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Dr Kaukab Siddique | Editor-in-Chief Ramadan 1,1429/ September 2, 2008, #47


Scroll way down to important items on Bajaur bombing and Kashmir uprising by leading Pakistani Islamic scholars


Helping non-Muslims understand Ramadan. Concluding item in this issue by Imam Ali Siddiqui


Ramadan 1 was on September 2: Crescent was not sighted anywhere on August 31
[From a New Trend observer with apologies to Arab brothers who do not fit into these observations.]

Jamaat al-Muslimeen National Shoora member Br. Sulayman Solano lives in Brownsville, Texas. His witnessing is important because if there was a chance of sighting of the Crescent anywhere in the USA, it would be in this southernmost point. Br. Solano says the sky was clear and the crescent was not sighted. The same is true of all those part of the U.S where the sky was clear. How do we know:

Dr. Omar Afzal of Ithaca, New York state has representatives in many parts of the U.S. who look for the crescent. See www.islamicmoon.com . Similarly Jamaat al-Muslimeen has representatives, supporters and friends in various parts of the country. All of them affirm that the crescent was not sighted on August 31.

Dr. Omar Afzal also traces the sightability of the crescent around the globe. The crescent was neither sighted nor sightable in "Saudi" on August 31. Nevertheless, the Saudis announced that Ramadan will begin on September 1 and all their supporters in the U.S. followed the order blindly.

The worst offender is the FBI-State-Department related organization known as ISNA which spreads false information about Ramadan and Eid almost every year.
The Libyan government's affiliates as well as those of all the Arab kingdoms and dictators too do not take the trouble to follow the Sunnah. Most immigrants from Arab countries usually check with their home countries and duly start Ramadan and celebrate Eid.

This attitude of subservience to authority has gradually become typical of Arab immigrants in general [if not all of them]. They know their governments are corrupt but when the orders are issued by authoritative groups affiliated to the regimes, the Arab immigrants duly obey.

For the revival of Islam, human authority has to be questioned and challenged. The only genuine authority for Muslims is that of Allah in the Qur'an as interpreted by the Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, in the authentic Hadith. With heavily funded groups like ISNA-CAIR etc, Muslim immigrants and their children, continue to kow tow to human authority even in elementary matters of Islamic rules. Owing to U.S. governmental support for ISNA-CAIR, these groups have gone beyond anything even munafiqs would do in a Muslim society. Like the Qadianis who worked under British protection, here we have people like Hamza Yusuf comparing the authenticity of the Qur'an with that of the Jewish holocaust story, Z. Shakir gloating over the execution of the leader of Iraqi resistance on Eid day and ISNA urging Muslims to become special agents of the FBI and still claiming to be Muslim.


Correction: A number of readers have written to us that the Bahraini sister DID NOT win the gold medal in the Olympics. We stand corrected; still it was a great achievement to have reached the olympics. We encourage Muslims to walk and run and eat less. That is the Sunnah.

Jamaat al-Muslimeen [News] [2 items]
Peaceful but uncmpromising
P.O. Box 10881
Baltimore, MD 21234

Rebuttal of Jewish-Zionist Attack on Jamaat al-Muslimeen's August 16 International Conference
A Zionist Smear: The ADL Attacks an Islamic Peace Conference
by Mark Weber -- Institute for Historical Review
http://www.ihr.org/news/aug08adl.html

The Anti-Defamation League is a master of deceit. A good example is the recent ADL blast against a conference in suburban Baltimore on August 16, 2008, where I was a speaker. Dedicated to peace and cross-cultural understanding, the meeting was organized by Jamaat al-Muslimeen, a local Islamic group.

The ADL, one of the world's most influential Jewish-Zionist organizations, calls it a gathering of "Far Right and Muslim Extremists" who found "common cause in their hatred of Jews and Israel." ( http://www.adl.org/main_Anti_Israel/jamaat_baltimore_conference.htm )

In fact, the conference brought together men and women of diverse religious and racial backgrounds, and a range of political views, who were united by devotion to peace and justice.

Contrary to what the ADL suggests, no conference speaker expressed hated of Jews. Instead, speaker after speaker emphasized the importance of promoting justice, peace and cross-cultural understanding. Ramsey Clark a prominent peace activist who served as US Attorney General in the Johnson administration -- spoke eloquently about the need for understanding between Christians and Muslims, and the dangers of an arrogant and militaristic US foreign policy. He movingly stressed the importance of justice even for the vilified and the powerless. Chuck Carlson, a Christian activist, spoke about his campaign to persuade churches to embrace the authentic Christian message of peace.

