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Ramadan: The Month of Fasting and Spirituality

Fasting is one of the pillars of Islam. It is observed by Muslims during the month of Ramadan, a season of intense worship. How can Muslims make the best use of those precious moments? What should they do and not do while fasting? And what are the benefits that can be gained out of this blessed month?

Watch this video to know the answers and more…

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The Productive Ramadan Online Course (Animation)

For A Productive Ramadan

Have you ever set your alarm clock to wake up for suhoor, only to be awoken by the light of dawn shining into your room, and the sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach that you just missed your only chance to eat today?

Can you remember a time during Ramadan when you were so tired and thirsty that you became agitated and snapped at someone and then really regretted it because you know that’s not what this month is about?

Does it annoy you to know that productivity in Muslim countries goes down significantly during Ramadan, and you want to do something about it but know that it needs to start with you?

Can you remember a time during Ramadan when the whole day you were just thinking about what you were going to eat after the fast, and then felt bad because you were missing the spiritual rewards of it all?

Have you ever had trouble going back to sleep after waking up for Suhoor, and as a result woken up for work in a very groggy and grumpy mood?

Discover how to FINALLY master your mind, body and soul to boost your productivity in Ramadan.

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Qur’an Reflections

Join Imam Mohamed Magid, Dr. Jasser Auda, and Guest Scholars every Ramadan evening at 7 PM to listen to their reflections on the part of the Quran that will be recited in Taraweeh prayer that night.

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Source: www.cdicampus.com.

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Why I Spent a Day Fasting This Ramadan and What I Learnt

By Jon Ashworth

Jon Ashworth, MP, tells why he spent a day fasting this Ramadan and what he Learnt….
Over 3000 Muslim athletes competed in the Olympics earlier this summer and at the same time it was Ramadan. Like thousands of my constituents in Leicester, many of those athletes will have observed the fast.

With this in mind this year I wanted to make an effort to appreciate Ramadan on a much deeper and indeed personal level. I wanted to get a direct sense of what Muslims physically and mentally go through in denying themselves food and drink from sunrise to sunset. But I also wanted to understand further the spiritual side of Islam. So this year I decided to fast myself, although only for day.

Before deciding to fast I honestly thought long and hard about whether the gesture from a white politician of a Christian background would be considered patronising or as stunt and indeed some have accused me of that. But I embarked on this challenge from a genuine sense of respect for Islam, and a curiosity to understand more fully something which is so important to so many people across Leicester.

My day started early at around 2.30am, I wasn’t sure what to expect so thought best to stock up on a healthy breakfast of porridge with berries and a large fruit smoothie.

Arriving at the mosque at 3 am I was struck by the sheer beauty of the building inside and by the buzz as worshippers sat on the floor at the front tucking into a breakfast of toast and cornflakes. Perhaps I was expecting a quietness like a retreat but there was a real camaraderie as everyone greeted one another and enjoyed suhoor together. Feeling encouraged I had my second breakfast of the day, and heeding advice I had received minutes earlier on twitter drank as much water as I possibly could.

At around 3.30 the mosque was now full and the imam began the prayers, I sat at the back watching and thinking how remarkable it was such numbers were present including so many young people in the mosque this early in the morning. There was a real community spirit and a sense that what was happening was very special and important. As prayers ended and I left, I felt grateful I had enjoyed the privilege of witnessing these prayers. It had made getting up so early in the morning worth it, though I was still determined to go back to bed even if only for a few hours.

Later my day followed the usual pattern of a constituency MP – going to the office dealing with correspondence, meeting constituents, reacting to news that unemployment had increased again. But this time I couldn’t stop thinking about coffee and was beginning to feel hunger cramps in my stomach.

Realising I wouldn’t be able to cope simply sitting in my office all day, I took more advice from twitter and decided to keep busy by going out and about in the constituency.

First stop was the Jassat family. The daughter Farah has already blogged about it here. This family explained to me how important Ramadan is to both family life and community life. Farah told me that between breakfast and lunch she usually feels hungry but in Ramadan the spiritual experience gives her strength and she feels no hunger. It occurred to me that I too was no longer feeling hungry either, was I beginning to experience something more spiritual as well?

However, although I might have defeated the hunger cramps my head was starting to pound, “am I allowed nurofen I texted a Muslim friend?” apparently not came the unsurprising reply.

