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Muslims purify themselves during Ramadan

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    Muslims purify themselves during Ramadan By Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi / Special to The Detroit News Saturday, October 1, 2005
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 5, 2005
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      Muslims purify themselves during Ramadan


      By Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi / Special to The Detroit News

      Saturday, October 1, 2005

      http://www.detnews.com/2005/editorial/0510/01/D10-333457.htm

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      "O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you, as it was
      prescribed to those before you, that you may learn self-restraint."

      -- Quran 2:183

      The Muslim fasting month of Ramadan will begin this Wednesday.
      Ramadan is more than a little sacrifice of food, water, coffee and
      cookies. It is about purification of the mind, heart and body.

      Although the observation of Yom Kipper by many Jews and Lent by many
      Christians apply the same concept, the fast of Ramadan has its own
      characteristics and restrictions. It includes abstaining from any
      food, drink, smoking and sex from dawn to dusk for the whole month.
      The children, elderly, the sick, pregnant or breastfeeding women,
      travelers and whoever fasting may harm are exempt.

      The fasting season is an opportunity for the faithful to experience
      a spiritual revolution and develop a new discipline in their
      relationship with themselves, their Lord and fellow human beings
      based on piety, humbleness and courtesy.

      Fasting was meant to cleanse the house of the heart from the dust of
      sin, selfishness, greed, pride, impatience and, most dangerous and
      addictive of all, hypocrisy. Appreciation for what we have and
      sympathy for those who suffer are among the fruits of fasting.
      Therefore, Ramadan is about experiencing a spiritual energy, which
      provides healing and harmony in the human family and creates a
      stronger personal discipline, a stronger community and a stronger
      country.

      The real victory may not come through weapons and military actions
      but the power of the human will to depend on God alone.

      For Muslims, Ramadan carries three other wonders.

      There is the Night of Power, or the Night of Destiny. It is the most
      beautiful night when the angels and the Holy Spirit descend to the
      earth and bring the spirit of peace while observing the faithful
      celebration of God's glory. It is the time to talk with the Lord and
      establish a true friendship with Him based on love, trust and
      submission. Many faithful retreat to the mosques for prayer and
      meditation, asking the Lord for help and forgiveness.

      The Night of Power is an experience of sacred awe in some ways quite
      similar to what faithful Christians experience on Christmas Eve,
      when they retell the story of the angels announcing the birth of the
      Messiah. During Ramadan, the stories of Adam and Eve, Noah, Moses,
      Abraham, Mary and Jesus are retold in Arabic and English.

      The spirit of the Quran was transmitted by the Angel Gabriel to the
      Prophet Mohammad on the Night of Power. This is a heavenly gift of
      wisdom with universal solutions for human problems. In the Quran,
      the human dialogue with God attains its highest beauty and meaning.
      Quranic truths are the primordial heritage shared by all of mankind.
      The concept of "One nation under God" is introduced in chapter 21
      verse 92: "Truly this, your nation is one nation and I am your Lord
      worship me!"

      Sadly, the martyrdom of Imam Ali in the holy mosque of Kufa in Iraq
      took place during Ramadan. Ali, the cousin of the Prophet Mohammed,
      represented the complete values that the Quran and Islamic faith
      stood for, yet he became the target of terrorism. Ali was the voice
      of justice and courage, and our community will honor his service to
      humanity during our Night of Power prayer service.

      I wish a happy Ramadan to Muslims and a happy Rosh Hashana to the
      Jewish community. The Islamic places of worship will be open during
      Ramadan, and everyone who seeks education about Islam is welcomed.

      Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi heads the Islamic House of Wisdom in
      Dearborn Heights, which will begin Ramadan services Wednesday at 9
      p.m. Fax letters to (313) 222-6417 or e-mail them to

      letters @ detnews.com.

      NOTE: There is an organized group of anti-Muslim bigots who flood
      the Detroit News with hate mail every time the imam writes an
      article. Please send in a nice comment to balance the Letters page.

      ===

      Why Americans should observe Ramadan
      by Carol Wolman - cwolman @ mcn.org
      Peacemakers Bible Study


      This year, October 4th was the first day of the holy month of
      Ramadan, which goes according to the lunar calendar, and thus comes
      at a different time every year. Muslims are expected to fast from
      dawn to dusk, and to spend increased time in prayer and meditation
      during this month, which commemorates the giving of the Qu'ran to
      Muhammed.



      Muslims all over the world consider themselves part of the body of
      Islam, called the ummah. This is their primary identity, stronger
      than national loyalty. "Islam" means "peace", and "Muslim"
      means "servant of God". During Ramadan, most Muslims are praying
      for peace. The jihadis are aberrant, heretical- Islam has no place
      for targeting civilians or killing people who have not attacked
      them. On the other hand, an attack on any Muslim is considered an
      attack on the entire ummah, and self-defense is legitimate,
      according to the Qu'ran.



      Any American who considers him/herself a servant of God can join the
      ummah and observe Ramadan. There are no special ceremonies needed
      to become a Muslim, one simply has to accept Allah, and the validity
      of Muhammed's prophetic mission. This is a sticking point for right-
      wing Christians, who are taught by their false prophets that Allah
      is a moon god, and not the same as Eli, the God of the Bible.
      Muslims and the Qu'ran, however, emphasize that Allah IS the God of
      the Bible, that Jesus is the ultimate leader, and that Muslims are
      descended spiritually from Abraham, through his older son Ishmael.



      Most Americans now disagree with Bush's Iraq policy, feel that
      invading Iraq was a mistake at best, and that staying there is
      making matters worse. Even the generals, even Rumsfeld, are now
      arguing for withdrawal.



      Some mistake! The suffering that this unprovoked invasion of a
      sovereign nation has engendered is incalculable. Over 100,000
      Iraqis have died, many more have been imprisoned and tortured,
      families have been rent apart. The infrastructure is gone, there is
      little power and less clean water, the economy is ruined, and civil
      war is breaking out. Sunnis and Shi'ites who have lived in harmony
      are turning on one another. Radioactive weaponry has left mutagenic
      dust which is producing high rates of abortion, birth defects, and
      childhood cancer.



      Before the invasion, a group called Not In Our Name helped to
      organize massive peace rallies in the US. Americans must face the
      fact that the invasion of Iraq was done, is continuing, in our name,
      using our tax dollars and our young people as occupiers. How can we
      the people dissociate ourselves from the actions of the non-
      representative Bush regime, and show our compassion for and
      solidarity with the Iraqi people?



      Observing Ramadan, fasting with the Muslims, is an excellent way to
      do this. It gives us deeper empathy with their suffering. The
      voluntary austerity of the Ramadan fast will strengthen us,
      strengthen our ability to oppose the attack on the ummah perpetrated
      by the ongoing occupation of Iraq. It will help us identify with
      people all over the world, and break down the us/them barrier. It
      also will demonstrate our dedication to peace, and disassociate us
      with the nefarious policies of the Bush administration.



      Fasting for Ramadan brings us closer to God, the God of peace and
      love. It will move us toward realizing the dream of universal
      brother/sisterhood.



      Psalm 86: 9 All the nations you have made shall come
      and worship you, O Lord.



      In the name of the Prince of Peace, Carol Wolman

      *********************************************************************

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