In my talk, I spoke in some detail about the dangerous consequences of the US alliance with Israel and of the Jewish-Zionist grip on American political and cultural life. I concluded with a call for awareness and unity for the sake of humankind. ( http://www.ihr.org/other/aug08weber.html )

After explicitly speaking against "hate," I emphasized: "We should not, and we do not, wish harm to any individual because of his or her ancestry, ethnic background, religion or privately held beliefs."

According to the ADL, "Weber told the audience that not only was the Iraq war the result of 'Jewish cabal,' but that the same 'Jewish cabal' is currently pushing for war with Iran." In fact, my only mention of a "Jewish cabal" was when I cited remarks of a prominent Labour Party member of the British parliament, who said in May 2003: "A Jewish cabal have taken over the government in the United States and formed an unholy alliance with fundamentalist Christians ... There is far too much Jewish influence in the United States."

As it has on many other occasions, the ADL once again described the IHR as a "Holocaust denial organization." But as the IHR website explains ( http://www.ihr.org/main/about.shtml ), this smear is "completely at variance with the facts... Every responsible scholar of twentieth century history acknowledges the great catastrophe that befell European Jewry during World War II."

In my talk, my only mention of the deaths of Jews during the Second World War was a single ten-word sentence I quoted from a speech by Malaysia president Mahathir Mohammed: "The Europeans killed six million Jews out of twelve million."

Is that what the ADL means by "Holocaust denial"?

Conference speakers, the ADL charges, were "well-known anti-Semites" and "prominent domestic extremists." For the ADL and its allies, of course, an "anti-Semite" is anyone who speaks forthrightly about Israel's inhumane and illegal policies, or the harmful role of the organized Jewish community in political and cultural life. As one witty commentator has put it, "An anti-Semite used to be someone who hates Jews. Now, it's someone whom Jews hate."

Only by the distorted standards of the ADL and its allies can the conference speakers be considered "extremists." In fact, the basic views and values presented at the meeting -- for peace, justice, and unity against war and oppression are supported by the vast majority of people of good will around the world.

The ADL claims to "counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry." In fact, the group routinely defends institutionalized discrimination of non-Jews by Israel, as well as the Zionist state's routine violations of human rights and international law.

As I explained in my talk, it's the ADL and its allies who are "extreme" and out of step with world opinion. But the ADL's minority view is not surprising, given its arrogantly ethno-centric mindset. This outlook was candidly spelled out by ADL National Director Abraham Foxman in an essay published in the group's monthly newsletter. He wrote: "...The Holocaust is something different. It is a singular event. It is not simply one example of genocide but a near successful attempt on the life of God's chosen children and, thus, on God himself. The ADL attack against the Baltimore peace conference is understandable, because Zionists fear the growing unity and sense of common purpose by people of diverse political and religious views who understand the Jewish-Zionist agenda and what it means for humanity. Given the ADL's track record of malice and deceit, this latest attack is a badge of honor.


Revolutionary Khutba [One of a series]
Fasting in Islam is not Just another Ritual which Removes Sins by Itself!
The Miracle of the Qur'an!


August 29, 2008. Dr. Kaukab Siddique gave the Juma' khutba at a small new masjid in the Baltimore area. There were about 70 people there, so the main points are given below in the hope that they will be picked up by others. [Interestingly, after the khutba, a brother who has given up Judaism and embraced Islam came to Dr. Siddique and expressed his appreciation for the khutba. His eleven year old son was with him and is learning to read the Qur'an in Arabic. An Ethiopian brother asked the khateeb a question about spousal relations during Ramadan and was satisfied with the answer.]


WAR NEWS: New Trend research
The Epic Defense of Loe Sam. 400 against 40.
Pakistani Forces Beaten Back by Islamic Fighters, Declare Victory after Relentless use of Air force: Hundreds Killed in Bombing of Bajaur, Swat, Adam Khel

September 1, 2008: Pakistani armed forces declared victory against Islamic fighters and announced cease fire for the month of Ramadan starting September 2 in Pakistan. However Pakistani air force and heavy artillery continued to pound suspected Taliban positions in Bajaur, Swat and Darra Adam Khel. Conservative estimates are that more than 400,000 Muslims have been uprooted from their homes by the Pakistani army's sustained offensive. Hundreds have been killed, mostly civilians, including women and children, as well as scores of Taliban fighters.

