5 essential practices of Ramadan
Aug. 12, 2011 at 3:12 a.m.
The Islamic observance of Ramadan kicked off this month around the globe. The monthlong period of reflection, prayer, fasting, Quran-reading and charitable giving, is observed annually in the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. Because the holiday is based on the moon, the holiday changes every year. Commencing Aug. 1, according to Victoria Islamic Center's Imam Osama Hassan, his congregation of about 120 will spend the holy month awaiting the blessings of Allah through physical and spiritual sacrifice.
"For us, we wish the whole year could be Ramadan," Hassan said. "It's a beautiful time."
Ramadan concludes after sundown on Aug. 29, with the celebration of Eid ul-fitr held the morning after the final fasting night, which falls this year on Aug. 30. Here are five essential practices for Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan:
Muslims pray five times a day during Ramadan, beginning from about 5:30 a.m. to about 9:30 p.m. These prayers are known as Fajr, Sunrise, Dhuhr, Asr, Maghrib with an additional nighttime prayer, Isha.
The last nine days of Ramadan, known as The Night of Power, intensive prayers are offered beginning at 3:30 a.m. and continue throughout the day. Additional blessings are said to flow from Allah during these final days.
The Quran Sura 97.1-97.5 claims "The Night of Power is better than 1,000 months; in it come down the angels and the spirit by Allah's permission to perform every task: Peace! Be in this night until the rise of dawn."
During Ramadan, Muslims must abstain from food, all liquids, medicine and marital relations from sunrise to sundown.
Regular consumption of food and drink can be consumed before early morning Fajr prayers, or after sundown.
Eid ul-Fitr, a celebration at the conclusion of Ramadan, includes a large feast, gift exchange and community supplications at the mosque.
Men are required to fast during Ramadan when they reach puberty. Children as young as 8 years old may practice fasting.
- Charitable giving
When performing works of charity and good deeds during Ramadan, blessings and rewards are multiplied 700 times, according to Islamic teachings.
Those who cannot fast during Ramadan (pregnant women, the sick and elderly) are encouraged to perform acts of giving, especially to the poor and needy.
Daily reading of the Quran is practiced during Ramadan.
Throughout the observance of Ramadan, the Victoria Islamic Center offers early morning Quran studies for children ages 7 to 16 from 6 a.m. to 7:30 a.m.
- Good Behavior
During the holy month, Muslims are to be on their best behavior, not engaging in any activity or thought that may be considered unholy.
Patience, forgiveness and kindness are paramount during Ramadan because Allah multiplies the rewards.
Worship and supplications during Ramadan are intended to be the most sincere during this time.