Monday, October 23, 2006

Happy Idul Fitri 1427H

As the holy month of Ramadhan ends, it is the time for devout Moslems to celebrate the completion of contemplating God’s will for a month, a time when there was an opportunity to develop our compassion for the less fortunate ones and to build the self discipline in becoming better persons.

On behalf of my self, I would like to take this opportunity to pass on special wishes to my family and Moslems friends, a blessed Idul Fitri and may peace and happiness be with all of you, always.

Wishing you a joyous, blessed, and safe Idul Fitri 1427H.

Minal Aidin Wal Faidzin.

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Saturday, October 21, 2006

Ramadhan Thoughts

The most important consideration in undertaking a fast, as in any act of devotion, is to seek nearness to God, and seek His pleasure and Forgiveness. This itself generates a spirit of piety in man.

Creating the conditions of hunger and thirst for oneself, simply in obedience to the Divine order, measures the faith of man in God and helps strengthen it by putting it to a severe test.

enhances through creation of artificial non-availability, the value of the bounties of God which man often takes for granted. This inculcates in man a spirit of gratitude and consequent devotion to God. Nothing else can bring home to a man the worth of God's bounties than a glass of water and a square meal after a day long fast. This also reminds man that the real joy in enjoying God's bounties lies in moderation and restraint and not in over indulging.

makes us deeply conscious of the pangs of hunger and discomfort suffered by the less fortunate among our brethren. They have to put up with difficult conditions all through their lives. It thus kindles in man a spirit of sacrifice leading to change towards his suffering brethren.

gives man an unfailing training in endurance, a spirit of acceptance. This could well prepare him to put up with the unchangeable situations in life in the same spirit of resignation as cultivated during the fasts.

develops courage, fortitude, and a fighting spirit in man to surmount the heavy odds in life with a cool and tranquil mind. It sharpens his power of concentration to overcome obstacles through a vigorous exercise all throughout the month, leading to a steeling of his will power and resolve, that could help him in challenging situations in life. It is seen than many an undesirable habit which is difficult to give up, is more easily given up during the days of fasting.

teaches man reliance on God, and confidence in Him. Just as the vigorous state of fasting for a whole month is undertaken with His assistance, bitter situations in life could also be surmounted with His help.

develops a spirit of patience in man, with the realization that the days of fasting, though seemingly unending, do have a successful and happy end. Thus is life. All bitter situations pass, and come to an end.

is meant to conquer anger and develop self-control in man. The vigorous effort required to put up with hunger and thirst can well be extended to conquer other infirmities of human character that lead man into error and sin.

inculcates a spirit of tolerance in man to face unpleasant conditions and situations without making his fellow beings the victim of his wrath. Many people, when facing discomfort and deprivation, become irritable and annoyed. This anger is then vented on those around them. Fasting helps a man become more tolerant despite his own discomfort.

mellows a man and enhances his character, giving a jolt to the human instincts of pride, haughtiness, jealousy and ambition. Fasting softens his character, and clears his heart and mind of many negative emotions.

exposes the weakness of man in the event of his being deprived of two basic bounties of God; food and drink. It infuses into him a spirit of weakness and submission, generating humility and prayer in an otherwise arrogant being.

breathes the spirit of forgiveness in man towards others, as he seeks God's forgiveness through fasts and prayers.

gives lessons in punctuality. Man has to adhere to a strict schedule of time in the observance of the fast.

could affect the economy of the individual as he is less wasteful on food and meals.

demands a rigid sense of discipline, mental, spiritual and physical. This forms characteristics which are an essential ingredient to success in life.

creates spiritual reformation in man, infusing him with a spirit of enthusiasm and zest to change and become a better human being in the eyes of God.
This is an excellent opportunity, given to believers each year, to change themselves and consequently their destinies.

On the physical side, fasting cleanses the human system of the accumulated impurities of uninterrupted eating throughout the year. It prepares the body to face diseases or conditions of scarcity. The rigid abstinence of a fast regulates man's health, sharpens his intellect and enhances the qualities of his heart.

Adapted from an article by Marhum Ahmed Sheriff Dewji, published in the Light Magazine)

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Saturday, October 14, 2006

Ramadhan In Indonesia

To understand the significance of Lebaran, an understanding about the fasting month of is important. During the month of , Muslims must refrain from eating, drinking, smoking, marital relations or getting angry during the daylight hours. In addition, those fasting are supposed to refrain from bad habits - lying, getting angry, using bad language as well as to be more diligent in prayer and give to charities. It is believe that fasting heightens spirituality and develops self-control.

The fast begins in the morning just before sunrise, at Imsak, and is broken at maghrib which falls at sunset. Fasting during the month of is one of the five pillars of Islam and an obligation for devout Muslims.

Those who are expected to fast include: adults (defined as those who have reached the age of puberty) and those who are sane. Those who are not expected to fast include: children, women having their period, travelers, the sick, those with long-term illnesses, pregnant or breastfeeding women and the mentally ill.

The faithful who fast awaken early in the morning to have a meal before subuh. In order to awaken the faithful, the call to prayer is sounded from neighborhood mosques. In addition, groups of young boys walk around neighborhoods beating on drums and other noise makers to awaken the faithful.

The breaking of the fast at sunset is a very social occasion for which special foods are prepared for gatherings with family or friends. Upon hearing the sound of the bedug drum on the television or the call to prayer from the neighborhood mosque at sunset, the faithful know it's time to break their fast, or buka puasa. This is usually done with a very sweet drink and sweet snacks. Maghrib prayers are made before a full meal is served. Taraweh prayers are held in neighborhood mosques and at gatherings every evening at about 7:30 p.m. These prayers are not compulsory, but they are enjoyed by many.

The schedule for Imsak and Maghrib is posted in major newspapers and on the television throughout Indonesia, as well as published in handouts by major religious organizations.

While it is expected that people will keep to their normal activities during the fast, needless to say the lack of liquid and food during the day and the unusual sleep and meal schedule soon take their toll. After the first week you may see that sleep and food deprivation cause those fasting to have reduced energy levels as well as finding it more difficult to concentrate on tasks.

Why does Islam oblige its followers to fast during each year?

- To develop compassion for the poor and needy who feel hungry every day.
- As a spiritually and physically cleansing experience. Just as in other world
religions, fasting is seen as an opportunity to separate yourself from the things
of this world and to concentrate on your relationship with God.
- To become closer to God by contemplating his will in your life.
- To build self-discipline and to become a better person.

Taken From Expat Info

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