'Crazy' Prices Spoil Jordan Ramadan
IslamOnline.net & News Agencies
AMMAN Hefty prices of foodstuffs and other essential
products are casting a pall on the Jordanians' joy of
Ramadan, leaving many cash-strapped people scrambling
to cover expenses during the holy fasting month.
"I have five children and had to borrow money to cope
with a sudden jump in food prices during Ramadan,"
Salem Saeed, a school teacher, told Agence
"I do not know what I will do when `Eid (the feast
marking the end of Ramadan) comes."
Prices of dairy, poultry and other essential products
have shot up between seven and 30 percent in Jordan
This has left many low-and middle-income Jordanians
unable to meet the needs of their families during the
dawn-to-dusk fasting month.
"Greedy merchants have increased the prices without a
mercy," said Saeed.
"I love the holy month, but they have spoiled our
Issa Salem, a public servant, blamed both merchants
and the government for the "crazy" prices.
"Prices and living expenses have drastically risen
because a lot of merchants exploited the high demand
on food during Ramadan and the government does not
monitor them," Salem said angrily.
But Haidar Murad, who heads the Amman Chamber of
Commerce, said that the merchants were not to blame
for the soaring prices.
"Honestly, I have to say that prices increased in
Ramadan because they have surged internationally, and
local merchants should not be blamed for all of this,"
The problem has prompted King Abdullah II to ask the
government to clamp down on food price rises.
Last week, Prime Minister Maroud Bakhit urged
producers to set up "public markets" to sell directly
to consumers at wholesale prices to help reduce the
But this never helped meet the people's expectations.
"The high prices have killed us," said grocer Abu
Hatem as he talked to an old woman who wanted to buy a
small container of yoghurt, whose price has more than
doubled in the past 10 days.
"I am afraid that people might stop buying from my
shop at all because of such prices," he said.
Prices have already skyrocketed during Ramadan in
several Muslim countries including Qatar, Egypt and
In Bangladesh, the government was selling rice at 20
percent reduced prices.
Ramadan Fast Colors Spain's La Liga
By Al-Amin Andalusi, IOL Correspondent
BARCELONA Muslim stars in giant teams at the Spanish
League (La Liga) are the talk of the city, but this
time not because of their breathtaking performance but
rather their religion.
Spanish dailies have for days been splashing headlines
about the holy fasting month of Ramadan in Spanish
FC Barcelona's fans are wondering if their favorite
players Yaya Toure, Eric Abidal and Lilian Thuram are
fasting or not.
The Muslim footballers are in a real dilemma after the
team's doctors ruled out in press statements allowing
the trio to fast during match days.
During Ramadan, adult Muslims, save the sick and those
traveling, abstain during daylight hours from food,
drink, smoking and sex.
After moving from France's Monaco for 10 million
euros, talented midfielder Toure made it clear that
practicing Islam, including fasting, does not affect
his successful soccer career.
He was named by Eurosport in 2005 as one of the most
promising young players in the world.
Compatriot defenders Abidal and Thuram are also
playing for the 2006-07 runner-up and a twice winner
of the UEFA Champions League.
Abidal, a former Lyon player who signed last season a
four-year contract for FC Barcelona for 15 million
euros, is known for being an observant Muslim.
He has been photographed many times carrying a copy of
the Noble Qur'an at his training kits.
The league's last season winner Real Madrid was
adamant to let its Muslim midfielder and the backbone
of the royal team Mammadou Diarra fast during Ramadan.
But both sides have finally reached an agreement
preventing Diarra from fasting only in match days.
Frederick Kanoute, the striker of Seville FC, the
2006-07 league's third and the holder of last season's
cup championship, has ridiculed suggestions that
fasting might affect his performance.
"Those who know Islam understand that fasting empowers
and does not weaken the Muslim."
Kanoute proved his point last season after being
crowned the league's top scorer with 20 goals,
outperforming football legends such as Brazilian
This has convinced his club not to pressure him on his
religious beliefs, according to the ABC daily.
Kanoute, a practicing Muslim who regularly performs
his prayers even in the locker room, refused last
season to wear a jersey advertising for an internet
gambling site, because gambling is forbidden in Islam.
His team had to give him a brand-free jersey until he
accepted wearing the sponsored jersey in return for
money to an Islamic charity.
