Praise belongs to Allah, we praise him, and we ask him for guidance and forgiveness. And we seek protection in Allah from the malice of our own souls, and the evil of our actions. Whom Allah guides, no one can lead him astray, and whom He makes astray, no one can lead him back to the right path. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship but Allah, by himself, no associate to him, and I bear witness that Muhammad is his slave and Messenger.
RAMADAN: AN INTRODUCTION
Brother Thierry Lamarre-Bey
New York Republic
“O you who believed! Fear Allah as He should be feared, and die not except as Moslims.”
[Suratu Aali ‘Imran 3:102] 
“O you who believed! Fear Allah, and (always) say a word directed to the truth.  “That He may make your conduct whole and sound, and forgive you your sins: he that obeys Allah and His Messenger have then attained the highest Achievement.”
[Suratu AlAhzaab – 33: 70 71]
Giving praises to Allah the great God of the universe as I rise to my highest heights, extending honors to the divine prophets Buddha, Confucius, Jesus, Mohammad, and our last prophet who has brought us Nationality and Birthright Noble Drew Ali. May peace be upon them all. I want to extend honors to the officials and Staff in Baltimore MD., beginning with our National Grand Sheik Joel Bratton-Bey, our Sheiks and Sheikesses, Deputy Sheiks as well as our Deputy Sheikesses.
To everyone who reads this post I greet you with the best greeting of Asalamu alaykum wa Rahmah-tu Allahi wa barakatu. (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon you)
Upon the upcoming crescent moon will begin the blessed month of Ramadan. Thus, I share with you while exercising my five senses on the topic of Ramadan, to bring some understanding and shed some insight on this holy month. We ask Allah the Mighty and Majestic to accept our good intentions and direct us to the straight path, the path of those on whom Allah has bestowed grace, mercy, and not of those whom have gone astray.
From Surah (2) Al-Baqarah (The Cow), ayats (verses) 183-187 of the Holy Qu’ran we read:
183. O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous.
184. Fasting is for a limited number of days. So whoever among you is ill or on a journey during them, then an equal number of days are to be made up. And upon those who are able to fast, but with hardship, a substitute is feeding a poor person each day. And whoever gives more, it is better for him. But to fast is best for you, if you only knew.
185. The month of Ramadan is that in which was revealed the Koran, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights the new moon of the month, let him fast in it; and whoever is ill or on a journey, then make it up with an equal number of other days. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and wants for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that to which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful.
186. And when My servants ask you, O Muhammad, concerning Me, indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me by obedience and believe in Me that they may be rightly guided.
187. It has been made permissible for you the night preceding fasting to go to your wives. They are clothing for you and you are clothing for them. Allah knows that you used to deceive yourselves, so He accepted your repentance and forgave you. So now, have relations with them and seek that which Allah has decreed for you. And eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct to you from the black thread of night. Then complete the fast until the sunset. And do not have relations with them as long as you are staying for worship in the mosques. These are the limits set by Allah, so do not approach them. Thus does Allah make clear His ordinances to the people that they may become righteous.”
Fasting the month of Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam, i.e.:
- Shahada, the faith aspect, the testimony that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that the Prophet Mohammad is his Prophet and Messenger.
- Salah, the five daily prayers at their prescribed times.
- Zaka, the giving of charity to the poor.
- Saum, the fast in the month of Ramadan, our column topic for this month, and
- Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca with the performance of all its acts in the Kabba Saudi Arabia.
The Fast of Ramadan is obligatory upon every sane, healthy Moslim who has reached the age of puberty and is not traveling during the month of Ramadan. As for women, exemption from fasting is afforded during menstruation, post-natal bleeding and while breastfeeding.
The prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him) is reported to have said “Whoever observes the fast during the month of Ramadan, while believing in Allah and seeking his reward will have his past sins forgiven.”
Allah the Mighty and Majestic says in the Koran interpretation, “O’ you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you so that you may achieve Taqwaa.” The word “Taqwaa” means to be upright, centered, righteous, full of piety for your fellow man and, most importantly, to act knowing that Allah sees all and must be feared.
In order for the fast to be valid and accepted by Allah the Mighty and Majestic, there are two essential elements, the first of which is Intention. One must have the intention of fasting
- upon the arrival of Ramadan, and
- before the Fajr prayer for the entire month, calculated by the 29 – 30 day cycle of the moon . In this regard, the prophet Mohammad (may peace be upon him) said “Whenever you sight the new moon of the month of Ramadan observe the fast, and when you sight it the new moon of Shawwal break it, and if the sky is cloudy for you, then observe the fast for thirty days.
The second main element is Abstinence, that is to abstain from all actions which will nullify your fast from Fajr (dawn) to Magrib (sunset). Let me take this time to explain that Fajr is the prayer before dawn as earlier mentioned and is followed by the Dhur prayer (the time that the sun has passed its midway point usually around 1P.M.) after which comes the Asr prayer (in the late afternoon) which precedes the glorious moment of the Maghrib prayer after which we break our fast (known as Iftar) as the sun sets well before the Isha prayer (the sky being completely absent of sun light).
