Category Archives: Islam

.: ramadan notes 5: better than a 1000 months

“And what will make you know what the night of Al-Qadr is? The night of Al-Qadr is better than a thousand months ( Al-Qadr:2-3)”

As the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) informed us, the Night of Power (Arab: Al-Qadr) can be found in the last 10 nights of Ramadan and he further went into more detail by informing us that it is in the odd nights.  It means the night of 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th and 29th of Ramadan. There is no history in the Quran as to when the specific date is.

If Ramadan were a marathon race, the last 10 days of Ramadan is as if that sprint (to finish line). This is the time for Muslims to really buck up in their religious deeds when night comes. Ramadan will soon be over. If we manage to secure The Night of Power (Laylat Al-Qadr) just once in our lifetime, it’s like doing religious deeds for 83 years. And the night comes every year!

In Qatar, on the last 10 days of Ramadan, tarawih  (extra prayers performed by Muslims at night in the Islamic month of Ramadan) are shortened, leaving closing prayer (Witr) to be done on the last third of night, to be added up later with more and longer tarawih prayers. A mosque nearby my villa compound, for instance, conducts 11pm – 12.30am midnight prayers whereas other mosque starts at 12am or 1am. Who can’t resist the temptation of 83 years equivalent rewards of good deeds? Even if it requires staying awake past midnight praying to Allah. Those who can afford to devote their time in the remembrance of God stay in the mosque for the final ten days of Ramadan. This worship is called Iʿtikāf (retreat). They observe a fast during the day and occupy themselves with the remembrance of God, performing voluntary prayers and studying the Quran, day and night, apart from the obligatory prayers which they perform with the congregation.

We know, however, some people waste the entire last 10 days of Ramadan preparing for Eid, shopping and frequenting malls, etc. neglecting prayers, good deeds and the Night of Power.

I pray that each and everyone of brother/sister Moslem manage to secure The Night of Power and May Allah be pleased with all of you.

 

 

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.: ramadan notes 4: random pictures

Random pictures from several occasions.

The quietest road traffic is ON FRIDAY MORNING, DURING RAMADAN, IN SUMMER. Photo taken on Al Shamal Road around 6.30 in the morning
The quietest road traffic is ON FRIDAY MORNING, DURING RAMADAN, IN SUMMER. Photo taken on Al Shamal Road around 6.30 in the morning

 

Al Gharrafa Street on Friday Morning. Ramadan. Summer
Al Gharrafa Street on Friday Morning. Ramadan. Summer

 

Souq Waqif is boisterous during Ramadan at night, even after past midnight
Souq Waqif is boisterous during Ramadan at night, even after past midnight

 

Group iftar along with temporary bachelors :) at Bandar Aden - Yemeni Restaurant, Souq Waqif
Group iftar along with temporary bachelors 🙂 at Bandar Aden – Yemeni Restaurant, Souq Waqif

 

Iftar with Yemen cuisine at Bandar Aden
Iftar with Yemen cuisine at Bandar Aden

 

Group iftar at the Indonesian Embassy Doha, coinciding with Nuzulul (the descend of the) Qur'an celebration.
Group iftar at the Indonesian Embassy Doha, coinciding with Nuzulul (the descend of the) Qur’an celebration.

 

 

 

 

 

.: ramadan notes 2: iftar-brotherhood

Yesterday I attended a mass iftar sponsored by RAF and organized with Indonesian Muslim Society in Qatar, Indonesian Embassy and other prominent Indonesian organizations in Qatar. This is probably the n-th consecutive year for mass iftar. The Sheikh bin Abdullah Foundation for Humanitarian Services (RAF) also holds separate iftar feasts for other expatriate community such as Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Srilanka, Pakistan and Philipine. Held in Tariq bin Ziad School near Indonesian Embassy, the mass iftar was attended by approximately 600 Indonesians. Few Malaysians also joined.

Unlike last year, this mass iftar was served with Indonesian iftar package, managed by three Indonesian restaurants in Qatar: Restaurant Jakarta, Central Restaurant and Griyo Solo.