The real reason for the cease fire announcement, our researchers say, is not that the Pak military command suddenly became religious but because they were beaten back by elite forces of the Islamic movement known as the Pakistani Taliban.

The anti-Taliban New York Times [p.A7, 9.1 issue] admits that Pakistan's best troops were beaten back. It says that Pakistani forces' commander says that the famous Frontier Corp tried to take the a Taliban position in Bajaur known as Loe Sam THREE TIMES but was "bloodied." In each attack, the Frontier Corp used overwhelming forces, 400 troops backed by artillery. The Paks admit that at least 29 of their troops were killed. Thereafter the Frontier Corp hid in the fortress of Khar throughout the campaign while the air force bombed up and down Bajaur and heavy artillery kept thumping. [Loe Sam was captured by the Taliban earlier from the Paks.]

The second failure was that the bombing missed Taliban leaders. The army announced that it had killed Taliban leader Faqir Muhammad but he exposed the story by giving a radio interview soon after.

[As New Trend readers may remember, the Frontier Corp was armed and trained by the U.S. as a killer force against the Taliban.]


INDIA
Islamic Leaders Meet Indian President to Stop Anti-Christian Rampage
Hindu Mobs in Action: 300 villages burnt, 4,014 houses destroyed, 50,000 Christians hiding in Forests in a week
by Yogi Sikand

PRESS NOTE
New Delhi, September 1, 2008

Citizen's Delegation meets President Pratibha Patil; Demands that Indian Government use Article 355 to force Orissa administration to protect Christians

Violence continues even now, President is told by delegation led by Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, Maulana Mahmood Madani, MP, and Orissa Archbishop Cheenath.

300 villages burnt, 4,014 houses destroyed, 50,000 Christians hiding in Forests in a week

A Citizens Delegation met President Pratibha Patil on Monday morning calling upon her to enforce Article 355 of the Constitution of India on Orissa so that the Chief Minister Naveen Pattnaik administration takes adequate measures to protect Christians in the state from Hindutva violence..

The best legal opinion available to the delegation held that while Article 356 calls for imposition of President's rule when New Delhi takes over reins of power, Article 355 reminds both New Delhi and state governments of their duties to protect States against internal disturbance and should be brought into force now.

The delegation reminded the President that the violence that has continued against Christians in Orissa from 23rd August till today justifies the use of this Article. The violence far exceeds that of Christians 2007, the delegation told the President, reminding her that she had a big role to play at this juncture..

In fact, violence has spilled out of Orissa into neighbouring Madhya Pradesh. In Orissa, It is not confined to Kandhamal but has affected other districts. In Kandhamal, fifty thousand people are hiding in forests or are in a few refugee camps, hiding from murderous gangs seeking to kill them or convert them to Hinduism, Over 4,000 houses have been completely destroyed apart from now close to a hundred small and big churches which have been torched.

The Citizen's delegation, the first such to meet the President, was led by film maker Mahesh Bhatt and Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Hind President Maulana Mahmood Madani, MP, National Integration Council member Dr John Dayal, Orissa Archbishop Raphael Cheenath, Delhi Archbishop Vincent Concessao, Maharashtra Government State Minorities Commission vice chairman Dr Abraham Mathai, Jamiat leader Mohd Faruqi, Al India Christian Council regional secretary Rev Madhu Chandra, Delhi Catholic Archdiocese Federation President Adv Jenis Francis and Mumbai's Catholic Social Forum secretary general Joseph Dias were the other members.

The President gave the delegation a patient hearing and said she would have their demand for Article 355 examined. She said the government had briefed her on steps, which had already been taken. Mr. Bhatt told the President that the State government was in a coma; its police totally complicit in the violence and the Sangh Parivar was running havoc.
Maulana Madani said it was a matter of security of India's minorities. It was India's concern for its minorities that had brought it respect internationally, and it was the object of deep concern globally. Archbishop Cheenath, Dr John Dayal and Dr Mathai briefed the President in detail about the Sangh violence in the state which has continued after the murder of the VHP vice President Lakshmanananda Saraswati.