By five I was feeling tired and while fielding questions on a local community radio station on the outrageous and atrocious sectarian violence towards the Rohingya Muslims in Burma, I worried I was becoming less and less coherent. Finding it difficult to concentrate I wondered how Muslim students would cope in a year or two when Ramadan coincides with exam time.

Thinking about how I would have been as a teenager at Ramadan I decided to meet some young people and ask of their experiences of fasting. It soon was obvious that these young men and women were like most other teenagers, chatting about the Olympics, football, television, music and so on. But it was also clear how important their religion is to them. They told me they enjoyed fasting and that being a Muslim was part of their identity. Many had been involved in extensive charity work throughout Ramadan and they were all driven by a desire to help those much less fortunate than themselves. I was impressed.

Later that evening I was due back at the Mosque at about 8.30pm for the breaking of the fast before the iftar meal.

In the mosque sitting with others, waiting to break fast I felt I was genuinely part of something quite extraordinary. It was certainly a time for reflection and when we all together broke the fast with a date it was an emotional moment. Not because I was finally eating, but because I genuinely felt a sense of solidarity and community doing something in the knowledge that thousands of others were taking part in the exact same ceremony.

I finished the evening at the neighbouring church for an inter-faith iftar meal where all of Leicester’s faith groups were represented. It had been a long tough day but equally a worthwhile and moving day. Especially as I had been bowled over by the kindness and support I had received throughout the day from people of all backgrounds. That evening I felt even prouder than usual to represent such a wonderfully diverse constituency and city.

It was appropriate to finish the day at an interfaith iftar because through my own small experience of Ramadan, I saw that Islam shares the same guiding principles as many other faiths. On a very basic level, using the discipline of abstinence as a way of appreciating what you, and your loved ones, are fortunate enough to enjoy while allowing you to empathise with those who have very little. But more than that, it is about a shared experience, about family, friends and community. For example, when I was invited to break fast with others at the Mosque, I was offered friendship as well as food.

Islam is a religion, sadly often much misunderstood in the west and although my own experience was for just one day, I saw a religion which took pride in extending kindness, peace and understanding to those within the religion and those from outside.

And next year, I’m already looking forward to doing it again.

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Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk.

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Fasting and Overall Health

Though fasting is often not an easy task and takes mental will power and physical endurance, Islam stresses the importance of keeping the body and mind from harm.

Ramadan 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 anyone 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 2:185)

Fasting is neither a responsibility nor a right for those who are too ill to tolerate it. Hence, it is very important to seek medical advice if you suffer from a chronic disorder such as diabetes or hypertension. Pregnant women and nursing mothers are exempt from fasting too.

Individuals with diabetes who are able to keep their blood glucose levels stable through diet control are better suited to fasting than those who require medication or insulin injections, though most diabetics can fast with the right care. But, children with type I insulin dependent diabetes should avoid fasting.

Your doctor will determine if you can fast by checking your overall health including:

• Any uncontrolled high blood pressure or angina

• Current infections

• A history of uncontrolled diabetes or diabetic ketoacidosis

• Whether you require insulin or medications to control your diabetes

• Whether you have kidney stones, emphysema or other disorders

For most diabetic Muslims, fasting is safe and can be beneficial, particularly if they have type II adult onset diabetes or are obese diabetics. However, a careful diet must be followed and glucose levels must be monitored cautiously. Long term complications, dehydration, infections, hypoglycemia (low glucose levels) and coma are real harms that can occur if diabetes is not carefully monitored.

If you are on prescription medication for high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, angina, high cholesterol and other cardiovascular disorders, it is very important to consult your doctor about changing your medication schedule. Do not reduce your dosage or stop medication on your own; this can have serious effects such as stroke and heart disease.

Scholar’s Advice

‘If fasting will cause harm to a person afflicted with a dietary disease such as diabetes, they are not required to fast. Instead, they should provide food for a needy person for every fast they miss. The amount of food is a ‘mudd’ or approximately 600 grams of the dominant staple food of that land, i.e. rice, wheat, potatoes, etc. They are excused from fasting for as long as the relevant affliction endures.’ (Imam Zaid Shakir)

Benefits of Fasting

Often recognized as the missing link in western conventional medicine and nutrition, fasting results in fascinating bodily processes, by which the body sheds toxins, heals, repairs and replenishes its energy supplies.

Fasting has been shown to improve allergies, anxiety, depression, colds, headaches, muscle aches, skin irritations and other illnesses. Medical studies show that fasting and curbing calorie intake even contribute to a longer lifespan.