Before breaking the fast, in collaboration with Ministry of Interior, the committee held traffic safety awareness presentation. Ustadz Dr. Agus Setiawan, MA from Indonesia also presented a short religious sermon focusing on the values of working and five potentials of Muslim world.

It was a nice experience for mass iftar including opportunity to socialize with other Indonesian fellows.

Thank you RAF and all committee members.

Indonesian mass iftar by RAF
Indonesian mass iftar by RAF

 

Representative from Malaysian Embassy, Indonesian Embassy and RAF
Representative from Malaysian Embassy, Indonesian Embassy and RAF

 

Posed with Indonesian Ambassador to Qatar  near 2014 Election stand
Posed with Indonesian Ambassador to Qatar near 2014 Election stand

 

 

 

 

.: ramadan notes 1 : mysterious iftar package

“Whoever gives food to a fasting person with which to break his fast, he will have the reward equal to his (the fasting person), without it detracting in the slightest from the reward of the fasting person.”

In Ramadan, Moslems try to reap as much rewards as they can, including rewards from giving iftar for breaking the fast. I was going home from a non-work related meeting when I saw a plastic bag hanging at the door knob. Alhamdulillah, an iftar package for this lonely fasting man – (a local bachelor,  husband who stays in town due to work circumstances while his family is away/has been sent back home). The package is so generous that its leftover can still be consumed for my suhoor.

I don’t know who sent this, for sure one of my complete neighbor. It is not uncommon for me during any ramdan local bachelor time yet this attention and good deeds flattered me.  May Allah give you the equal reward of fasting person. Jazzakallah.

Iftar

Lessons of Life: Be Grateful

“I have been working here for 13 years, brother”  he answered  when I asked how long he has been in Qatar. “I am coming from Bangladesh”. Then, story flows from what his job is, his work routine, to his accommodation and food conditions.

I rarely give a ride to a stranger, due to potential liability should there be – God forbids – accident happen, but one Saturday noon after attending Train Shutdown activities, I gave a ride to this Bangladeshi man from Ras Laffan to Al Khor. It turned out that this man is working as a cleaner in a mosque in one of the companies in Ras Laffan.

“My work routine is from Sunday to Thursday, until 3.30pm. Then on Saturday until 12noon. Friday I am off” explained him in broken English. The cleaning service company provides him with an accommodation in Al Khor Industrial Area, and food for dinner. “But the dinner is not good”. “At work I sometimes have my lunch at canteen. But only after 2pm, after lunch time for employees is over. It is actually prohibited to have a lunch at canteen. Mudhir (read: boss) gives me this”. Okay, so he gets leftover from canteen, I am trying to digest his explanation.

“My salary, sir, is only 850 riyals. Never increased since 13 years ago. “

What! I was stunned. Really stunned.

I dropped him at safe road side near Industrial Area. My driving time back to Doha then was filled with afterthought. Life is really hard. This man is hailing from as far as Bangladesh only for meagre salary and hard life. I must appreciate his endeavor.

I oftenly give an example to my kids about the unfortunate people, such as low-income workers. Not for looking them down but as a reflection, a lesson of life to be always grateful, always be kind-hearted, charitable. I frequently emphasize to my kids how education and generally competencies can make a difference, and that I can’t tolerate them like to being ignorant to school or study.

What seems to be a simple ride was giving me valuable lesson of life.

Some Islamic quotes:

“What actions are most excellent? To gladden the heart of human beings, to feed the hungry, to help the afflicted, to lighten the sorrow of the sorrowful, and to remove the sufferings of the injured.” (Bukhari)

“When you see a person who has been given more than you in money and beauty, look to those, who have been given less.” (Muslim)

“Whoever is kind, Allah will be kind to him; therefore be kind to man on the earth. He Who is in heaven will show mercy on you.”(Abu Daud: Tirmidhi)

“Allah does not look at your appearance or your possessions; but He looks at your heart and your deeds.” (Abu Huraira: Muslim)

“The perfect Muslim is not a perfect Muslim, who eats till he is full and leaves his neighbors hungry.” (Ibn Abbas: Baihaqi)

Trial Fasting and How to Introduce Fasting to Children

Though it is not mandatory for children to fasting during Ramadan, my children have been practicing “trial fasting”, meaning fasting but not for the whole day, since 3-4 years ago. Faiq (my oldest son, now 10+) started trial fasting since 5 years old. He has been successfully increasing his performance that by 7 years old he was able to complete the whole month of Ramadan with full day fasting. Excellent Faiq!