Following are excerpts from the Memorandum
Citizen's Memorandum to the President of India
September 1, 2008
Shrimati Pratibha Patil
The President of India
Your Excellency,
You are aware of the still continuing carnage against the Christian community, mostly Dalits and Tribals, in the Kandhamal district of Orissa and in several other districts including the state capital of Bhubaneswar since 23rd August 2003 following the killing of Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati, reportedly by Maoist groups who have been operating in the state for some time. The violence has now spread to some other states, especially Madhya Pradesh.
Nine months after attacks in Kandhamal District on Christians of Dalit, Hill peoples and Tribal ethnicity celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, we are deeply saddened by a repeat of the violence in the month of India's Independence. The Christmas 2007 attacks claimed the lives of at least four Christians, and we verified the destruction of at least 105 churches and 730 Christian homes. The current spate of violence will exceed these totals as it continues to spread into other districts. Our estimate from Ground Zero is of close to two dozen people dead, one a Hindu girl burnt to death working for a Christian orphanage, a Nun has been gang raped, religious men and women personnel humiliated, beaten, tortured, some close to death, while policemen have looked on, or have been absent. We appeal for the restoration of law and order. But the root cause must also be addressed.
We, the secular civil society community, perceive that the great nation of India is at a tipping point. The groups, which favour a "Hindu Rashtra", have made Orissa their laboratory, as they earlier did Gujarat. The so-called saffronisation of the state has been the subject of well-documented academic and socio-political studies. We entreat you, as President of the Republic, to enforce the rule of law upon Sangh Parivar organisations which blatantly flaunt their divisive agenda. Specifically, we call upon you to bring the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh, and Bajrang Dal under the rule of law.
As Orissa authorities have repeatedly said there was ample circumstantial evidence of Maoist involvement in the killing of VHP leader Lakshmanananda Saraswati and four others on August 23rd. Additionally, someone who identified himself as Azad, a leader of Maoist outfit, People's Liberation Guerrilla Army claim responsibility for the killing as Times of India carries the news on August 30 referring to an interview with a leading Oriya daily on August 29.1
Yet Praveen Togadia, VHP general secretary, told an international journalist on August 27, "It is clear that the church killed the Swami."2 Gouri Prasad Rath, Orissa state VHP secretary, said, "This attack is the handiwork of the Christians."3 Subhash Chavan, national co-convener of the Bajrang Dal, said, "The police are trying to hide the truth by blaming the Maoists."4 An unnamed RSS spokesperson said, "This is an attack by the agents of Christian missionaries, whose attempts at forcible conversions the Swamiji countered."5 RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav told CNN IBN on Tuesday night6 that Christians were behind the murders. Perhaps based on a media report7, Madhav The final word lay with RSS supreme Kupahalli Sudershan who in a Press Statement faxed to the Media called the late VHP vice President a martyr for "stopping Christians from carrying on coversions."
These types of irresponsible statements must be met with the full force of the law. They are all culpable for penal action under IPC 295A for the crime of creating enmity between communities and religions. This would benefit not only Orissa, but the nation. We sincerely wish Swami Saraswati was not murdered and he still might be alive if the state government had followed the recommendations of the National Commission for Minorities. The NCM urged the authorities to examine the speeches of Swami Lakshmanananda to determine whether they amount to incitement to violence.8 9
We are confident that, if this had been done, the swami would have been jailed and protected from coming to any harm.
Your Excellency, the violence in Orissa continues without adequate police forces to stop mobs which break curfew and harm innocent civilians, chasing our fellow countrymen and women like animals in the forests where they have taken refuge since August 24. Today the irresponsible leaders of hardliner Hindu nationalist groups are damaging our great democracy and secularism of the nation. We request you to order the Union Government and the State Administration to take legal action against the irresponsible organisations which called the bundh on Monday, Aug. 25, 2008 and have passively watched their members wreak havoc. They must, of course, fully investigate the murder of the VHP vice President.
This is to request you to use your powers as President of India, and the tremendous force of your good offices, to impress on the Central Government to rush adequate Union forces, including contingents of the Armed Forces if required, to restore law and order and governance in the Kandhamal region.
The consequences of any further delay, we the secular civil society fear, may be catastrophic for the small Christian community in the State in particular, for peace in Orissa in general, and for the fair name of India as a secular country.


