- More on Ramadhan at:
"The UK 1984 formula and Saudi Umm Ul Qura give
Ramadan start date as 13 September" - Zafar Iqbal, UK
astronomer. However click here for Observatory data.
Groundbreaking conference on Moon Sighting
And for the moon we have appointed measured
phases, until it turned (pale, curved and fine) like
an old branch of date palm.  Neither it is for
the sun to overtake the moon, nor can the night
outpace the day. Each one is floating in an orbit.
 Surah Yasin
Ilaahi Masjid, Hope Street, (7th July 2007) hosted a
debate on the methodology adopted in the UK for
determining the start of Islamic months. The
discussed the various methods currently in use and the
difficulties and disunity this creates. The aim of the
event, as pointed out by one of the speakers, was not
to score points by declaring one methodology better
than another. It was to look at the various
arrangements currently in place and try and reach a
consensus that was acceptable to most people.
May 5-6, 2007
San Jose, California
On the 5th and 6th of May, 2007 the Bay Area in
Northern California was host to the First National
Moonsighting Conference. The Conference was organized
and sponsored by the South Bay Islamic Association
(SBIA) based in San Jose, California. The purpose of
the conference was to develop sound criteria to
validate moonsighting reports. Various speakers from
across the nation were invited to present their ideas.
This paper is an attempt to summarize the main ideas
presented at the conference and the resolutions that
have been reached. It should be noted that the report
is structured chronologically therefore any
contradictory remarks on behalf of the speakers are to
be disregarded and the resolution signed by the
participants towards the end of the report is to be
considered the final conclusion.
Ramadan Charity Dilemma for US Muslims
DETROIT, Michigan With the holy fating month at the
doorsteps, many US Muslims are perplexed where to
channel their Ramadan charities amid a continued
government crackdown on Islamic charities and
suspicious treatment of leading minority
"People in the Muslim community are scared," Mohammad
Alomari, administrative director of the Life for
Relief and Development Charity, told Agence
France-Presse (AFP) on Sunday, September 9.
"They have to give zakah. But how do you give it? Do
you give it only to the mosque? Do you give it to a
friend who takes it overseas? The avenues of giving
Alomari's organization is one of a backlog of
charities targeted by federal authorities in the wake
of the 9/11 attacks six years ago on claims of
channeling funds to groups the Bush administration
designated as terrorist like Palestinian Hamas and
Egypt Hikes Spur Early Ramadan Bags
CAIRO Anticipating skyrocketing prices in Ramadan,
Egyptian philanthropists are now racing to buy as many
as of the traditional aid packages and distribute them
among the poor ahead of the dawn-to-dusk fasting
"With two weeks to go, we went to several summer
resorts, which are teeming with holidaymakers every
August," Amira Ismail, from the Al-Risala charity,
told IslamOnline.net Saturday, September 1.
"We received generous donations to buy foodstuffs
preempt price hikes," she added.
Her charity is catering for nearly 30,000 poor
families, basically in the slums of Cairo and
"We are used to distributing a million packages every
year," said Amira.
Ramadan, Counterculture, and Soul
Each religion has a history. Among the aspects common
to most of them is the fact that seasons of fast have
long been part of their spiritual regimen. For
millennia sages of diverse experiences have offered
insights, esoteric and practical, on the benefits
associated with voluntary deprivation for a specific
time and for a transcending purpose. They have
expanded on how the molecular realm of food and drink,
for example, connects with the intangible realm of
will and choice and of gratitude and conscience, and
how certain sublime knowledge comes only to those who
have mastered their desires. But nestled among the
insights there may also be an indictment especially
germane today: apparently, there is something
corrupting about going through a full year in this
life without some major interruption in habit, a break
from conformity, that helps us to step outside our
cartoon world. Ramadan, the Muslim season of fast, is
such a disturbance.
Towards a healthy Ramadan
Millions of Muslims are now getting ready for the
coming holy month of Ramadan and planning to change
their habits. To prepare for the change in our routine
life, we must be aware of any health implications,
specially for the people who are on medication or have
any other medical conditions like diabetes.
