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Woodland Democrat – August 20, 2011

The blessings and spirit of Ramadan come to Woodland


The Muslim holy month of Ramadan started on Aug. 1, is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. By now we all know that during this month all over the world, Muslims fast from dawn to dusk and refrain from food, drinks, smoking etc. and then breakfast right after sunset with a special prayer and dinner.Khalid Saeed 8-20-2011

But the goal here is not going hungry all day but the goal is to help us draw nearer to God Almighty, Allah, the creator of heaven and earth by enhancing our spirituality and doing deeds of common good for our family, friends and neighbors.

Fasting inculcates self-restraint and self-control as the person fasting not only have to abstain from food and drink, but s/he must also refrain from many other things: Lying, backbiting, gossiping, fighting, using foul language etc.

Prophet Mohammad said: "Whoever does not give up false statements (i.e. telling lies), and evil deeds, and speaking bad words to others, Allah is not in need of his (fasting), leaving his food and drink" (Bukhari).

The Prophet also said: "If anybody is fasting and if somebody should fight or quarrel with him, he should say, 'I am fasting." (Bukhari).

It is logical that if the aim of fasting was only to stop eating and drinking for a specific period of time, then the spiritual objectives of fasting, which have been specified in the holy Quran, would not have been met.

In the Quran, Allah specifically says:

O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, even as it was prescribed for those before you, that ye may ward off (evil) (2:183).

As one can see from the above verse, Muslims have been commanded to fast, so that they attain righteousness. And what is meant by righteousness? The Arabic word in this verse is "Muta'qeen" taken from the word "Taqwa." To attain Taqwa or righteousness means to fear Allah and to obey His every Command. And by fasting for thirty days, we are doing just that.

Fasting also imbues in Muslims, the spirit of charity. Abstaining from food and drink gives a firsthand experience to the more privileged as to what the less fortunate may have to endure the year around. Hence, it acts as a spur for them to donate more to charity and to give out of their wealth to those who cannot afford the same luxuries that they do.

The Muslims have constant Divine connection through daily five obligatory prayers, but during this holy month Muslims hold extra prayer services called Traveeh at night at all mosques throughout the world.

Another purpose of extra effort is to enhance spirituality for connection with God, increase our moral fiber and build an upright character in the individual as well as the society. To inculcate good habits in the month of Ramadan is to integrate them into one's personality.

One of the best ways to focus on improving our character is by interacting with our family. Maintaining ties with one's family is one of the most important foundations of society. As good Muslims and good humans we should all make an effort to reconnect with our family, especially during the month of Ramadan. Make time to have iftar (breaking fast) with other family and friends and share our day's experiences together.

Today, Saturday, the Muslim community of Woodland has extended an open invitation to all American's regardless of their color, race, religion or sex for an iftar dinner at the Woodland mosque.

By doing so we are extending our hand to all fellow Americans and expanding our family by including you in this very important and very dear institution. Please join us for an iftar dinner at the Woodland mosque, beginning at 6:30 p.m., with the meal served at 8:30 p.m.

-- Khalid Saeed is the National President of American Muslim Voice. He also represents the Islamic Center Woodland.