Fathan, my youngest son, now 7+, started trial fasting last year with half-day fasting until Zuhur. At Zuhur he would be taking some meals, stop, then continue fasting until Maghrib (dusk). This year, he had fasting until past Zuhur for thefirst two days and alhamdulillah the days after he is able to have full day fasting. Keep up the good work Fathan.

I was advised that the best to make children do trial fasting is not to order them, but inspire them.

There is no age limit when children need to start fasting. It is recommended however that children learn to fast when they already understand why they must do it.

His introduction to suhoor (pre-dawn meal) may be started with “suhoor” at 8am and breaking fast at 12pm. But teach him that his parents, or adults are taking suhoor prior to Fajr prayer and break the fast at dusk (after Maghrib prayer call – athan). There is also no strict rule on how to make children learn fasting, therefore do not be afraid of making mistake. It all depends on children traits and personalities.  

 When introducing children to fasting world, parents need to introduce them to Ramadan and and to introduce them via step-by-step processes.

Children need to be introduced to activities in Ramadan, and this does not need to wait until they start learning fasting. Two-way communication can be used for introduction to Ramadan. For example, when having fasting break (Iftar), involve children. “Would you mind joining Mom for Iftar? This is Ramadan and Mom shall be fasting. Now is the time to break fasting”. Introduce term Ramadan, Suhoor, Iftar, Taraweh, although they may not fully understand the whole meaning. We can also create a different atmosphere at home, Ramadan atmosphere. Put Ramadan accesories, telling stories of fasting, play songs about fasting. Create homy Ramadan atmosphere that really feels.

If the child has begun to know, now the mother may begin to explain the history of why fasting is obligatory. Emphasize to children that fasting should be done with full sincerity and earnestness. Children should also be taught not to use fasting as an arena of competition ‘who is best able to resist hunger’ with her friends. Remember always that fasting is not about not eating and drinking, but rather the attitude. Do not forget to explain to children the benefits of fasting. Among them by explaining that by fasting, then the child will be more grateful for this blessing there. That one purpose of fasting is self-control. Parents or teachers at school can teach self-control at the time of fasting, such as eating, drinking, and anger. It could have been done so that the child was more able to control emotions. In addition, for children who had fasted, there is happiness and satisfaction that he could reach a certain achievement. 

Once the child understands, then the mother may offer the child to start learning fast. Say that the temptation must have emerged, but as long as there is determination and sincerity, then the child can certainly handle it. Tell also that the child does not need to over-exert themselves, because it takes time to learn fasting. Perhaps the children could be asked to fast half-day course at the beginning of learning, or as hard until he/she felt completely unable to. The point here is the condition and the body of every child is different. Do not let a child is sick or depressed because of too demanding. In addition,it is not the length of time that matters, but the sincerity of children. So, mothers need not force the child to meet targets in how long he is able to fast because if they are  forced to  fasting, then the child could strike, even hate fasting. Starting from the right understanding and simple steps, then the child must be able to follow the fasting very well. (Source: bundazone.com)

Ramadan Kareem

On the occassion of the holy month of Ramadan 1432H/2011, we wish you a blessed Ramadan (Ramadan Mubarak).

Ramadan Kareem! (A generous/bountiful Ramadan to you)

What is Ramadan?

  •  Ramadan is the ninth month of the Hijri (Lunar) Calendar. It is holiest month of the year for Muslims all over the world.
  •  The onset of Ramadan is declared following the sighting of the new moon at the end of the preceding month, Shaaban (all months of the lunar calendar are either 29 or 30 days long).
  •  The start of Ramadan could differ from one location to another depending on the ability to sight the new moon.
  •  The lunar calendar is 11 – 12 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar. Thus every year, Ramadan arrives 11 days earlier than the previous one.