Ramadan Feeds Million Worldwide
By Emdad Rahman, IOL Correspondent
LONDON Britain's largest Islamic charity is
capitalizing on the spirit of sharing in the Muslim
holy fasting month of Ramadan to drum up support for
its campaign to feed a million hungry people around
"Ramadan is a time for peace, prayers and prosperity,"
Islamic Relief UK Manager Jehangir Malik told
"A month of caring and sharing where diverse
communities come together and stand side by side in
solidarity to help the less privileged in the
developing world," he added.
"This Ramadan help us to feed a million."
IR is urging everyone to "be an answer to a million
prayers" by spreading the joy of sharing food and
water with those less fortunate and helping to feed 1
million people in over 20 countries this Ramadan.
During a celebratory launch event at the London Muslim
Centre in Whitechapel, east London, free mineral water
and succulent dates were distributed to the fasting
and non fasting public.
"This initiative by Islamic Relief highlights the
spirit of sharing that Ramadan promotes," said Dilowar
Hussain Khan, Director of the East London Mosque.
Islamic Relief works to help the poorest and neediest
people around the world regardless of race, gender, or
Its projects ranges from emergency relief to long-term
development and focus on key areas such as water and
sanitation, health and nutrition and orphan
Adnan Messaoui who was attending the event said
fasting from dawn till dusk allows Muslims to share
feelings with "over a billion of the worlds
population that are guaranteed to close their eyes at
night on an empty stomach."
"It is this empathy that drives Muslims to donate 3
times more than the average UK donor," he told IOL.
Britain is home to nearly two million Muslims.
"Im very happy with this event. This promotion will
go to show how bighearted Muslims are," Ameen Khalileh
"I would prefer to draw a curtain over good deeds, but
the negativity surrounding Muslims is so intense we
should go all out to promote our goodness."
Guests at the high-profile event include
representatives of various faith/ethnic groups and
members of the British establishment.
"I am impressed by the way a charity that is
representing Muslims is reaching out to the local and
global community," said Sandra Harding, an events
manager from Manchester.
"Ramadan is a month where a lot of non-Muslims also
take an interest in the Islamic faith and the fact
that these initiatives are taking place can only help
to foster community understanding and greater
Ramadan: Striving for God Consciousness
9/17/2007 - Religious - Article Ref: IC0510-2816
Number of comments: 9
By: Dr. Louay M. Safi
Ramadan is the month of fasting for Muslims the world
over. Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, and
sexual intercourse from dawn to dusk for the duration
of Ramadan. For some, fasting may appear as a form of
deprivation and of bodily exertion. On one level,
abstaining from sensual needs and pleasures is indeed
a physical experience. But those who stop at the
physical aspects of fasting miss the essence of
Ramadan and its purpose.
Fasting the month of Ramadan is one of the five
pillars of Islam. These are the foundation upon which
the entire structure of Islam is built. These consist
of the declaration of faith, prayer, fasting Ramadan,
paying of Zakah [the annual charity payment], and
performing the pilgrimage to Makkah, known as hajj.
Three of the five pilars of Islam are rituals, that
is, prescribed religious acts whose rationale is not
immediately available for understanding. These are
prayer, fasting, and hajj. Muslims are required to do
them because they are part of their religious duties,
that is, they are part of their covenant with God.
As a ritual, fasting is a symbolic act whose meaning
becomes gradually apparent through experience. The
meaning embodied in a ritual is always unveiled when
one immerses himself or herself in the act itself.
This does not mean that fasting is not open to
intellectual delineation, but rather any intellectual
delineation either presupposes or predicts a meaning
that can best become apparent through performing the
symbolic act itself.
The essence of fasting Ramadan and its goal is summed
in the Qur'an in one word: taqwa. "O you who believe!
Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to
those before you, that you may attain taqwa." (Qur'an
But what is taqwa? And how does it relate to the
physical act of fasting?
Taqwa is a recurring theme in the Qur'an and a
paramount Qur'anic value. Taqwa is both an attitude
and a process. It is the proper attitude of the human
toward the divine that denotes love, devotion, and
fear. Love to the source of good and beauty that make
life worth living; devotion to God's boundless wisdom
and majesty; and fear of misunderstanding the divine
intent or failing in maintaining the appropriate
posture and relationship.
The attitude of taqwa cannot and does not stay in the
confines of the human spirit, but is ultimately
revealed in expression and action. The attitude of
taqwa is ultimately revealed in, and in turn reveals,
the true character it nurtures: the commitment to the
sublime values stressed by divine revelations of
courage, generosity, compassion, honesty,
steadfastness, and cooperation in pursuing what is
right and true.
