Allah says: ?Ramadhan is the (month) In which was sent down the Qur?an, As a guide to mankind, also Clear (Signs) for guidance and Judgment (Between right and wrong). so every one of you who is present (at His home) during that month should spend it In fasting, but if any one is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed period (Should be made up) by days later. Allah intends every facility for you; He does not Want to put to difficulties. (He wants you) to complete the prescribed period, and to glorify Him In that He has guided you; and Perchance ye shall be grateful.?[al-Baqarah: 185]
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. All Praise is due to Allah! We praise Him and we seek help from Him. We ask forgiveness from Him. We repent to Him; and we seek refuge in Him from our evils and bad deeds. Anyone who is guided by Allah, is indeed guided; and anyone who has been left astray, will find no one to guide him. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship but Allah, the Only One without any partner; and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and final messenger to mankind. May the peace and blessing of Allah be upon His last and final Apostle, his Household, his companions and all his followers until the end of time.
As we approaching Ramadan in full speed, and with our preparation in earnest to its commencement, I feel there is need to get ourselves acquainted and familiarized with some common words used in Ramadan than any other month. The only excuse I beg from you is that based on my present circumstances and schedules with the approaching Ramadan, I will not be able to arrange them in alphabetical orders, rather in their importance, and probably and usages. Thus, because of this plea, I will not call it glossary, dictionary or vocabulary .
Ramadan is a very special period in which all the Muslims around the world, unite and perform common rites and rituals. In it Muslims become more Muslims than the rest of years. Devotion and Commitment to their beliefs become the common sign of the moment. Men and women become closer to their Lord in both close and open. Satan and its cronies become very isolated and more disappointed. Their wards and bands vanished to become solemn to Allah, at least in that month; Ramadan!
Ramadan: The word Ramadan comes from the Arabic root ramida or ar-ramad, which means scorching heat or dryness. Some linguist claim that it is one of the names of Allah. The month lasts 29?30 days based on the visual sightings of the crescent moon. Fasting is fard or obligatory for adult Muslims, except those who are ill, travelling, or going through antenatal or menstrual bleeding, though they are expected to repay the missed days after Ramadan.
Hilal: Is the baby moon. It is called crescent or new moon. Ramadan starts when the hilal or crescent is sighted by at least two upright Muslims. Sometime an upright person?s sighting can be accepted when scrutinized and endorsed by the Muslim leader of a given community. Similarly, when the crescent of Shawwal is sighted, the end of Ramadan becomes real. Every month commences with the appearance of new baby moon or hilal regarded as the commencement and end
Sawm or Siyam: Abstaining from eating, drinking, smoking, sexual intercourse or allowing liquid, substance and smoke to the stomach through the gullet or throat from dawn until sunset. It is one of the five pillars of Islam, and observing it compulsory or wajib.
Imsak: Abstaining or Refraining from something either for a given period or for forever. In Ramadan it means refraining from eating, drinking and every conjugal intimacy from dawn to dusk. That means in Ramadan it is for particular period.
Suhur: Any solid food or nourishment taken before fajr or dawn during Ramadan. Eating or taking suhur is Sunnah of the Apostle of Allah (pbuh). Thus, it is highly rewarding to take something however small in quantity it may be just before the appearance of the dawn. To avoid it intentionally is a big minus on someones act of worship for the month.
Iftar: This the meal or drink which marks the end of the day?s fasting. It is highly recommended to take something before the commencement of the maghrib prayers. By tradition, many Muslims break their fast with dates, water or milk just before the maghrib. All solid and heavy meals are usually taken at home or after the maghrib prayers. It is permitted to over eat or drink on account that you have fasted, as that will make one heavy or lazy.
Tarawih or Taraweeh: This is a special congregational prayers offered only in every night Ramadan after Isha prayer. It is regarded as a special and unique peculiarity of the month of Ramadan. It is sunnah that community to perform it in early period of the night. It is usually ten raka?ats or units. Though some people increase up to twenty and above. It is not sunnah to complete the whole Qur?an during the Ramadan when performing it.
Tahajjud or Qiyam: This is another unique prayers that is only performed every night. It is not a prayers that is only performed in Ramadan as the Tarawih. So, observing it only in Ramadan is a bid?ah or innovation. The Messenger of Allah and his companions never stop saying every night till their demise. May Allah bless them!
However, the new event in which women leave their homes and small children to go to a particular mosque in the darkness of the night for the purpose of the qiyam, is not also the sunnah of the Apostle of Allah (pbuh)! Allowing such has bred many fitnah of indecency and dishonesty, and in many cases flirting and unfaithfulness amongst the members!
There is also the issue of disturbance and ?noise? making at very odd night time. Traditionally, night prayers is suppose to a humble secret meeting in total privacy with one?s Lord. It is not suppose to advertise or pronounce to the hearing of even your neighbours that you live with them under one roof! Therefore, rehearsing the Qur?an aloud by public address system to the hearing of the neighbourhood, including not only our Christian neighbours, even the Muslims who prefer to say their own at home, which is better and more rewarding, are disturbed, as they are denied the right to sleep soundly! Such behaviour in the name worshipping Allah, becomes nullified with the side effects of public disturbance and annoyance!
According to sunnah, all recommendable prayers are not only preferred to be performed at home, but are more rewarding by Allah (SWT)
I?tikaf: The tradition of spending at least half a day to ten days during the last ten days of Ramadan for the purpose of complete devotion to Allah in mosque where Jumua?h prayers holds. The essence is that one should not miss an obligatory prayers for the sake of a sunnah act of worship. However, if the days one chooses to observe it, Friday is included. If one intends to observe it, he must provide enough sustenance for his family, and himself while in the mosque. It is not allowed for one to travel away from his or her abode of residence in order to perform it except if it in Mecca, Medina or bait-ai-Maqdis in Jerusalem. Women are not allowed without the consent their husbands or guardians. But, where that will breed a new fitnah, they should not be allowed completely.
It is required for an intending observer to make clear and clean his or her intention in her or his bid to go closer to Allah throughout the state of the I?tikaf. No radio set, newspapers, magazines or novels should read in order to while away time. I?tikaf is a spiritual retreat spent at a mosque in a state of worship, repentance, reflection and Qur?anic recitation.
To be continued