Health issues during Ramadan also affect the elderly,
the weak, women who are pregnant or nursing their
babies. Being aware of the health issues and getting
prepared appropriately will help you to make the best
deal of the holy month. So you can spend it focusing
on worship instead of dealing with health problems.
Along with food and drink, oral medication and some
kinds of injections invalidate fasting of Ramadan.
Therefore, it is important to discuss with your doctor
about your medication to change the dosage schedule to
accommodate your fasting during Ramadan. For example,
taking the medicine before seheri and after iftar must
be approved by the concerned doctor.
If you are a diabetic and want to fast, it is
important to be assessed by your doctor to ensure
physical fitness by controlling diabetes.
Most of the diabetic muslims have strong desire to
fast during the month of Ramadan. If they cannot
perform it due to diabetes, they have a valid
exemption. Fasting during Ramadan of Muslim diabetic
patients is not obligatory, but this is a privilege to
be allowed by their physicians.
Muslim scholars recommended that blood tests for
glucose monitoring and taking insulin do not
invalidate the fasting of Ramadan.
Diabetologists suggest that diabetic patients who take
oral hypoglycemic drug once daily, should take the
medicine immediately after iftar at a low dose.
Patients who take oral medicine more than one time
daily should reschedule the dosage in the morning and
at night (of regular time) respectively to after iftar
and 30 minutes before sehri.
Patients who take insulin, should adapt the dosage
schedule of insulin prior to Ramadan after consulting
with a diabetologist. Usually long-acting basal
insulin is safer and recommended during Ramadan
fasting. It should be administered after iftar at a
higher dose and at sehri time at a lower dose.
Other medication of diabetes should be continued as
per the advice of physician.
Patients should be taught home glucose monitoring,
checking urine for acetone, doing daily weights,
calorie-controlled diabetic diet, need for sleep and
They should be able to take pulse, temperature, look
for skin infection and notice changes in the sensorium
(mental alertness). They should be on special alert
for any sign of dehydration, and should seek medical
help quickly rather than wait for the next day.
Pregnant and nursing women are exempted from fasting
if they have any health concern of themselves or their
Advice should be sought from doctors who can evaluate
any specific concern. The doctor could also assist
pregnant women to plan their meals so that they
receive adequate nutrition during non-fasting hours to
Expecting mothers also have to be particularly aware
of their intake of fluid for the nourishment of their
As we fast for most of the day, we should eat slow
digesting foods so we have a consistent amount of
energy throughout the day.
Slow digesting foods last up to 8 hours, while
fast-digesting foods last for only 3 to 4 hours.
Slow-digesting foods are those containing grains and
seeds like wheat, unpolished rice (called complex
carbohydrates), barley, oats, millet, semolina, beans,
lentils, whole meal flour. Fast-burning foods are
those containing sugar and white flour (called refined
Foods that contain fibre include whole wheat, grains
and seeds, vegetables like green beans, peas, spinach,
and the leaves of beetroot (iron-rich), fruit with
skin, dried fruit, especially dried apricots, figs,
prunes and almonds.
The food should be balanced i.e. fruits, vegetables,
protein e.g. Meat, chicken, fish, carbohydrate e.g.
Bread, cereal and dairy products.
Most of the fried foods are not so healthy and should
be limited. They may cause indigestion, heart-burn and
Changing your habits
Due to less intake of coffee or tea during working
hours, who are habituated in caffeine may suffer from
headache, dizziness or fatigue during the first week
They can also experience the unpleasant effects of
sudden caffeine withdrawal, which can also include
irritability, nervousness, anxiety and nausea.
You can minimise or avoid these symptoms by drinking
lighter brews and gradually reducing your caffeine
intake by the month before Ramadan.
It is also recommended that you drink plenty of water
as a substitute and exercise regularly.
If you are a smoker, you can take the necessary steps
to stop smoking this Ramadan. This will allow you to
gain the full benefit of this holy month and will be
an important step towards restoring your health.
The atmosphere surrounding Ramadan helps one to have
more discipline and strive to be a better Muslim in
all aspects of life. It is an ideal time to give up
smoking once and for all.
