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Ramadan is Here

 

Originally broadcast August 28, 2009

RAHIMA ULLAH: This week it’s towards the end of summer, and we were lucky enough to be able to enroll in this summer horseback riding camp. My sister, Jasmin, is the 16-year-old, and my eight-year-old daughter, Sakina, they’re both in the camp spiritually and mentally preparing for Ramadan in this natural setting. For me nature, and for Muslims in general, nature is this great, awesome sign of God’s creation. Muslims are very excited about Ramadan. A lot of people will describe it in a metaphorical sense of as expecting a month-long guest because of all the excitement surrounding it in terms of being with your family, establishing and reestablishing your relationship with God and those around you.

We follow the lunar calendar, and so every year Ramadan moves up in the year. This year it’s in the summertime. It’s going to be more than twelve hours that — no eating, no drinking the whole day, and you’re still supposed to do all the things that you’d normally do. So, yeah, it’s a challenge, definitely, but I’m still looking forward to it.

Two of the things that people look forward to every year during Ramadan would be the iftars, which is when we break our fasts at the end of the day, at sunset, and then the prayers, the special Ramadan prayers that come after our evening prayers.

JASMIN ULLAH: It’s — you’re supposed to start fasting when you hit puberty, so for guys and girls it’s different ages.

SAKINA AHMAD: I started my fast when I was six. It was hard. I kept on breaking it by accident.

RAHIMA ULLAH: Really, what’s actually encouraged is throughout the year we should be fasting every once in a while as extra fasts.

ABDUL-MALIK AHMAD: I try as much as I can not only to fast in Ramadan but also regularly throughout the year. It’s usually suggested that we fast on Mondays and Thursdays. Those are the days where the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, fasted.

JASMIN ULLAH: And during Ramadan actually being angry and acting on your anger breaks your fast, so it’s very much an emotional discipline as well as a physical discipline.

ABDUL-MALIK AHMAD: The discipline that we practice during Ramadan is the same kind of discipline that we try to promote in the martial arts—restraining from anger, treating people properly, just taking care of yourself spiritually and physically. The martial art style I do is called pencak silat. You’re supposed to use the skills that you learn for peace and for helping other people and not for violent means or violent reasons.

Native Deen music video: “Ramadan is here, Ramadan is here. Alright. It’s a blessed month…”

ABDUL-MALIK AHMAD: As Native Deen, in our songs we try to give Muslims pride about their faith, and we also teach other people a little bit about Islam. One of the things that we really wanted to promote in our song is the feeling of happiness: Ramadan’s here. Get close to God. Fast, but also be happy. It’s a time of hardship, yes, because you’re fasting from sun-up to sundown. But there’s a lot of joy in it. We see families getting together for the iftar or the break-fast.

RAHIMA ULLAH: It’s very special to see that mosque just packed with people. It’s such a warm, wonderful feeling to be around so many people who all have this goal of pleasing God. Even if we think our relationship with God and the people around us are great, there’s always a way to get better. And so Ramadan is that really intense, focused way of doing that, of fasting and working on our own selves and then working on our relationships to others and ultimately our relationship to God.

ABDUL-MALIK AHMAD: There’s a prayer that we always say: “Grant us good in this life and good in the hereafter.” A lot of prayers that we do in Ramadan is really asking us for in the next life, in paradise, in heaven, that we attain the highest levels of heaven, to maybe see our beloved Prophet Muhammad when we’re there.

  • robert halsey

    Americanised Islam.neat and attractive. Says nothing about Islam’s ultimate political ambition.The elephant in the room syndrome.

  • Channah

    Tho I am a Jew, I was always excited to be with Muslim friends during Ramadan. It was such a happy time, and a time when everyone seemed unusually kind and interested in others. I spent many hours cooking for the iftars and anticipating the guests who would come to dine with us. We never knew how many there would be, but with a huge tablecloth on the floor, we could always fit one more in.

    I remember one Friday night–strange to most, we had Shabbat candles on the table for our iftar. That was long ago, and all of us are scattered around the world. I miss it.

  • Dabo Ismaila

    May Allah give us the courage to perform the best of Ibadah during the month of Ramadan. It will be agreat joy and happiness to the entire muslim ummah

  • Kimberli

    I am not Muslim, but am very interested in it and learning about and from it. I have friends who are so looking forward to Ramadan, and I am going to start a diet and exercise regimen, give up the things that are bad for me, and study and pray. All things I am not used to at all. I look forward to becoming a better person as a result.

  • ali

    good

  • Thuli

    Just want to wish you all a very merry Ramadan. And to say that I have been learning about the religion and will love to learn more as time goes.

  • farook

    it is the glorious month to our islamian’s beacause we are the responsibility to having fasting in thi “THE HOLY RAMADAN MONTH”
    IN THE NAME OF ALLAH

  • Ali K

    Dear Channah:
    Greetings. Thank you for your friendly attitude. You sound to be an open minded person. May Allah (Azza-wa-jall) the Lord of Moses, the sustainer and provider of all of his creations bless you with deeper understanding of Islam and may shine its light on you and those members of your family that wish for such a blessing
    Ali K

  • shiddiya muhammed porter

    ALL GRACES TO THE ONE TRUE GOD ALLAH I HOPE ALL MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS HAVE A BLESSED AND JOYOUS RAMADAN MAY ALLAH’S BLESSINGS BE WITH YOU ALL DURING THIS MONTH AND EVERY MONTH

  • Rick Pryce

    In response to Robert,

    Europeanized and North Americanized Christianity ain’t much better! And I’m a Christian!

    Let’s begin Ramadan with an admssion that we ALL have elephants in the room, we all have agendas and ambitions by which we justify ourselves and our life styles, we are all subject to fear, and we all have a LOT to learn from each other.

    All blessings to my Muslim brothers and sisters. All blessings to my Christian brothers and sisters. All blessings to my Jewish and Sikh and Buddhist and Unitarian and Atheist and Humanist and Hindu and Taoist and Janeist and (your tradition here!) brothers and sisters!

  • Ross Smith

    My father was a Muslim and I lived with him until he died when I was 8. I learnt a lot about Islam growing up but never really connected with the religion. After 9/11, I was optimistic I did not want any form of connection to a religion like Islam. In 2007, I met my girlfriend who is now my wife in New York and she is a muslim. She has taught me so much about the religion and I even watched some documentary of the great prophet (PBUH). This is my first time fasting properly and I am planning on visiting Mecca someday. I love you all and may Allah continue to bless you through this holy month.

  • Ghulam Memon

    May Allah (swt) bless all of us & give usmore love & affection in this Holy month of Ramadan. I loved the response from Brother Rick Pryce….May Allah (God) bless you…….

  • The Humanist

    The Arab god (allah) is an invention of the human mind as are the Jewish, the Christian, and other gods.

  • The Humanist

    Dear Kimberli,
    please make sure that you read the following books before you make any decisions:
    “Why I am not a muslim” by Ibn Warraq
    “The god delusion” by Richard Dawkins
    “god is not great” by Christopher Hitchens
    “The end of faith” by Sam Harris
    Good luck to you.

  • Channah

    To The Humanist:

    It is not one’s difinition of G-d that counts. My viewpoint of G-d is that something had ”to start it all”—a big bang, or one of many things. But, something was at the very beginning, something unexplainable, etc.,. My religion is mostly following the history of the Jewish people, their comings and goings, and their interactions with all the people of the earth. I firmly believe that ”There is no G-d but G-d”, but, I would never dare to try to explain what
    G-d is. It was just a beginning.