SIGNIFICANCE OF RAMADAN

  • Fasting during the month of Ramadan is the fourth of the five fundamental pillars of Islam.

1. Shahada – proclamation of faith – “There is no God except Allah and Muhammad is the Prophet of Allah”

2. Salaah – the five compulsory daily prayers

3. Zakat – giving a fixed percentage of one’s annual savings to the poor

4. Sawm (fasting during the month of Ramadan)

5. Hajj – pilgrimage to Makkah (obligatory once in a lifetime for those who are physically and financially able)

  • Muslims all over the world fast during the daylight hours throughout the month of Ramadan.
  •  The revelation of the Holy Quran to Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him) began during the month of Ramadan (in 610 AD).
  •  Special month of fasting, repentance, increased prayer, increased charity and purification of the soul.

FASTING –WHAT IS IT?

  • The physical aspect of fasting involves complete abstinence from food, drink and intimate activities during the daylight hours (from sunrise to sunset). Smoking is also not permitted for a fasting person.
  • The Arabic word for “fasting” ( sawm) literally g ) y means “to refrain” ‐ and it means not only refraining from food and drink, but from all wrongful thoughts, words and acts – foul language, vain talk, hurtful behavior etc. – throughout the month.
  • Fasting is an obligatory act of worship for all Muslims – except children, unhealthy adults (physically or mentally), adults travelling long distances, and women who are menstruating, post‐childbirth care, pregnant of breast feeding.

FASTING ‐ WHY?

  • Fasting strengthens one’s faith in God and sincerity in worship – since only the individual and God know whether a person is truly fasting or not.
  • Ramadan teaches Muslims to practice self‐restraint, sacrifice, and sympathy towards the poor. A fasting person experiences some of the hardships of the poor and hungry – and becomes even more thankful for God’s blessings.
  • Helps Muslims draw closer to God through increased recitation and reflection of the Holy Quran and additional prayers/worship.
  • Aids in purification of the heart/soul and helps to improve one’s character.
  • Trains the person to do righteous acts of charity, kindness, generosity, patience and forgiveness.

TYPICAL ACTIVITIES DURING RAMADAN

  • Suhour: pre‐dawn meal taken before the dawn (Fajr) prayer. Fasting begins after this meal.
  • Iftar: breaking of the fast at sunset, upon hearing the sunset (Maghrib) call to prayer. It is customary to break the fast with dates and water.
  • Social gatherings – visiting relatives, sharing food with neighbours, friends and the poor.
  • Taraweeh: Optional prayers offered in congregation in the mosque early in the night.
  • Increased reading of the Holy Quran.
  • Optional late night prayers during the last ten days.

EID AL FITR –MARKING THE END OF RAMADAN

  • Ramadan ends with a big festival called “Eid Al Fitr” which means the festival of breaking the fast.
  • The day begins with special prayers offered in congregation soon after sunrise.
  • On this day, Muslims wear new clothes and go out to meet family members and friends greeting each other saying “Eid Mubarak”, which means “May your Eid be blessed”.
  • “Eid Al Fitr” is also declared following the sighting of the new moon at the end of Ramadan. Therefore, it could fall either on the 30th or the 31st day after the onset of Ramadan.

RAMADAN ETIQUETTE – THINGS TO TAKE CARE OF

  • To respect the sanctity of the holy month and to avoid offending the sentiments of Muslims, here are some tips for Non‐Muslims to be followed during the month of Ramadan:
    • Understand that it is the most special month in a Muslim’s calendar.
    • Do not eat, drink or smoke in public or in front of Muslim colleagues –even chewing gum is seen as an offence.
    • Dress modestly ‐ women should avoid wearing short skirts and other revealing/indecent clothes.
    • Muslims generally shun music during fasting hours. Try to keep the volume down if you are listening to music so as not disturb your Muslims colleagues/neighbours.
    • It is considered courteous to greet Muslims saying ‘Ramadan Mubarak’ or ‘Ramadan Kareem’.
    • Do attend an Iftar meal if you are invited to one – you will get to taste some traditional Ramadan delicacies

(Source: Qatargas circular)