Muslims prepare for Ramadan, their month of fasting
September 8, 2007 - 4:40AM
Lawn Griffiths, Tribune
Although the month of Ramadan is still five days away,
Abdelmoneim and Amal Mabrouk and their seven of nine
children still at home have already been practicing
fasting, to suppress their eating habits and direct
their hearts away from worldly activity.
The Chandler family recognizes struggles ahead when
they will go without food or beverage from daybreak to
sunset for a full month.
Its a good practice for you, says 11-year-old
Yessen. In the first days, its really hard because
youre not used to it, and then after 10 days, you are
still struggling. During the last 10 days of the
Islamic holy month, Mabrouk family members practice a
custom of sleeping the night at the mosque. It comes
with great anticipation of completing the full month
of fasting, the third pillar of Islam.
Ramadan will likely begin on Thursday, although
Islamic sky gazers must detect the first sliver of the
New Moon with the naked eye, as is tradition, to make
it official. The ninth month of the Islamic calendar,
Ramadan comes about 11 days earlier each year because
Islam follows a lunar calendar. In the course of 33
Western calendar years, the Islamic year goes full
circle. Ramadan is also a month when Muslims commonly
read the entire Quran anew. Prayers are said nightly
at all mosques, with a recitation of a 30th of the
Quran each evening so that it will be completed in the
Now, Muslims in the Northern Hemisphere brace for
their fasting month moving more and more into the
hottest months of the year, prompting greater thirst.
Muslims are reminded that the Prophet Muhammad began
the revelation of the Quran during the month of
Ramadan in A.D. 610.
The four Mabrouk sons are in stride to one day have
the holy Quran set to memory in Arabic. In fact, the
oldest, Mohamed, 16, a senior at Tempes Corona del
Sol High School, has already accomplished that. He had
previously debated whether to go out for football or
go to the mosque four to six times a week for
intensive two-hour study that includes memorizing the
Quran. His bedroom wall displays his certificates from
that study, along with a bumper sticker, Even a smile
It was tough because I really wanted to play football
and basketball and go out for the team, Mohamed said.
Classes were 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. I had to choose one, so
I ended up choosing Quran because football is just a
seasonal thing, but the Quran is going to stay with me
forever. His goal is to graduate and go to Egypt and
spend seven years studying Sharia, or Islamic law, and
possibly become an imam and lead a mosque somewhere.
In June, a south Tempe mosque certified Mohamed after
he was tested on Quran memorization and recitation
Actually, it is the most memorized book in the whole
world, he said. Thats more difficult in America
because there isnt a mosque right around the corner
He says he still reviews the Quran to maintain that
skill and teaches children at the mosque. If I go to
the mosque and the imam isnt there, they usually push
me forward and say, 'You do the prayers,
Children, along with the sick, elderly, pregnant or
traveling Muslims, do not have to fast during daytime
hours. I dont have to fast, but I try to fast, said
9-year-old Yousef, who typically holds off eating or
drinking for half a day. He eagerly awaits the iftar,
or evening meal, when the family breaks that days
Their custom is to start out eating several sweet
dates, or sometimes soup, to ready the stomach for the
first food since before daylight.
During Ramadan, my mom makes really good food like we
dont normally have other days, Yousef said, smiling.
Eman, 19, a community college student who hopes to go
into medicine, will come home from school early each
afternoon to help her mother prepare the evening meal,
refraining from even tasting what they are cooking.
Its always a big feast, like a turkey dinner at
Thanksgiving, she said.
Eman said fasting teaches her self-control and
Fasting also causes people around her to inquire.
When people talk to me, I say, Im fasting,
she said, and that leads to a conversation. It gives
you an opportunity to tell them about Islam.
Hana, 15, said she refrains from talking much while
she fasts to reduce dry mouth and thirst. Im just
really disciplined by the end of the month, she said.
Eating less during Ramadan helps you feel for people
who dont have enough food. Medical studies of
Ramadan fasting have shown benefits, including a
slowdown of basal metabolism, more efficient use of
fat and changes in cholesterol.
At high school, Hana said she and her fasting friends
spend their lunch hour hanging out at the library or
classrooms or somewhere away from the food or we
just walk around.