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Source: emel.com.

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Plan Your Schedule in Ramadan

Daily Planning

During these 30 days of mercy and forgiveness, we have the privilege of getting closer to Allah so much that we are expected to be given whatever we ask for.

Abu Hurairah reported that our dear Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “He who observes fasting during the month of Ramadan out of faith and seeking reward from Allah, will have his past sins forgiven.” (Al-Bukhari)

We are now witnessing the most important yearly spiritual experience in a Muslim’s life. During these 30 days of mercy and forgiveness, we have the privilege of getting closer to Allah (Exalted be He) so much that we are expected to be given whatever we ask for. This article will focus on tips to follow during Ramadan.

The First Night of Ramadan

Before the first night of Ramadan, Muslims all around the world wait for the announcement of the month. So, how to collect reward from this moment?

Try to look for the new moon with the family, make the little ones busy with this. However, if the religious authority in your country announces the beginning of Ramadan and you are still unable to see the new moon, you should accept the decision without any fuss.

Send greetings to family members and friends. If you live in a non-Muslim community, try to explain the significance of Ramadan to your neighbors. It is important to explain to them that Ramadan is more than just abstaining from eating and drinking.

Share the joy of Ramadan with your children. Do not refer to the night of `Eid (festival day)! Kids should feel that the coming of Ramadan is a special event to celebrate, even if they do not fast it yet. Involve them in decorating the house, making lamps using craft work, etc.

Do not miss Tarawih (night Prayer in Ramadan). Many people miss the Tarawih Prayer on the first night of Ramadan for different reasons. They say the first day of Ramadan starts after midnight, and thus they don’t attend the first Tarawih. Others are occupied with congratulation calls regarding the coming of Ramadan. Some others may just forget it.

Keep Niyyah

Ibn `Umar ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with them both) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Actions are judged by intention. A man will be rewarded only for what he has intended.” (Al-Bukhari)

Intention (niyyah) in Islam has an immense importance. During the first night of Ramadan, make a lot of good intentions and ask Allah to help you fulfill them. Examples of intentions:

–      Fasting for Allah’s sake

–      Having a rewarded month

–      Attaining inner peace

–      Pardoning friends and family members

–      Witnessing the Night of Qadr and getting its rewards

–      Preparing food for the fasting persons to get the reward

Daily Planning

While planning your schedule, there are two points that should be taken into account. First, do not pile tasks on our schedule and wait till the appropriate minute to fulfill them. Instead, you should allocate an enough time for each task. Second, there are blessed moments in Ramadan that we should not miss by focusing on other tasks. For example, you should not visit people during Tarawih (night Prayer in Ramadan), or watch a religious program right after Fajr when you are supposed to do dhikr (remembrance of Allah) and read the Qur’an.

Divide your day into at least 6 parts:

– The morning: For sahur (pre-dawn meal) Tahajjud (Night Prayer), Fajr Prayer, reciting Qur’an after Fajr, istighfar (asking forgiveness).

– Work: Fasting is not an excuse to be inefficient at work. It does not justify being ill tempered because you miss your coffee or cigarette. Concentrate on dhikr (remembrance of Allah) especially while waiting in traffic, driving to and from work, etc.

– From `Asr to Maghrib: 30 minute nap, family time, reciting Qur’an, watching an educational program, reading about the Prophets´ stories, preparing Iftar (breaking the fasting meal) and any other task you planned for.

– Breaking fast

– `Isha’ and Tarawih: It is unnecessary to spend hours in traffic to go to a mosque with the best sheikh in the city. Choose a masjid in your neighborhood.

– Night: This time depends on when you complete the Tarawih Prayers. (Family time, completing other tasks, Qiyam)

– Keep each salah as a time interval between tasks, so you can pray at the masjid if possible.

– Have intention for i´tikaf (staying in the masjid for a particular time period in the worship of Allah with certain conditions).

Monthly Planning

– Divide the month into three parts where each part consists of 10 days. This is an efficient way to accomplish your schedule in this blessed month.

– Set the goals you want to fulfill in each of the 10 days. Write them in a separate column. You could concentrate on social tasks in the first 10 days, family tasks the following 10 days, du`aa’ and dhikr (personal spirituality) in the last ten days. I do not mean to totally separate your tasks, but give you a rough time period to focus on.

