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Ramadan News: World's Muslims mark Ramadan

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  • Zafar Khan
    Ramadan Mubarak. Please see all the latest information on Ramadan at: http://www.islamawareness.net/Ramadhan/ or use the search facility at
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 22, 2009
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      Ramadan Mubarak.

      Please see all the latest information on Ramadan at:
      or use the search facility at http://www.islamawareness.net/ to search for any fatwa's.

      World's Muslims mark Ramadan


      The Muslim holy month of Ramadan has begun for most of the world's 1.2 billion Muslims.

      Ramadan, the month when Muslims traditionally fast from sunrise to sunset, began on Saturday for most in the Middle East and Asia.

      Fasting began a day earlier in Libya, Turkey and for some Lebanese Shias.

      Muslims in France, which has the largest Muslim population in Europe, began Ramadan on Saturday, with the long summer daylight hours meaning they must fast for nearly 16 hours each day - the longest in the world.

      In Iraq, Sunnis and Shias began Ramadan at the same time for the first time since the fall of Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi leader ousted in a US-led invasion in 2003.

      Self-discipline and reflection

      Muslims believe Ramadan to be the month in which the first verses of the Quran, Islam's holy book, were revealed to the Prophet Muhammed more than 1,400 years ago.

      Ramadan begins with the first sighting of the the new crescent moon in the ninth month of the lunar calendar, during which Muslims practice sawm, or fasting, from before sunrise to after sunset for the entire month.

      Families and friends get up early for suhoor, the last meal eaten before the sun rises, and at the end of a day of fasting, gather for iftar, the breaking of the fast at sunset.

      Self-discipline and reflection are primary objectives of the fast in which all physical contact between husband and wife is also abandoned in daylight hours for the duration.

      Fasting is also an opportunity to practice self-control and to cleanse the body, which Muslims see as helping their spiritual devotion.

      'Mutual respect'

      Muslims around the world also consider the month is one of blessing, marked by prayer and charity.

      In many Muslim countries, offices are required by law to reduce working hours and most restaurants are closed during daylight hours.

      Barak Obama, the US president, released a video message to the world's Muslims in a bid to re-cast the United States' engagement with a number of Islamic countries.

      "All of these efforts are part of America's commitment to engage Muslims and Muslim-majority nations on the basis of mutual interest and mutual respect," Obama said.

      "And at this time of renewal, I want to reiterate my commitment to a new beginning between America and Muslims around the world."

      Ramadan Dates Business


      Hundreds of labourers are busy loading trucks with dates in the small town of Khairpur, 40km north of Karachi, to meet the growing demand during the holy fasting month of Ramadan.
      “Dates trading reaches at its zenith before and during Ramadan as every one wants to break fasting with dates in line with the saying of noble Prophet Muhammad (be and blessing be upon him),” Mohammad Bahsir Mahar, president of the dates market association, told IslamOnline.net.

      “We do not go to homes even at nights on the eve of Ramadan as trading continues day and night to met the higher demands.”

      Pakistan is the world’s fourth largest dates producer after Egypt, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

      The south Asian Muslim giant is also the world’s second largest dates exporter.

      Locally known as Khajji or Khajoor, dates see a heavy demand during the dawn-to-dusk fasting month.

      This year, Pakistan has produced 600,000 tonnes of dates for local consumption and exports.

      “We have got abundant crop (dates) this year, but still we are facing difficulties in meeting the demand for Ramadan,” said Mahar.

      Pakistan’s south-eastern and north-eastern areas are the country’s best places for cultivating dates for their rich soil and abundant sunshine.

      Long queues of dates trees are a normal scene across the road from Khairpur to northeast Pakistan.

      Besides Khairpur, the coastal belt of south-western Balochistan province, Dera Ismail Khan, Multan, and Sukkur are also famous for dates production.

      Ramadan will start in Pakistan on Sunday, August 23.

      In Ramadan, adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.

      Many break their fast with at least one date, a Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).


      There are more than 300 varieties of dates in Pakistan, such as Karbalaee, Aseel, and Madni.

      There are also Dokka (hard yellow date), Chohara (dried dates), and Dung (half date and half dokka), which see a high demand during the holy fasting month.

      Ahead of the start of the fasting month, dates exhibitions become a normal scene across Pakistan.

      “We receive most of the orders at these exhibitions,” said Mahar.