The Mabrouk children acknowledge that their parents
expect them to strictly follow Islamic teachings. My
dad really wants to push me because he knows there are
greater rewards in it, said Taha, 13. He wants that
for me, so I shouldnt reject that. I should take the
The Kyrene del Pueblo Middle School student said he
reads his Quran lesson, usually one page, seven times
in a row so I have the rhythm. Once he has mastered
the rhythm, he said, memorizing comes easily. He
admits he doesnt always grasp the full meaning of the
text, noting that the slang Arabic that his family
uses at home differs from the formal Arabic of the
The main thing is to prepare the kids to be good
citizens in the country, said Abdelmoneim, father of
five daughters and four sons, ages 7 to 22 and all
born in the U.S.
Ramadan is always a special month to me it is a
blessing month, the Alexandria, Egypt, native said.
It is a spiritual, educational and social month to
Especially during the month, the family seems to
constantly be going or coming from a mosque for
classes and prayers, he said.
His wife, Amal, becomes excited in talking about the
month. Ramadan is the best of the best. It is very
spiritual to me, she said. It is gathering a lot of
family and friends together. You go to the mosque
every day for the prayers. ... It is very bonding for
us. She said its an extra challenge raising their
family in a society where Islam is a minority
religion. They go to public school where they dont
celebrate (things Islamic), she said. When they go
there and it is lunchtime, they become very
frustrated. We are fasting. We cannot eat, and when
they come home, we have to keep them very patient. You
try to keep them busy until sunset.
For me, as a mom, I try to cook everyone something
they like, she said.
All in all, Amal said, the people here are nice,
actually, and they respect what Muslim parents are
trying to instill in their children.
Valley Muslims will gather in one place on the final
day of Ramadan, Oct. 13, for Eid al-Fitr (Festival of
the Breaking of the Fast) prayers. Afterward, they
will gather together in festive meals and exchange
Sunday, September 09, 2007
Ramadan starts September
SOME four million Muslims in Mindanao will join other
Muslims in the world for a month long Ramadan to start
Aleem Mahmod Mala Adilao, ULAMA Regional Chairman at
Kapihan sa PIA, said they will make the final
announcement on September 11 at 9 p.m. over radio
Ramadan teaches self-discipline, righteousness
Published: Saturday, September 8, 2007
Muslims in the Valley, as well as everywhere around
the world, are preparing for the fasting the month of
Ramadan starting Thursday.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the lunar calendar,
which is 10 or 11 days shorter than the solar
calendar. Ramadan is considered a sacred month in
which the glorious Quran, God's word, was revealed to
prophet Muhammed (peace and blessings be upon him) for
the first time more than 1400 years ago.
Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam. The other
four pillars are:
The testament of faith (to declare that there is no
God but Allah and Muhammed is His messenger).
Offering the five daily prayers (dawn, noon,
afternoon, sunset and night).
Paying Zakah (alms), which is an obligatory charity
that the Muslim must pay once a year (2.5 percent of
one's wealth) to the poor and needy.
Hajj (pilgrimage) to Mecca once in a lifetime for
those who are physically and financially capable to do
Fasting means to refrain from eating, drinking and
marital obligations before the break of dawn until
sunset. It is obligatory for adult Muslims. Exempt
from fasting are young children, the elderly, pregnant
women and nursing mothers. Travelers and sick adults
may break their fast then make up for the missed days
Ramadan is a monthlong school that teaches
righteousness, self-discipline and self-control.
Ramadan is a month of mercy, tolerance and
forgiveness. It is an eye-opener and self-experience
of what the less fortunate, the poor and the needy,
are enduring and experiencing in their everyday lives.
Diabetes leaflet lauched for Ramadhan
By Asian Image reporter
11:40am Saturday 8th September 2007
An information leaflet giving advice to people who
will be taking medicines for diabetes during Ramadhan
has been launched.
It came in response to an idea put forward by
Community Pharmacists Maqsud Patel and Riaz
Lindsay Holden, Head of Medicines Management, for
Blackburn with Darwen Teaching PCT says, "We are aware
that Ramadhan is a special month in the Islamic
calendar, during which Muslims fast during daylight
hours and this means the timing and nature of dietary
intake is considerably altered.