Taqwa is equally the process by which the believers
internalize the sublime values of revelation and
develop their character. Thus the Qur'an reminds the
believers that they should not reduce religious
practices to a set of blind rituals, of religiously
ordained procedures performed at the level of physical
movement, and that they should always be mindful that
religious practices, like praying and fasting,
ultimately aim at bringing about moral and spiritual
uplifting: "It is not righteousness that you turn your
faces towards East or West: But it is righteousness to
believe in God and the Last day, and the Angels, the
Book, and the Messengers; to give out of the things
you hold dear to your kin, the orphans, the needy, the
wayfarer, the one who asks, and to free the slave. And
to be steadfast in prayer and to give for charity. To
fulfill the covenants you have made, and to be firm
and patient in times of pain, adversity, and panic.
Such are the people of truth, and such are the
God-conscious." (Qur'an 2:177)
As Ramadan helps us to develop our moral discipline,
it also reminds us of the plight of those who live in
constant hunger and deprivation. We are reminded time
and again by the revealed book that religiosity is
meaningless and pointless if it does not lead people
to care and share: "Have you seen one who belies
judgment; it is the one who repulses the orphan, and
does not insist on feeding the needy. So woe to those
who pray but are neglectful of their prayers. Those
who are guilty of duplicity and refuse to provide for
the ones in need." (Qur'an 107:1-7)
Fasting Ramadan, like other religious practices in
Islam, is an occasion for pursuing moral excellence
that can also be translated into excellence in social
organization and interaction. In a tradition that was
reported in the books of Bukhari and Muslim, the
Prophet was once asked: "O messenger of God! who is
the most honored of people? He said: the one who has
most taqwa. They said: this is not what we are asking
about.... He said: ... the best of them prior to Islam
is the best of them in Islam if they comprehend (the
It is not difficult to see that the Prophet's
companions did not have immediate access to the
meaning of taqwq, as many Muslims today still don't.
When they did not accept his first statement as an
answer, the Prophet gave them an explanation of what
he meant when he responded to their question about
"the most honored of people." In responding with the
question, the Prophet was reiterated the meaning
provided by the Qur'an: "Verily the most honored of
you in the sight of God is the most righteous
(mutaqi)." (Qu'an 49:13) The Prophet's statement
underscores the fact that taqwa as a moral and
spiritual quality is significant in the human world
insofar as it leads people to act with compassion and
respect toward others.
Nothing does empower a community more than the
development of the moral character of its members. By
embodying the moral values of revelation, people can
have a higher social life, one that is based on mutual
respect and help, as it is based on honest and fair
dealings, and a sense of duty that encourages people
to observe the principles of right and justice as they
pursue their varying and competing interests. The
theme that moral life based on the notion of taqwa
leads to societal strength and prosperity is an oft
repeated theme in the Qur'an: "Whoever has taqwa of
God, He prepares a way out for them, and He provides
them from sources they never could imagine." (Qur'an
65:2-3) And again: "Verily the earth is God's to give
as a heritage to such of His servants as He pleases;
and the end is best for the God-conscious." (7:128)
Fasting is not simply a time during which people
deprive themselves from physical pleasures, but is an
occasion to exercise moral restrain and experience
spiritual growth. Ramadan is a time of remembrance of
God and renewal of commitment to the high and noble
values he revealed to mankind. And nothing would give
us the sense of spiritual fulfillment than a state of
taqwq, of God-consciousness, that Ramadan helps us to
Dr. Louay M. Safi serves as the executive director of
ISNA Leadership Development Center, an Indiana based
organization dedicated to enhancing leadership
awareness and skills among American Muslim leaders,
and a founding board member of the Center for the
Study of Islam and Democracy. He writes and lectures
on issues relating to Islam, American Muslims,
democracy, human rights, leadership, and world peace.
His commentaries are available at his Blog:
Muslims concentrate on faith
September 17, 2007
By Altaf Ali
As the Muslim communities in South Florida and all
over the world prepare mentally and spiritually for
the sacred month of Ramadan, we are reminded of our
obligation and responsibilities toward humanity.
As we prepare for Ramadan, American Muslims are faced
with two adversities: the devastating memories of the
Sept. 11 attack on our country and the recent
statements of Osama bin Laden. Our hearts are pained
and our minds are hampered by this. The appeals of
Osama are contrary to the true tenets of Islam and
serves as a callous reminder of extremism.
