to break the fast. Many Muslims begin the meal by eating dates as the Prophet (PBUH) used to do.
This ritual of fast is one of the five pillars of Islam, and requires that individuals abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and so on.
Charity is an important part of Ramadan. The fast emphasizes self-sacrifice and using the experience of hunger to grow in empathy with the hungry. During Ramadan, Muslim communities work together to raise money for the poor, donate clothes and food, and hold Iftar dinners for the less fortunate.
Many Muslims use Ramadan to read the entire Quran or read the Quran daily. Many communities divide the Quran into daily reading segments that conclude on Eid el-Fitr at the end of Ramadan.