Tuesday, 16 June 2015


+ All You Should Know About The Holiest Month

By Rasheed Abubakar

Nigerian Muslims will on Thursday, June 18, 2015, join their brethren all over the world to commence the 1436 A.H (2015) Ramadan fasting, AL-FAHM investigations can authoritatively reveal.

This will be based on the sighting of the moon on Wednesday, June 1’s night, which is equivalent to 29 of Sha’ban, eight Islamic calendar. However, if the moon is not sighted, the month of Sha’ban will be 30 on Thursday, and Friday, June 19 marks the beginning of the fast in the blessed month of Ramadan.
Although, there is no official statement from the Sultan of Sokoto, who is the President of Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), the National Moon Sighting Committee (NMSC) confirmed June 18 as the probable date.
In an exclusive interview with AL-FAHM, a member of the committee, Imam Abdullahi Shuaib said: "Based on available date before the NMSC and astronomical calculation which will complement the Shari’ah based-method of moon sighting, the probable date insha Allah may be 18 June, 2015 subject to the announcement to be made by His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto." 

Sighting of moon is a general rule for commencement and termination of Ramadan fasting. According to the Qur’an, Almighty Allah says, “The month of Ramadan is the one in which the Qur’an was revealed as a guidance for humanity and clarification of that guidance and a standard. So whoever witnesses (shahida) the month among you, let him fast” (2:185).
Many Islamic scholars have clearly stated that in the above verse the word “month” actually refers to the crescent moon of the month and was called “the month” (al-shahr) due to everyone knowing of its arrival.
The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), clarified this further in the following Hadith, as narrated by Abu Hurayrah:
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) made a mention of the new moon and (in this connection) said: Observe fast when you see it (the new moon) and breakfast when you see it (the new moon of Shawwal), but when (the actual position of the moon is) concealed from you (on account of cloudy sky), then count thirty days.


Ramadan started in the month of Sha’aban (eight month of Islamic calendar) around 624 A.D, two years after Hijrah (the migration of Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Medina). According to Qur’an, chapter 2: 183, Allah (SWT) says fasting in the month of Ramadan is for believers alone. This was because Allah (SWT) used the month to celebrate the revelation of the Qur’an as cited in the above verse. Hence, fasting in the month of Ramadan is not meant for non-Muslims. Even when they try to observe it, probably to strengthen their relationship with Muslims, they’ll have no rewards. However, Islam has not prevented Muslims from relating with people of other religions, they are expected to be good and live in peace with them, especially in this blessed month.


The fast of Ramadan, according to the Qur’an, sunnah (the Prophetic ways of life) and consensus of all the scholars, it’s obligatory upon every sane, adult, healthy Muslim. Some people are, however, exempted. They are categorised into two, namely, those exempted for life and those that are exempted but must repay it. Those exempted for life are not going to pay back. All they need to do is to feed fasting Muslims, which is called Fidya in Arabic. This includes aged males or females and those who suffer illness that cannot be healed again. Those exempted but will pay back include travellers, pregnant and breastfeeding women and chronic sicklers. They will have to pay back the missed days. As for Muslims doing hard labour, it’s advisable for them to go on leave or vacation as there is no evidence of exemption for them.


In Islam, Friday (Yaomal il Jumuah in Arabic) is regarded as the best day of the week and Ramadan is the best month of Islamic calendar. In other words, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said it is a blessed month, in which, “The gates to paradise are opened and the gates of hellfire are locked, and the devils are chained. There is a night (during this month) which is better than a thousand months. Whoever is deprived of its good is really deprived (of something great).”


…Medically fit

Preparing for Ramadan goes beyond buying plenty of foodstuffs as most people do, even though it is necessary. Fasting in the month requires a lot and it was reported that early Muslims would start preparation six months ahead. The top on the list is the state of health of a fasting Muslim. He’s expected to go for medical check-up to know if he’s fit or not.

… Spiritually fit
The month of Ramadan requires high level of spirituality from Muslims, it’s important we prepare to engage in acts of worship, with the intention of moving close to Allah.
While preparing for Ramadan, fasting Muslims are to make ready items such as Qur’an (possibly the ones divided in parts), misbaha (rosary), jalabia (praying gown), praying mat that will aide their Ibadah (worship) and adhkar (remembrance) etc.


It is mandatory to start fast by making intention known. Without it, the fasting is null and void! The intention has to be made before fajr (dawn) and during every night of Ramadan. Saying out the intention is the common mistake people make but  it need not to be spoken, as it is in reality an act of the heart which does not involve the tongue. It will be fulfilled by one’s intention to fast out of obedience to Allah and for seeking His pleasure.


