The Holy month of Ramadan is observed by Muslims world over on the Ninth month of the Muslim Lunar Calendar, which is considered by Muslims as one of the most sacred months of the year.
Fasting during the month of Ramadan, known as “Sawm,” is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, the basic religious duties for Muslims.
The other Four Pillars are Shahadah (declaring the oneness of Allah and that Prophet Muhammad is His Messenger), Salat (ritual prayer performed five times daily), Zakat (obligatory charity for the poor and the needy at 2.5%), and the Hajj (performing the pilgrimage to Makkah at least once in the lifetime if one is healthy and financially able).
Ramadan is the time when Muslims, even as we continue with our daily routines strive to become even better by strengthening our faiths, carrying out more deeds of social responsibility and expressing gratitude to Allah Almighty for every blessing that we have received.
During Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset daily, not having anything to eat, drink, smoke or indulging in intimate relations.
A special feast is prepared for the breaking of the fast, where everyone present is invited to partake of the dinner after the all-day fast.
Commitment to Allah
Fasting during the month of Ramadan makes a Muslim commit himself more to Allah and render service to the community in terms of helping the poor and the indigent, bringing relief to the needy and orphans and providing safety for weak members of the society.
The Holy Quran states that those who do more good deeds during the blessed month of Ramadhan will receive more rewards than usual.
Special (Taraweeh) prayers are conducted in the evenings at all Masjids which every Muslims look forward to attend with keenness.
Special Eid Al Fitr facilities
The month of Ramadan ends with special festivities on the Eid Al Fitr (Day of Feasting) celebration when families and friends truly rejoice for having completed the commandment of Allah by successful abstinence and by zikr (remembrance of Allah) at all times.
Eid Al Fitr is celebrated together with family and friends and the wider Muslim community, which not only helps to reinforce moral and family values and foster a sense of identity and belonging to one’s particular community, but also helps the wider Muslim community to appreciate them.
This is an occasion for thanksgiving and forgiveness and signifies openness of the mind.
On behalf of Federation of Islamic Council of New Zealand (FIANZ) Council, Executive members and staff, I wish all of you Ramadan Kareem!
Jazak Allahu Khairan.
Hazim Arafeh is President of the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand based in Wellington (Picture Supplied)