During our Fast, we abstain from these actions:
- Intentional eating or drinking. Please note, if due to forgetfulness, as happens to the best of us, or by way of coercion (there being no compulsion in Islam) and one believes truly in Allah while committing the coerced act, then there is no sin on him/her, because of the Shahada in his heart. Truly this is the beauty of Islam as you have to Proclaim in order for it to be (f)actual.
- Intentional sexual relations with your spouse. Such activity invalidates the fast with the atonement for the couple being a fast of 60 continuous days or the feeding of sixty poor people. We are talking a hefty meal of $9 – $15 per person by contemporary standards. So we can all see it is best that we fast out of the obedience to Allah seeking His pleasure.
- Intentional Vomiting also invalidates the fast. Again, if one is overcome by the urge and does so unintentionally then one should continue the fast.
- Women who are menstruating or experiencing post-natal bleeding are exempted from the fast and are advised to make up the days missed at a later time.
During the time of fasting there are actions that are permissible and will not nullify the fast. These include:
- The tasting of food for flavor when one is cooking is permitted to simply taste with the tip of your tongue not a spoonful. Note, if one accidentally eats and swallows then remembers he/she is fasting then he/she should
- immediately spit it out seeking forgiveness from Allah and then
- continue the fast .
- one may shower,
- rinse your mouth with water applying eye drops,
- using suppositories as necessitated by an enema or a douche, etc.
- Kissing and embracing your spouse (newly-weds should proceed with caution as self control may be a problem).
EXCEPTIONS AND EXEMPTIONS
There are certain instances when one may be exempted from observing the fast of Ramadan if he/she chooses, yet the days missed must be made up of other days in other months but best in the month of Shawaal after Ramadan. These consist of:
- Those who are sick or on a journey.
- Those suffering from a permanent illness or due to old age
- These must feed one poor person for each day that they have missed.
- Pregnant and nursing mothers who fear that the fast may weaken themselves or the child.
- once Ramadan has completed its cycle they have the choice of fasting or feeding a poor person for the days missed.
RECOMMENDATIONS AND MORE
It is highly recommended, during the Month of Ramadan, to;
- wake up well before dawn (so as not to rush to eat) and take a meal well prior to the Fajr prayer, and
- rush to break the fast, i.e. do not delay the time of the breaking of the fast. One should use dates and water to break the fast, earning rewards by supplicating at the time of breaking the fast, as the prophet Mohammad (may peace be upon him) used to say, Dhahabadh-dhama-oo wabtallatil-‘urooqu, wa thabatal-ajru Insha’Allah. Translated as, “The thirst has gone, the veins are moistened and Allah willing, the reward is confirmed.” It is particularly important for Moslims to concentrate on our du’a and dhikr, especially during the end of our fasts.
The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said; “Three supplications will not be rejected by Allah the Mighty and Majestic,
- the supplication of the parent for his child,
- the supplication of the one who is fasting, and
- the supplication of the traveler.”
During the month of Ramadan it is highly recommended to give of charity as it is stated that the prophet Mohammad was more generous than the “cool breeze in the dessert” during the month of Ramadan.
Upon sighting the new crescent of the month of Ramadan one should say:
Transliteration: Allahumma ahillahu alayna bil-amni wal-iman was-salaamati wal-islam. Rabbi wa rabbuka Allah
Translation: Oh Allah, make it a start full of peace and faith, safety and Islam. My lord and your lord is Allah
During this blessed Month we should abstain from losing our temper. When someone tries to revile you while on your fast one should say:
Transliteration: Innee saaaim, innee saaaim
Translation: I am fasting, I am fasting
It is mentioned that this either should be said loud so the aggressor can hear and hopefully stop, or it should be said in silence as a self-reminder. But the first opinion is stronger.
Upon encountering the night of Al-Qadr, the Night of Decree, one should say:
transliteration: Allahumma innaka afuwwun tuhibbu al-afwa faafu anni
Translation: Oh Allah you are forgiving, and you love forgiveness, so forgive me.
Allah describes in the Koran in Surah 97 Al-Qadr
- Indeed, We sent the Koran down during the Night of Decree.
- And what can make you know what is the Night of Decree?
- The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months.
- The angels and the Spirit descend therein by permission of their Lord for every matter.
- Peace it is until the emergence of dawn.
Moslims observe this occasion with study, devotional readings, and prayer, as the night’s holiness is believed to make it a very good time for prayers to be answered. The last ten days of Ramadan are considered a particularly spiritually important time, as any of the days may be Laylat Al Qadr the Night of Decree, and thus worshippers should strive to be especially observant during this period.
Also Ramadan is the month in which the Koran was revealed to the Prophet Mohammad (may peace be upon him) so in this month he recited the Koran and listened to the Koran as the angel Gibra-El would descend and recite the Koran to our beloved Prophet Mohammad. We should study the Koran in this month as our Prophet Noble Drew Ali cites the Holy Koran as the source from whence is derived “Our Authority”. Some Moslims participate in a spiritual retreat called itikaf (also spelled i’tikaaf) where they spend the last ten days of Ramadan in the mosque reading the Quran and praying. It is well to note, the Night of Decree happens on the odd nights 21, 23, 25, 27, 29. With that I leave you how I found you in a state of peace and tranquility.
We ask Allah the Mighty and Majestic to strengthen us in Ramadan, accept our fasts, and reward us with His forgiveness and the highest place in Paradise. Selah.
Forever your Brother Thierry Lamarre-Bey