"To manage diabetes, it is important to control diet
and take medication and this can often be a problem as
during fasting no medication is taken.
"Consequently we took the decision to publish this
easy to follow guide to help patients who have
diabetes to manage their condition whilst fasting.
"We expect high demand for the leaflet as the
prevalence of diabetes in the Asian population is much
higher than the general population and continues to
advertisementCommunity Pharmacist, Maqsud Patel said,
"The booklet Diabetes and Ramadhan' was produced in
consultation with local GPs, mosques and the East
Lancashire Diabetic Network.
"It gives practical advice on dietary measures and
medication and includes information to assist patients
in making more informed choices on the food they eat,
medication matters and advice on possible
complications and remedies."
Lindsay Holden adds, "Managing medicines during
Ramadhan can be very difficult and because of fasting
many people do not take them at all. This booklet is a
welcome development as people with diabetes need
information to help them manage their condition. "
Labs explore health effects of Ramadan
By Emily Anthes, Globe Correspondent | August 20,
Next month, observers of the Muslim holiday of Ramadan
will fast daily between sunrise and sunset, and feast
thereafter, while scientists in a handful of labs
around the world will examine what's happening inside
Ramadan, it turns out, has become a useful phenomenon
for researchers studying circadian rhythms -- and what
happens to the body when they are disrupted.
During Ramadan, Muslims eat and get more active just
when their bodies are used to winding down, creating
sleep disruptions, hormonal changes, and sometimes
"Their biological clocks are no longer in harmony with
their watches," said Yvan Touitou, a chronobiologist
at Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris.
"Ramadan is capable of desynchronizing people."
Touitou's research has illustrated that Ramadan can
alter the usual circadian patterns of cortisol, a
stress hormone, and testosterone, with sharper
decreases of these hormones in the morning and later
rises at night -- though the impact of these rhythm
disruptions is unclear.
The holiday also changes the schedule of the release
of leptin, a hormone that regulates appetite and
weight, and decreases the peak levels of melatonin, a
hormone released at night to induce sleep.
Interestingly, despite the disruption in leptin and in
daily eating patterns, Ramadan rarely causes
significant changes in body weight. Investigating why
this is the case could yield useful insights into
human energy metabolism, said Tom Reilly, a sports
scientist at Liverpool John Moores University in
England who has studied circadian rhythms and Ramadan.
"Normally, your body clock is affected by the
alternation of light and darkness -- light is the
signal to become alert. With Ramadan, fasting is
obligatory at exactly the time the body is gearing up
for activity," Reilly said. "It's an exact reversal of
the usual pattern."
Florian Chapotot, a neuroscientist at the University
of Chicago, found that subjects showed an overall
decrease in the amount of sleep they got during the
holiday -- not surprising given that typically,
Ramadan adherents often fit in two or three meals
between sunset and sunrise.
What was most interesting, Chapotot said, was the
finding that subjects also spent a smaller proportion
of their sleep time in slow-wave and REM sleep, both
of which "are important because they have restorative
It's still not clear, however, whether sleep
disruptions are a result of changes in melatonin
secretion, other physiological rhythms or behavioral
patterns during the holiday.
The effects of all these physiological changes are
unknown. Research has shown that motor skills, such as
reaction times, muscle, and learning performance
decrease significantly during the holiday and that
sleepiness and traffic accidents increase. But
scientists are investigating whether these changes are
direct results of circadian rhythm disruption.
And despite its usefulness, Ramadan is difficult to
study, partly because of the sheer number of
variables. The month, part of the lunar Islamic
calendar, moves forward by about 11 days every year,
and the length of daily fasting can range from 12
hours upward, depending on location and time of year.
Additionally, those who observe the holiday have
wildly different ways of coping with the altered hours
-- some take naps during the day and stay up most of
the night, while others only slightly alter their
usual sleeping patterns.
"The use of Ramadan as a chronobiological model is a
little bit messy. We cannot get control of all of the
variables," Reilly said. But, "it's a beautiful field
© Copyright 2007 Globe Newspaper Company.