Sahur means early morning meal and iftar is the meal we take while breaking fast. They are technical words in the Islamic jurisprudence for commencement and termination of fast and it’s expected of every Muslim to abide by it even if it’s a sip of water, one must take something. There is the impression among non Muslims that fasting in Islam is not something serious or difficult, because it’s only the lunch meal that’s missing. While explaining the wisdom behind it, an erudite scholar, Shaykh Luqman Abdur Raheem, said, “It’s ordained by Allah and we must abide by it. We are not like those who invented lies into their doctrines after the demise of their leaders. In Islam, we don’t do innovation. But, the issue is when you’re thirsty during the day, you can’t take water; when you are hungry, you can’t eat even though you have the money. You can’t sleep with your wife until you terminate your fast at night and the essence of fasting is more than that. it’s taqwa (piety) that Allah wants.”

Reading the glorious Qur’an is the best act of devotion in Ramadan, said the Prophet (SAW). Our findings therefore have shown that the glorious Qur’an has 600 pages approximately. If you divide it on 30 days, that’s 20 pages a day. You might find it difficult to read 20 pages in a day but if you divide it on the five prayers a day, it gets easier; if you read four pages after every five daily prayers in Ramadan, then you’ll complete the Qur’an in 30 days. If you want to complete it twice, you read four additional pages after every prayer plus initial one before prayer. Therefore, make sure you don’t miss all your prayers and try as much as possible you get to Mosque at least 20 minutes before prayer and stay for another 20 minutes after prayer.

Nawafil (Nafilah, singular) are voluntary prayers but are essential for every fasting Muslim. The foremost during Ramadan is Tarawih and it starts on the very night in which the moon was sighted, because that night is also among the nights of Ramadan. Other superogatory prayers expected include solatul duha (prayer during sunrise), solatul Hajjah (prayer of need), among others. It is also important to note that any voluntary prayer after Ishai prayer during Ramadan is called Tarawih; but in months other than Ramadan it is called tahajjud or qiyamul lail because they are all observe in the night. The tarawih prayer is 11 raka’ats long according to the practice of Allah’s Messenger. It can be observed once or divided into two part of the night and should be observed with the recitation of long verses, chapters of the Qur’an. For those who can’t recite fluently, it is advisable to join the congregational prayer in their locality, where it will be observed with solemnity and full submissiveness.

Adhkar means remembrance and it’s an obligation for every Muslim to remember Allah during Ramadan and every other day. This is evident in the word of Allah, where He says, “...and remember your Lord much and glorify Him in the evening and in the early morning,” and “Those who remember Allah while standing, sitting, and lying on their sides...” (Q. 3:41, 191). It’s therefore expected of every Muslim to chant countless of adhkar during this month so as to seek Allah’s guidance, mercy, blessing protection and forgiveness. If Prophet Muhammad (SAW), whom Allah (SWT) has forgiven his sins, would do 70 istigfar (prayer of forgiveness) in a day, what stop us from doing more than that?

Attending sermons, especially tafsir-il-Qur’an (explanation of the Qur’an) is also another act a fasting Muslim should engage himself with. In doing this, he’ll not only be rewarded by Allah, he will also be enlightened about his religious injunctions. There are several centres where this takes place. 

The term, I’tikaf, according to the sharia (Islamic law), is an act of staying in seclusion in Mosque in which five prayers are held in congregation. Apart from having facilities like rest and bath rooms, it must be a mosque where solatul jumah (Friday prayer) is being established. The intension behind seclusion should be strictly for worship and becoming closer to Allah. A person, both male and female, doing i’tikaf should busy himself/herself with a lot of act of worship such as reading the Qur’an, remembrance of Allah, voluntary prayers among others. Acts like backbiting, gossiping and all vain and forbidden utterances should be avoided during I’tikaf. It’s however painful to see some places of I’tikaf becoming halls of discussion, story-telling, arguments and other vices. There is nothing wrong with visiting a person in I’tikaf, especially visits by members of his or her family. Several sayings of the Prophet (SAW) supported this but the main objective of seclusion is to witness Lailatul-qadr (Night of Majesty) in prayer and devotion. It ends immediately the new moon of Shawwal (tenth month of Islamic calendar) is sighted.

Allah has blessed the Muslims with Night of Majesty, the most virtuous of the year during Ramadan. It’s a night that is better than thousand months and any action therein, for instance, reciting the Qur’an, is better than acting for one thousand months which do not contain the night of qadr. Scholars hold different opinions as to the night which is the night of qadr but some say it’s 21, some say 23 and others say it’s between 25, 27, 29 night of Ramadan respectively. The most popular opinion which is based on the tradition of Prophet Muhammad is 27 night of Ramadan.  Despite different views, scholars unanimously agreed that the Night of Majesty falls within odd number, 21, 23, 25, 27 and 29.

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