1 http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Maoists_claim_Orissa_killing/articleshow/3423908.cms
2 "Indian state erupts in violence after Hindu shot", by Saeed Ahmed, CNN, Aug. 27, 2008.
3 "Orissa on edge, VHP scoffs at Maoist theory", see above
4 "Orissa tragedy takes a backseat, hunt starts for scapegoat", by Soumyajit Pattnaik, Hindustan Times, Aug. 25, 2008.
5 "Orissa: Bandh-related violence claims 9," by Krishnakumar P., Rediff.com, Aug. 26, 2008.
6 "Blind Faith? Fragile Peace Blown to Bits", CNN-IBN debate, Aug. 26, 2008, 10 p.m. IST.
7 "Widespread anger in Kandhamal", The Pioneer, Aug. 25, 2008.
8 "This mischievous [VHP & Sangh Parivar anti-conversion] campaign has created an atmosphere of prejudice and suspicion against the Christian community and Christian priests and organizations. The role of the Sangh Parivar activists and the anti-conversion campaign in fomenting organized violence against the Christian Community deserves close scrutiny." From "Report of the NCM visit to Orissa, 6-8 January 2008", http://ncm.nic.in/pdf/orissa%20report.pdf.
9 "The recommendation made by the NCM team that visited Orissa in January, 2008 that the State Government must look into the speeches of Swami Lakshmanananda to determine whether they amount to incitement to violence does not appear to have been acted upon." From "Report on the Visit of the Vice Chairperson, NCM to Orissa, 21-24 April 2008", http://ncm.nic.in/pdf/VC%20Tour%20Report%20of%20Orissa.pdf .


Pakistan: Islamic Leader warns, Pak Army is Undermining National Unity: 400,000 Made Homeless in Bajaur by Pak Bombing and Armored Columns

LAHORE, Aug 30: Jamaat-e-Islami ameer Qazi Hussain Ahmad has warned that no army could conquer its own citizens merely on the basis of American patronization, adding that military operation in tribal areas has seriously endangered country's security.

He was addressing lawyers at Karachi Bar Association on Saturday, where president of Bar Mehmoodul Hasan and secretary Naeem Qureshi also spoke.

Qazi said the war on terror was actually a war against Islam and Pakistan. He said the recent bombing in Bajaur has left over four hundred thousand citizens to evacuate their homes and take shelter in safe places and relief camps where they were languishing without food and essential needs.

Holding Army responsible for this catastrophe, Qazi asked how could people love Army when it treated them like that. Qazi also condemned PPP Co-chairperson Asif Zardari for violating his agreements and promises like Gen Musharraf, and announced that JI would support Justice Retd Saeeduzzaman Siddiqi for presidential elections. He also paid tributes to lawyers community for its valiant struggle for the restoration of independent judiciary, and said JI would back them till achievement of their goal.

Qazi criticized MQM for its terrorism committed against patriotic citizens, specially the May 12, 07 massacre, and expressed sorrow that in the absence of independent judiciary the victims' families were helpless since they could not move any courts for justice. He said Gen Musharraf also sold out a number of patriotic citizens to America but their families could not go to the court of Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar.

Qazi visited the house of JI leader Hasan Athar who was martyred by MQM terrorists a couple of days back and condoled with his family. He also visited the house of Dr Aafia Siddiqi and sympathized with her mother and sister over her abduction and illegal extradition to Washington for dollars by Gen Musharraf. He said JI would continue to extend all possible help to Dr Aafia, her lawyer and brother for seeking her release.


Pakistan's Historic Rally for Kashmir

Jama't-ud-Da'wah holds grand Kashmir Solidarity Conference
31-Aug-2008, 28th Shabaan, 1429

While addressing a grand Kashmir Solidarity Conference, part of which was held at Liaqat Bagh, Rawalpindi, first and then continued and concluded at Aab Para, Islamabad, on Sunday, August 31, 2008, Ameer, Jama't-ud-Da'wah Pakistan, Prof. Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, said the innumerable sacrifices offered by the Kashmiris would never go to waste and that the Kashmir freedom movement would continue till the liberation of Kashmir. He said the present government should take concrete steps for the resolution of the Kashmir issue and this issue must be highlighted again at the international fora with a new determination.

