|Observation of the rising of the crescent new moon marking the begining of the month officially begins Ramadan.|
Note—Yesterday as the United States opened its new embassy in Jerusalem presided over by Presidential daughter Ivanka, her husband Jarred, an assortment of apocalypse-rooting, anti-Semitic Evangelical preachers, a Chief Rabbi who thinks Blacks are monkeys, and gloating ghoul Benjamin Netanyahu, at least 54 unarmed Palestinians were murdered on the Gaza border. Today is the 60th anniversary of the beginning of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War which established the State of Israel and which is marked by Palestinians as the beginning of the Nakba—the Catastrophe—in which a whole people were deprived of their nation, made homeless, and forced into generations of harrowing existence in refugee camps. Tiny, crowed Gaza would be the home of many of those refugees. Today will also herald the beginning of Ramadan, the holiest month of Islam in most of the world. Ponder the multiple ironies.
|The perfect wordless meme describes Amerian hypocracy and collusion in crimes against humanity on the eve of Ramadan.|
In most of the Islamic world sun down tonight will start Ramadan, the ninth month of the Muslim Calendar, a holy period of fasting. The date is calculated by the first sighting of the crescent after the New Moon. Since this can vary in different parts of the world, so can the marked beginning of the month. In the United States the western calendar date is May 15.
A movement to mark the beginning by astronomical calculation, rather than by visual confirmation thus standardizing the observance is embraced in some of the Islamic world, but bitterly resisted by some traditionalists.
This year in deeply traditional Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates religious leaders observe the new crescent using powerful telescopes are expected to spot the moon in the usual crystal-clear skies over the desert. Religious authorities there will declare that tomorrow May 16, will be the first full day of of Ramadan for Hijri year 1439.
Because it is calculated by a lunar, rather than the western solar calendar, Ramadan floats backward 10 or 11 days each year in relationship to the Gregorian Calendar.
Ramadan was the month in which the first verses of the Qur’an were revealed to the Prophet Mohammad.
The month of fasting is a period of cleansing as the faithful rededicate themselves to Allah by emphasizing patience, humility, and spirituality by an absolute fast observed by all Muslims over the age of puberty each day between dawn and dusk. The observant are also called to be more reverent and fervent in prayer. During Ramadan the entire Qur’an is often read in mosques in 30 installments.
|British Muslims share an Iftar meal breaking the fast of Ramadan after sunset.|
Dawn to dusk fasting is significantly longer every day for Muslims in northern latitudes where the day is longer than close to the equator. This affects the growing number of believers across North America, northern Europe, and parts of Russia and China. That has caused tensions between traditionalists and moderates in some countries. In Britain moderate scholar Dr. Usama Hasan of the Quillian Foundation issued a Fatwa—simply a ruling or opinion by a recognized Islamic scholar—that Muslims there should observe the hours of fasting at Mecca, around 12 hours a day, instead of during the up to 20 hours of daylight in the northern Scotland. Traditionalists in Great Britain’s diverse Muslim population still demand a dawn to dusk fast. It is unclear how many believers will embrace the new Fatwa.
Islam is the world’s fastest growing religion due to a population explosion across much of its traditional territories, migrations, and conversions particularly in Africa and North America. And that, along with the emergence of violent fundamentalist movements, causes much anxiety.
In the United States resentment against Muslims is on the rise yet fueled by xenophobic hysteria and exploited by Donald Trump.
|American Muslims in Oklahoma observe the duty to provide charity by feeding the needy during Ramadan.|
Customs connected to the Ramadan observance vary somewhat culturally and between Sunni and Shi’a traditions. In more secular Islamic countries evenings after the fast are often filled with feasting and entertainment, while attendance to evening services following a modest breaking of the fast is customary in more traditional societies. Acts of charity to the poor are encouraged.
|The joyous embrace after final Ramadan prayers on Eid=al-Fitr.|
The holiday of Eid-al-Fitr marks the end of the fasting period of Ramadan and the first day of the following month, after another new moon has been sighted, 29 or 30 days after the onset of Ramadan. This is the most festive of Islamic holidays marked by the donning of new clothes, feasting, and family gatherings.
The proprietor of this blog sincerely wishes his Muslim friends Ramadan Mubarak!