      “Not only in Ramadan, but besides that, India is a major buyer of Pakistani dates. Not merely Muslims, but Hindus too use dates in their ritual ceremonies.

      “It’s (India) a heavily populated country, with a huge Muslim population, and cannot meet the (dates) demand of its people during Ramadan and on the occasion of different Hindu festivals, wherein dates, and other by-products are essential items.”

      The booming of dates trading during Ramadan provides an additional source of income for hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis.

      Hundreds of female workers could be seen sprawling dates on huge straw mats as their male colleagues collect dates from the trees.

      Hundreds of Pakistanis could be seen gathering around stalls and handcarts carrying dates parked outside mosques, offices, intersections and bus and railway stations.

      “Every year (during Ramadan) I set up this stall to earn additional income to meet my `Eid expenses,” said Khushal Khan, a peon at a local company, who sells dates at a small stall outside a Mosque in Saddar, the downtown of southern port city of Karachi.

      “By the grace of Allah, I earn a sufficient amount to meet expenses on `Eid-ul-fitr.”

      Ramadan in Virginia Synagogues


      With mosques in the southern US state of Virginia are already bursting at the seams with worshippers, Muslims are turning to synagogues to perform prayers during the holy fasting month of Ramadan.
      "We say our prayers, and a few hours later they meet for Sabbath and they say their prayers," Rizwan Jaka, a leader at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) mosque in Sterling, told the Washington Post on Saturday, August 22.

      Last year, ADAMS rented spaces at two synagogues to accommodate the growing numbers of Muslims worshippers during Ramadan.

      "People may think it's strange or odd, but we are simply grateful for the space."

      There are a few number of mosques in Virginia, leaving the already existent worship of places unable to accommodate the growing numbers of worshippers.

      Several mosques have been built in Virginia suburbs such as Manassas and Ellicott City, but many have been full from the moment they opened.

      To meet the overflow, Muslims started renting hotel ballrooms, office space and synagogues to handle the problem.

      "We are a community with many people but not so much money," Mohammad Mehboob, a community leader, told the Post.

      "But Allah has always provided for us."

      Ramadan, the holiest month in Islamic calendar, started in the US, home to between six to seven million Muslims, on Saturday.

      In Ramadan, adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.

      Most dedicate their time during the holy month to become closer to Allah through self-restraint, good deeds and prayer.

      Muslim-Jewish Bonds

      Many see that observing Ramadan prayers in Jewish synagogue helps strength bonds between Muslims and Jews in the US.

      "The prophet Isaiah said our houses would be houses of prayer for all people," Rabbi Robert Nosanchuk of the Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation said.

      "Now, I don't know if Isaiah could have imagined us hosting Ramadan in the synagogue, but the basic idea is there."

      Nosanchuk said the idea, seems difficult, turned to be easy as their Muslim friends did not need much.

      Muslims only needed wide-open space, carpet to cushion the floor and a place for their shoes and the synagogue's social hall suited them perfectly.

      The arrangement has led to the unexpected benefit of cultural exchange.

      There have been pulpit swaps, with the imam and rabbi preaching to each other's congregation and interfaith visits as well.

      David Fram, 72, who sings in the synagogue's choir, was recently invited to the Sterling mosque for daily prayers.

      And a few weeks later, he found himself at Barnes & Noble buying a copy of the Nobel Qur'an to know more about Islam.

      "It's not like the UN here. We're not looking to draft some final settlement agreement between Israel and Palestine," Nosanchuk said.

      "But we're learning from each other, and we're trying to give them the space they need and make them feel at home."

      China Muslims Welcome Ramadan


      Ma Guoxing woke up very early on Saturday, August 22, and went to a local mosque in Tuanjie village in China’s northwestern city of Wuzhong for the first Fajr (dawn) prayers in the holy fasting month of Ramadan.
      "It is a very important month for us," Ma, a 48-year-old farmer, told the Xinhua news agency.

      He joined thousands of fellow Muslims in performing the prayers behind the imam.

      "If we do a good deed in Ramadan, it will mean we do 1,000 good deeds in other periods of time,” he said.

      "In a whole of a year, we are expecting this month to come to do more good deeds and accumulate merits."

      Ramadan, the holiest month in Islamic calendar, started in China on Saturday.

      In Ramadan, adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.

      Most dedicate their time during the holy month to become closer to Allah through self-restraint, good deeds and prayer.