Former president AJK, Maj. Gen (Retd) Sardar Muhammad Anwar Khan; leader of Hurriyet Conference Ghulam Muhammad Safi; LHCBA president, Sardar Asmatullah Khan; Islami Tehreek leader, Allama Abd-ul-Jalil Naqvi; Gen. Sec., Jamat-e-Islami Azad Jammu Kashmir, Ch. Mehmood-ul-Hassan, and Ameer, Jama't-ud-Da'wah AJK, Maulana Abd-ul-Aziz Alvi, also addressed the gathering.

Hafiz Muhammad Saeed said Kashmir is Pakistan's jugular vein and the innumerable sacrifices offered by the Kashmiris would never go to waste and Kashmir would be liberated very soon. He called for the Kashmir issue to be resolved in accordance with the resolutions of the United Nations, and said the world community should favor and extend their help to resolve the Kashmir issue. He urged Muslims, especially Pakistanis, to boycott Indian products at all levels. Hafiz Muhammad Saeed said the present rulers should take interest for the solution of Kashmir issue, adding that any confidence building measures should not be implemented until the Kashmir issue is resolved. He said our rulers were not taking any solid step for the solution of this bone of contention between Pakistan and India due to the fear of West.

Hafiz Saeed said that unlike the first prime minister of Pakistan, Liaqat Ali Khan, who had swung his fist towards India and vehemently condemned New Delhi's occupation of Kashmir and had declared that now we will give a befitting reply to India, the present rulers were reluctant to voice disapproval of brutalities and atrocities committed by Indian forces in the valley. He said schools and hospitals were either closed or in ruins in Occupied Kashmir because of the excesses committed by Indian forces. He said Kashmiris were being denied education and health care by the occupation troops. He said former Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto's successors (the current PPP leadership) had disregarded the misery of the Kashmiris for the sake of establishing better relations with India. He urged political and religious parties and organizations of Pakistan to unite in support of the just struggle for freedom of the Kashmiris.

Maj. Gen. (Retd) Sardar Muhammad Anwar Khan said Kashmiris and Pakistanis are brothers, adding that Pakistan fully support Kashmiris in their right of self determination. He said the Kashmiris would carry out their struggle till the achievement of their goal. He urged India to withdraw its troops from Kashmir, adding that Kashmir is a beautiful valley but Indian troops had soaked the whole valley with the blood of Kashmiris. He said relations between Pakistan and Kashmir would be further strengthened, and that both people have a bright future together.

Hurriyet leader Ghulam Muhammad Safi said that the Kashmir movement would continue till the achievement of freedom of Kashmir. He called for the Kashmir issue to be resolved to the satisfaction of Kashmiris. He averred that the Kashmir freedom movement would be fruitful, saying that no one could deprive the Kashmiris of their right of self determination.

Both the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, especially the Liaqat Bagh and Aab Para Chowk areas, had been decorated with Jama't-ud-Da'wah flags, as well as banners inscribed with slogans which showed complete solidarity with the Kashmiris. Strict security measures had been made on the occasion to avoid any untoward incident. There was a multitude of people belonging to different walks of life as far as the eye could see who were repeatedly chanting anti-India slogans.


Helping non-Muslims Understands the Basic Rules of Islamic Fasting in Ramadan
by Imam Ali Siddiqui 1984, 2008

California Muslim Institute, 7153 Twinspur Ct., Corona Valley, CA 92880, siddiqui@aol.com , 951-734-4599

Muslims of the world will celebrate their blessed month of Ramadan starting Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2008. During this month, healthy Muslim adults will observe Fasting during the daylight hours. Muslim Fasting is a total abstention from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk for 29 or 30 days of the month of Ramadan. In addition, avoiding immoral behavior and anger and showing compassion is part of the requirements of the fasting. The purpose of fasting is manifold. Allah (the God Almighty) mentioned it in the Holy Book of the Muslims, Quran, that the fasting is prescribed for the believers as it was prescribed for the people before them, so that they may acquire self control and God-consciousness (Quran 2:183). Therefore, the purpose of fasting is to develop self-control, God-consciousness, improvement of health by reducing or eliminating impurities from the body, and to become aware of the plight of the poor, hungry, and the sick. Ramadan is a month of spiritual consciousness and high sense of social responsibility. The fulfillment of one's obligations during this month is rewarded by 70 times.