– Start dividing these tasks and goals. If your lifestyle is organized with minimal surprises, you can plan these 10 days in advance. If not, try and make a draft for 2 days. Making a draft helps you feel less guilty if something unexpected happens. This does not mean that you get out of your actual task but, you might need to double the effort for the next 2 days. Place an X on completed tasks, to give you a sense of accomplishment.

– For the last 10 days of Ramadan, try to intensify all kinds of `ibadat (acts of worship), especially praying at night.

– Recite the whole Qur’an. In case you cannot read, listen to it and read the translation.

‘A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) reported: I asked: “O Messenger of Allah! If I realize Laylat Al-Qadr (Night of Decree), what should I supplicate in it?” He replied, “You should supplicate: Allahumma innaka `afuwwun, tuhibbul `afwa, fa`fu `anni (O Allah, You are Most Forgiving, and You love forgiveness; so forgive me).”(At-Tirmidhi)

Last Night of Ramadan

After all the effort of planning, helping others, praying, fasting and keeping good intentions, we will reach the last night of Ramadan hoping for the great reward of being saved from the fire and accepted in the Heaven. It is important to trust Allah that He will accept your hard work. At the night of `Eid, the joy is not because we are not supposed to fast the next day. Yet, it is because we have accomplished an act of worship that is most beloved to Almighty Allah.

– Supplicate Allah that He accepts all of your efforts done in Ramadan, and that He supports you to sustain your productivity after Ramadan.

– Share greetings for `Eid (feast).

– Give the kids the joy of `Eid (new clothes, money, decorating the house, gifts, going to the park and making plans for the day of `Eid)

– Do not forget to pay Zakat Al-Fitr (the charity paid during the month of Ramadan). It is preferable to delay it to the last days of Ramadan, as reported from the Prophet (peace be upon him) in this concern. However, scholars stated that it is permissible to give it during the whole month.

– Do not forget the families with limited income. Although you pay your Zakat Al-Fitr, you are still asked to donate for those people in order to bless them with Ramadan and `Eid.

– As soon as the authorities prove it to be the end of Ramadan, start repeating the Takbir (Saying “Allahu Akbar” [i.e. Allah is the Greatest]) and teach it to the young ones.

These are some of my tips for Ramadan, please share yours! I will pray from the heart that Allah accepts all of our good deeds and efforts this Ramadan. Please do not forget me in your du`aa’.

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Source: productivemuslim.com

 

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Ramadan: Why That Blessed?

What blessings and rewards does the Month of Ramadan have? Why does Ramadan have such status in Islam? What’s special about that act of worship? How can we get such blessings?

Ramadan is a very precious guest, with time limit.

This is a reminder for all of us about the beautiful month of Ramadan and it’s great rewards and unmatched blessings.

Let’s do our best to get all the rewards and blessings from Allah (Exalted is He) during this month of Ramadan, getting closer to Him.

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Qur’anic Gems: Juz’ 2

Welcome to a new interesting episode of Qur’anic Gems series with Nouman Ali Khan. Here Nouman reflects on the verse number 185 of Surat Al-Baqarah (the second chapter of the Qur’an).

Nouman begins his talk by mentioning the objectives and the wisdom of fasting that month. Follow us on this interesting talk to know more about the objectives of the fasting.

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Fasting Helps Combat Cancer and Boost Treatment

By Sadie Whitelocks

fasting

Fasting may be one way to make tumour cells weaker and more vulnerable.

Going without food for short periods may help to combat cancer and boost the effectiveness of treatments, say scientists.

A study found fasting slowed the growth and spread of tumours and cured some cancers when it was combined with chemotherapy. The delta 8 gummies for sale online is something one should their hands on to help with the symptoms of cancer.

It is hoped that the discovery will prompt the development of more effective treatment plans and further research is now under way.

Fasting may help to combat cancer and boost the effectiveness of treatment.

The latest investigation, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, found that tumour cells responded differently to the stress of fasting compared to normal cells.

Instead of entering a dormant state similar to hibernation, the cells kept growing and dividing, in the end destroying themselves.

Lead researcher Professor Valter Longo, from the University of Southern California said: ‘The cell is, in fact, committing cellular suicide.

‘What we’re seeing is that the cancer cell tries to compensate for the lack of all these things missing in the blood after fasting. It may be trying to replace them, but it can’t.’

Professor Longo and his team looked at the impact fasting had on breast, urinary tract and ovarian cancers in mice.