Ramadan is a special time of the year. Muslims
concentrate on their faith and spend less time on
concerns of their daily routines and focus on fasting,
prayer and charity. While fasting, Muslims abstain
from eating, drinking and conjugal relations during
the daylight hours. During Ramadan, Muslims will
frequent Islamic centers to break the fast and take
part in extra prayers.
The prophetMuhammad was a charitable person, but he
was most generous during the month of Ramadan. In the
Quran we are told, "O you who believe, Fasting is
prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before
you, that you may (learn) self-restraint."
During this special month, Muslims take time to pray
for their families, friends, those less fortunate,
those who are suffering and all of humanity. One of
the main benefits of Ramadan is an increased
compassion for those in need of the necessities of
life, a sense of self-purification and reflection and
a renewed focus on spirituality. Muslims also
appreciate the feeling of togetherness shared by
family and friends throughout the month. Perhaps the
greatest practical benefit is the yearly lesson in
self-restraint and discipline that can carry forward
to other aspects of a Muslim's life, such as work and
Some mosques will open their facility to the entire
community, offering people of other faiths an
introduction to Islamic culture. The free event
features display of Islamic art, books and samples of
food from around the Muslim world and is designed to
help people of all faiths gain a better understanding
of the positive role Islam plays in American society.
I encourage everyone to join us in this auspicious
This year, a prominent national Islamic civil rights
and advocacy group and two organizations representing
American Muslim physicians kick off Ramadan with an
anti-smoking initiative by encouraging American
Muslims to use the discipline acquired during the
upcoming Ramadan fast to quit smoking. I ask my fellow
Americans to join this initiative.
As American Muslims, we pray and we ask you to pray
for us to overcome the adversities facing us during
this blessed month of Ramadan; we would be grateful
and indebted to you. Let us stand shoulder to shoulder
as Americans to repel the evils in the world and work
together for peace, harmony and prosperity. Happy Rosh
Hashanah to my Jewish friends.
Altaf Ali is executive director of Council on
Copyright © 2007, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Observing Ramadan helps parents instill Muslim culture
Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 09/13/07
BY SAMETTA M.
Story Chat Post Comment
HOLMDEL For Lubna Malik and her family, observing
Ramadan means using focus and self-discipline to
improve themselves and their lives.
Ramadan is the holiest month in the Muslim calendar;
it is spent fasting from dawn to dusk. Followers
believe that the Qur'an was sent down to the Earth
during this month. Special nightly prayers called
Tarawih are held, and at least 1/30th of the Qur'an is
recited each night, so that by the end of the month,
the entire Qur'an has been read.
The observance of Ramadan began Wednesday night and
ends on Oct. 13.
"Fasting for us is more like renewing our connection
with God and increasing our faith and trying to bring
our lives back to the course that it should be running
instead of running to all the worldly causes," said
Malik, a longtime resident of Holmdel who is
originally from Karachi, Pakistan.
Malik, a teacher at a Muslim school, lives in her
Takolusa Drive home with her husband of 19 years,
Naeem, and two children, daughter Najia, 15, and son
Malik said the observation of Ramadan is significant
because it allows her and her husband to instill the
Muslim culture into their American-born children.
"I want my kids to understand what Ramadan is all
about," she said. "I hope they will become good
Muslims and not just think of their religion as
something that they do on Fridays or at Ramadan or at
Malik said the family tries to congregate as much as
possible with other Muslims in the community so that
the children can see that many other people are
fasting and that they're not alone.
"What they have to learn from it is that fasting
teaches you a lot of things," she said. "Fasting
doesn't mean just staying away from food, but you fast
with the whole being so you keep away from sin and get
closer to God."
During the holy month, Malik said, the lessons of
moderation and self-control are stressed to their
"It teaches you how to control your desires that you
might otherwise give in to," she said. "It teaches you
to be grateful for whatever you have, because you
experience what it feels like to be hungry all day."
During nightly prayers, Lubna Malik said her husband
visits the mosque while she and the children pray at
home. She said she reads the Qur'an with the children,
with translation, and a large amount of time is spent
on the subject of self-improvement.
"I want them to learn how to focus on the right thing
not for the reason of just being looked at as good
people, but from the point of view that it will please
God and their lives will eventually be easier."
A freshman at Holmdel High School, Najia Malik said
she appreciates the month of Ramadan because it
teaches her how to help those who are less fortunate.
"It helps us to have the habits of doing good," she
Sametta M. Thompson: (732) 888-2619 or