      "Ramadan can strengthen our mind, restrain our selfish desires and teach us to lead a life in a healthy way," said Jianming, a young Muslim of Hui ethnic group.

      China has now 20 million Muslims, about half of them being from the Hui ethnic group.

      Ramadan is more than fasting, Ohio author says


      Muslims fast from before dawn until past sunset during Ramadan, the holy month that starts Saturday this year. Not even water is allowed.

      But that's only part of the story.

      "Non-Muslims tend to view the denial as hardship," said Dr. Asma Mobin-Uddin, an Ohio pediatrician and author who is also president of the state chapter of the Council of American-Islamic Relations.

      "They see the challenges and struggle of not eating and drinking, but the perspective in the Muslim community is totally the opposite. It's not just fasting. It's trying to be the best person you can be. It's a beautiful time."

      Explaining Muslim-American life is a mission for Mobin-Uddin. She wrote a children's book, "My Name Is Bilal," about an American Muslim boy worried about being accepted by his grade school classmates, and a second, "The Best Eid Ever," about a family observing Eid al-Adha, the biggest holiday of the Muslim year.

      Her latest, "A Party in Ramadan," is about a girl invited to a classmate's party during the month. Already recognized with a 2009 Parents Choice award, the book was, like the others, written to fill a void, with Mobin-Uddin's own three children in mind.

      "I didn't see a book that conveys the experience of Ramadan and fasting from the standpoint of a kid," she said.

      "I wanted to share the beauty, the joy and the blessings of fasting. Kids like to participate. I wasn't seeing that in books about the holiday."

      Muslims encouraged to quit smoking during Ramadan


      NHS East Lancashire is heavily promoting its smoking cessation services to Muslim smokers to encourage them to quit during Ramadan, which starts today.

      The primary care trust is advertising its services in media aimed at the Muslim community this week. It says it should be easier for Muslims to give up smoking completely during Ramadan as they will be abstaining during daylight hours when they are fasting.

      The PCT has one of the most ethnically diverse populations in the country. Ninety per cent of the black and minority ethnic population is South Asian and the largest faith group is Muslim.

      Ramadan moral issues raised by new technology


      As the holy month of Ramadan begins, the world's Muslims are preparing for 30 days of prayer, celebration and -- for some -- tweeting.

      From sunrise to dusk during Ramadan, Muslims are required to forego food, drink, sex and any other activities deemed impure or excessive. Prayer is a special priority, and Muslims are encouraged to read the entire Qur'an.

      This year, some will be reading the Qur'an using Twitter. A New York-based Twitter user is encouraging Muslims to tweet their favourite verses from the Islamic holy book every day. The project takes a page out of similar efforts to tweet the Torah, the Bible, and even the entirety of James Joyce's Ulysses.

      But a cursory Twitter search shows that other Muslims are tuning out of Twitter completely during Ramadan, powering down in favour of prayer

      Ramadan: a time to refocus

      Fasting may seem strange to non-Muslims but it is just one aspect of Ramadan, an important time of self-reflection


      Ramadan is just a few days away and I will be joining many of the 1.6 million Muslims in the UK preparing to refocus for four weeks.

      Following the lunar calendar means that the hours of fasting will be longer than they have been for many years, which is definitely a challenging prospect. But the four weeks of self-discipline is actually one that I always look forward to.

      The month invokes childhood memories of counting down the minutes until it is "time", then eating fried pakoras and doing my best to avoid helping to make the fruit salad. Iftar (breaking of fast) parties and early morning rises became a comforting routine often anticipated with some trepidation but always missed when it is all over.

      As the month of Ramadan begins, the Islamic world is a shambles
      By The Daily Star


      The holy month of Ramadan is now upon us, and Lebanon and the Middle East will undergo a serious transformation. We’ll see people fasting during the day and enjoying sumptuous meals after the sun goes down. Considerable amounts of money will be spent on such gatherings. Some of this activity is about family and friends, but there’s a lot of conspicuous consumption taking place too. Millions upon millions of dollars are spent on Ramadan television entertainment alone, in the form of glitzy variety programs and game shows, or comedy and dramatic productions, all competing for the attention of people who have gathered in homes or elsewhere, for some “down time” after hard days of fasting and gathering.

      Some people will exercise restraint and engage in acts of piety and charity; others will treat the entire affair as a month-long series of heightened socializing and consumption.

      In the end, people will engage in the rituals that suit them the most, all in the name of a cultural or religious rubric that is called Islam.

