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REPORT: Reut/Sadaqa/Friendship group on October 20

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  • Yehuda Stolov
    The Reut/Sadaqa/Friendship group met October 20, and discussed the upcoming month of Ramadan. We also heard a recording of a famous Egyptian reader chanting
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 1, 2003
      The Reut/Sadaqa/Friendship group met October 20, and discussed the
      upcoming month of Ramadan. We also heard a recording of a famous
      Egyptian reader chanting thanks to God for God's gifts and pleas that
      God accept people's prayers, even if the people are stingy. At the
      break, we enjoyed treats of baklava, cookies, and drinks. Presenters
      were Rafiqa Othman, Mufida Abdel-Rahman, and Suheer Siam. The
      presentation was excellent and participants asked many questions and
      engaged in discussion enthusiastically.

      Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar for more than
      one billion Muslims worldwide. One of five pillars of Islam, Ramadan is
      a time for inner reflection, soul cleansing, devotion to God,
      self-control, and strengthening for the coming year.

      The Islamic calendar migrates throughout the seasons. For example, if
      Ramadan begins January 20 one year, next year it will begin January 9.
      This way, over the years the length of the day and fasting period vary
      from place to place. If a Muslim remains in one place, over the years,
      he or she will observe Ramadan during a different month and season over

      The Qur'an (Muslims' holy book) doesn't require the physical sighting
      of the moon to determine the exact starting day of Ramadan. When the
      full moon appears in Arab nations (such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and
      Egypt), Muslims begin a thirty-day fast from dawn until sunset. Besides
      fasting, Muslims spend time in intensive worship, reading the Qur'an,
      giving charity, purifying one's behavior, and doing good deeds.

      During the month, Muslims might spend part of their day listening to
      the recitation of the Qur'an in a mosque or meet for Quranic studies or
      for congregation prayers. Some spend the last ten days of Ramadan in a
      mosque devoting the whole ten days to worshiping God. These last ten
      days are a time of special spiritual power as everyone tries to come
      closer to God through devotions and good deeds.

      The night on which the Qur'an was revealed to the Prophet, is taken to
      be the 27th night of the month. The Qur'an states that this night is
      better than a thousand months. Therefore, many Muslims spend the entire
      night in prayer.

      During daylight, Muslims totally abstain from food, drink, smoking, and
      sex. The usual practice is to have a pre-fast meal before dawn and a
      post-fast meal after sunset. Ramadan emphasizes community aspects and
      because everyone eats dinner at the same time, Muslims often invite one
      another to share in the evening meal, often enjoying specially prepared
      foods. It’s traditional to start the meals with energy-rich dates and
      to follow with cooked lamb and goat.

      Fasting is a way of experiencing hunger and developing sympathy for the
      less fortunate, and learning thankfulness and appreciation for God's
      bounties. Fasting is beneficial to health and provides a break in the
      cycle of rigid habits or overindulgence. A most important benefit of
      fasting is that it’s a means of learning self-control. Due to lack of
      preoccupation with the satisfaction of bodily appetites during fasting,
      a measure of ascendancy is given to one's spiritual nature, and this
      becomes a means of coming closer to God.

      Fasting is obligatory. Sick people and some travelers in certain
      conditions are exempted but must make it up, as they are able. If
      someone cannot fast, she or he has to replace each day for another day
      of fasting after Ramadan and if that is not possible – she or he has to
      contribute a sum of money determined by the religious authorities, who
      take into account the general and person's economic realities, and give
      this money to poor people who can then better celebrate the ending of
      the fast.


      We agreed not to meet during November, which coincides with Ramadan. We
      scheduled our next meeting for Monday, Dec. 8. Please stay tuned for
      details on the meeting topic.

      The group coordinators welcome your questions and input.
      Carmen/Karmela Farrugia 563-1534
      Rafiqa Othman 052-384824
      Tamar Orvell 053-387904

      The Interfaith Encounter Association
      P.O.Box 3814, Jerusalem 91037, Israel
      Phone: +972-2-6510520
      Fax: +972-2-6510557
      Website: www.interfaith-encounter.org

      Sheikh Muhammad Kiwan, Chair
      Sr. Karmela Farrugia, Vice-chair
      Mr. Shlomo Alon, Vice-chair
      Sheikh Ali Birani
      Rabbi Dov Maimon
      Ms. Ibtisam Mahamid
      Sheikh Tawfiq Salama

      Yehuda Stolov, Director
      E-mail: msyuda@...

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