Fasting is one of the 5 pillars of Islam including Announcement of Faith, Salaat (praying 5 times a day), Zakaat (the right of the poor on the wealth of the financially able), Fasting during the month of Ramadan, and Hajj (once a life time pilgrimage to Kaaba). It is an obligation on every adult and healthy Muslim to fast during the month of Ramadan. The month of Ramadan is also the month in which the Holy Quran was sent down from 7th level of heaven to the 1st level, from where it was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in a piece meal basis over a period of 23 years. It is a very joyous occasion for the Muslims of the world. They fast during the day, pray, and read Quran during the part of the night. There is a special night called the Night of Power, which is mentioned in the Quran (Chapter 97), as a night of mercy and light. Worshiping during this night is better than the worship of 1,000 months. During this night, Muhammad was chosen by Allah, as the Messenger and Quran was sent to the 1st level of heaven. During this night, Allah (the God Almighty) sends down an army of special angels, under the leadership of Archangel Gabriel, who go to every nook and cranny of the earth to pray for the mercy of Allah (the God Almighty) and salvation of the believers.

Unlike common calendar, which is Solar based, Islamic calendar is Lunar based. It does not mean that Muslims worship moon. It is another way to count days of the month and the year. Like all Islamic months, Ramadan, 9th lunar month, begins after sighting the Crescent, but not the new moon. The population of Muslims in the US is estimated at 7 million, of which about 1 million lives in the Southern California. All healthy Muslim adults including homemakers, school-going kids around the age of 13, factory workers, businessmen, and others among them will be fasting. Your Muslim neighbors will be getting up very early to take their sahoor, a pre-dawn meal before starting their fast. So, don't get alarmed if you hear lot of noise next door. School staff has to show understanding and consideration towards Muslim students fasting during the month of Ramadan. They should be assigned alternate activities instead of strenuous gym activities. Physicians should also understand that their patients might be fasting. They should prescribe the medicine in a way that they could take it with their pre-dawn or after sunset meals. However, if the patients' life may be in jeopardy, explain it to the patients or seek help from a Muslim Chaplain at a local hospital, (like Imam Ali Siddiqui, 951-734-4599, Siddiqui@aol.com , a Hospital Chaplain in Southern California) or an Imam/director of a local Masjid/Islamic Center. According to Muslim physicians, there are some physiological benefits from Muslim Fasting (total abstention from food and liquids) including lowering of blood sugar, lowering of cholesterol, and lowering of systolic blood pressure.

At the completion of month of Fasting, Muslims all over the world celebrate their holiday of Eid al-Fitr. It is the biggest Muslim holiday. It is a true thanksgiving for a Muslim believer for having the opportunity to obey Allah (the God Almighty) by observing Fasting. It is celebrated on the 1st day of 10th lunar month, Shaw'waal. The holiday begins with Muslims putting on their best preferably new clothes and going to the Eid congregation. Eid congregations are very large gatherings of Muslim men, women, and children across the country. You can witness these gathering at local Convention Centers, Fair grounds, and/or Community Parks. Afterwards, people greet each other with hugs and handshakes. The children receive gifts of money and toys. After the congregation, Muslims visit each other at their homes and hold lunches or dinners for family and friends. Don't be surprised if you are invited to an Eid dinner or Eid celebration by your Muslim neighbor or friend. Please do accept such an invitation. The hospitality, friendliness, and variety of international Muslim cuisine will pleasantly surprise you. Greetings of Ramadan, Ramadan Karim!

The local police and other law enforcement agencies should take extra precautions, during this month around the local Masjid / mosque / Islamic Center and where the Eid Congregation will be held, for the safety of Muslims and their facilities. The Muslim Communities across the nation appreciate the local police officers and the law enforcement agencies for doing such a great job for their safety. Muslim Communities are also thankful of volunteers from many faiths who have provided support and vigilance. Thank you! May Allah, the Creator, look after you in your hour of need! Amen!

P.S. Muslims should call their local Masjid for the beginning and end of Ramadan.

Additional information can be acquired through e-mail: siddiqui@aol.com
About the author: Imam Ali Siddiqui is the President of California Muslim Institute; Vice Chair/Director, Peace with Justice Center of the Pomona Valley; and member of the Board of Directors: Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice, Los Angeles, UNA of Pomona Valley, and Corona-Norco Interfaith Association. For additional information about author's involvement, please visit onenationforall.org and/or Google: "Imam Ali Siddiqui"

2008-09-02 Tue 21:16:44 cdt
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