      Meanwhile, the Islamic world whose social and cultural practices are being celebrated so fervently during Ramadan is a shambles. This Ramadan, slaughter is continuing unabated in Iraq; Afghanistan is a mess, mired in war and insurgency despite the presidential election that took place there. Civil conflict and political tension are wracking location after location in the Islamic world, whether it’s Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Palestine, Lebanon, Indonesia or Pakistan, and that’s not even mentioning the full-blown crisis in Yemen. In most instances, at least one side involved in the fighting is claiming to act in the name of Islam.

      Thus, the same Islam is cited as an inspiration for the following: fasting and piety, extravagance and showing off, and atrocities and terror. Clearly, religion isn’t a very reliable or comprehensive guide to explaining this part of the world.

      We can keep this in mind as we enter Ramadan, and remember the tremendous challenges from which countries in the Islamic world suffer: the waste and corruption, the underdevelopment, and the lack of job creation.

      Many of us have no problem with wholeheartedly engaging in the rituals of Islam, while ignoring the awesome challenges that we face. Some of us claim to care about Islam, while saying nothing or doing nothing to alleviate our difficulties and catastrophes, as if they’re unsolvable.

      If we label ourselves an Islamic world, and fail to act in a way that betters this civilization, it’s an exercise in futility. Some might want to celebrate their religion; very few are willing to work hard to promote a better tomorrow for the Islamic world.

      It’s not the responsibility of God to sort out our problems, it falls to men and women.

      Ramadan Kareem.

      Fighting Rages in Somalia Before Ramadan


      America’s Ramadan..Time for Self-restraint


      Technology Gives Ramadan Special Taste


      Ramadan Cultural Outreach for Americans


      Christian woman to observe Ramadan


      My former Dallas Morning News colleague Joanna Cattanach describes herself as "not the most educated of Christians." She's married to a Muslim, and for the record, doesn't intend to convert to Islam. But starting Saturday, she's going to begin to observe the Ramadan fast, and blog about it. How come?:

      Well, I could learn a little more about myself and my neighbors by sharing experiences. And whether you're polarized on one side of the cross, star or moon, our faiths collide in many ways and I'm interested in exploring something beyond a month of Santa Claus and reindeer. I'll post daily updates, confess if I cheat and offer a "dinner request" form for folks who want to break fast with a very hungry, caffeine deprived Christian.
      This should be interesting. I found as a convert to Eastern Orthodoxy, which also observes some fairly strict fasting, that nothing quite breaks one out of one's routine of thoughtless consumption like serious fasting.

      Algeria readies for Ramadan month of feasting and socialising


      Ramadan is coming to Algeria, and just like every year, special meals – and soaring costs – are on everyone's mind.

      But before any meals can reach the table, Algerians must brave bustling markets. This year, they had the longest weekend in history for shopping: Thursday, Friday and Saturday, thanks to the transition to the new Friday-Saturday weekend last week. Prices are rocketing, despite efforts to rein in shopkeepers by the Ministry of Trade and the Algerian Traders' Union.

      "It's like this every year; you have to stock up before Ramadan, no matter what the price," said Said, an elderly man shopping in the Bab El Oued market.

      "What can you do? People buy without counting the cost, and they all come looking for the same items at the same time," said vegetable vendor Kamel, who sat behind a vegetable stall in an alley adjacent to the so-called "Three Clocks" market.

      The lure of profits has casual vendors busy selling everything from parsley to dioul (fine dough for pastries). So great is the opportunity that many people switch from trades like hairdressing and fixing cars to selling Ramadan zalabiya for the month. Closed sheds are opened and young people erect tents made of reeds everywhere to serve as small mahchachates (places where people can play games while enjoying snacks until morning).

      "Each Ramadan I club together with two neighbours to hire a shed and set up a mahchacha," said Samir, a civil servant who had just gone on annual leave. "It's a way of making a bit of money and is a time that young people in the area take advantage of. With nothing to do, the young people come round my place every evening to play dominoes, listen to chaabi music and sample my cakes and kebabs."

      The pocketbook pinch of Ramadan shopping is balanced with the pleasure of delicious meals.

      "It's the only month when women put their culinary skills on display," said Farida, who prepares her family's meals. "During the rest of the year, people eat snacks or pizzas in fast-food joints or whatever else is convenient."

      Discovering the European Ramadan


      More on Ramadan at:
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