Fasting without chemotherapy was shown to slow the growth of breast cancer, melanoma skin cancer, glioma brain cancer and neuroblastoma – a cancer that forms in the nerve tissue.

Scientists found tumour cells responded differently to the stress of fasting compared to normal cells

In every case, combining fasting with chemotherapy made the cancer treatment more effective.

Multiple cycles of fasting combined with chemotherapy cured 20 per cent of those with a highly aggressive form of cancer while 40 per cent with a limited spread of the same cancer were cured.

None of the mice survived if they were treated with chemotherapy alone.

Researchers are already investigating the effects of fasting on human patients, but only a clinical trial lasting several years will confirm if human cancer patients really can benefit from calorie restriction.

However they highlight that fasting could be dangerous for patients who have already lost a lot of weight or are affected by other risk factors, such as diabetes.

Results of a preliminary clinical trial will be released by the American Society of Cancer Oncologists (Asco) in Chicago.

Prof Longo points out that the study only tests if patients could tolerate short fasts of two days before and one day after chemotherapy.

‘We don’t know whether in humans it’s effective,’ he said.

‘It should be off-limits to patients, but a patient should be able to go to their oncologist and say, ‘what about fasting with chemotherapy?’ or without if chemotherapy was not recommended or considered.’

Previous research led by Prof Longo showed that fasting protected normal cells from the effects of chemotherapy but it did not look at cancer cells.

It is now though fasting may be one way to make tumour cells weaker and more vulnerable.

Prof Longo added: ‘A way to beat cancer cells may not be to try to find drugs that kill them specifically but to confuse them by generating extreme environments, such as fasting, that only normal cells can quickly respond to.’

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Source: The Daily Mail

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Ramadan: Ready for the Blessings?

By Shazia Ahmad 

Every person in this world has a life that’s an epic story, full of joys and sadnesses, challenges and opportunities, and ‘defining moments’; moments in which a person comes to a realization, a deep awareness about themselves, and decides to change something inside.  Such moments are when a person makes an intense resolve from their heart; they make a commitment, an oath to themselves, and ‘turn a new leaf’, and their life becomes very different than it was before, by God’s leave. How can apply this on on Ramadan?

We find that Allah, the Most High, gives us ample opportunities in our lives for these moments – these chances to turn to a fresh page and a fresh start. Ramadan is one of them, and perhaps even the best of them.

It is a time for us to sit with our own selves and ask, ‘How long will you be happy with dry eyes and heart-less prayers? Why – when you think about reading the Qur’an – is the cover of that Book so heavy, as if it’s cover weighs a thousand pounds or more? How long will you keep convincing yourself that the sins you commit have no effect and don’t touch your heart, when it’s been so long since you’ve felt His Nearness?”

Ramadan is here, brothers and sisters, and it’s telling us: make this your defining moment. Isn’t it time? Hasn’t Allah, the Exalted, said: “Has not the time come for the hearts of the believers to submit and humble themselves?”. (Al-Hadid 57:16)

Make this the month that we come back to Allah, no matter how far we’ve gone, and how distant we are from His company and nearness. A poet said, ‘Come wanderer, O lover of leaving… Ours is not a caravan of despair’.

No matter how far we are from Him, and how long we’ve been away, know that Allah giving us life to witness this Ramadan is a sign that He has left the door open for us to turn back to Him. Your sins are great, and mistakes and weaknesses are many, you may say, but His mercy, compassion and loving grace to His servants are far greater and far more vast. Ours is not a caravan of despair, or of giving up; ours is a caravan of loving mercy and continuously turning back to Him.

This is the month in which we can strive to overcome the weights our nafs (human self) put down on us, that make going to the masjid so heavy and difficult, that make opening the Qur’an and reading it an impossible task, that make prayer so burdensome.

This is the month in which we can bring life to these acts, and in which Allah facilitates and makes them easy for us to help us taste their sweetness.

A poet said, in a loving welcome of Ramadan,

Peace be upon you,

O month of fasting

Month of night vigil

Month of Qur’an

Month of forgiveness

Month of security

Month of glowing lanterns

Month of sleepless eyes

Month of scented pulpits

Month of burning hearts

We welcome you O blessed month, month of opportunity, redemption and hope.

May you be the means for our lives to change, our faith to be rekindled and our hearts illumined in His nearness. Ameen.

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Source: suhaibwebb.com.

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