Saturday, 7 August 2010

Omani Holidays: What is Ramadan, and why?

ISLAMIC DEFINITION: In case you didn't know, the Islamic calendar is a lunar, not a solar calendar. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. From sunrise to sunset during the holy month, Muslims are to refrain from eating or drinking, sexual contact, also anything considered bad for them, like foul speech, or ill thoughts. It is a time to purify the soul, refocus attention on God, and practice self-sacrifice; thus Ramadan is much more than just not eating and drinking. Muslims believe that the devil is chained by Allah (God) during Ramadan, so all evil that comes from one is their own, so it is the best time to work on personal goals as Shaytaan (the devil) won't be able to influence anyone during this month.

Ramadan is also the first month in which the Holy Quran was revealed.

The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Quran, a guidance for mankind, and clear proofs of the guidance, and the Criterion (of right and wrong). And whosoever of you is present, let him fast the month.) (Al-Baqarah 2: 185)CULTURAL DEFINITION: The cultural Ramadan is spent with renewed religious attentivity (inshaAllah :), also time with family and friends, eating. A cultural Ramadan is one where everyone eats alot and gorges between sundown and sunrise. This isn't Islamic whatsoever, lol, but it is what one will see in Oman.Be acerful of the traffic before sundown. Accidents are terrible (as the driving is). Often work hours at jobs are eased to make the fast easier for those obliged.

Fasting is not obligatory of younger Muslim children.

Also, there is no Islamic requirement of non-muslims to refrain from eating or drinking or smoking ect in front of Muslims, this is a cultural (and sometimes legal) requirement of Muslim-majority countries. It is also a form of respect. I honestly, don't care if you eat or drink in front of me because I care about Islam and not culture, lol, but many Omanis consider it rude, and it is actually against the law in many places to flout it. I apologize for ANY law that is outside of the requirements of Islam. Sorry all non-Muslims. You are free to eat in front of me anyway, fasting is a privellage for me, and I won't be tempted by you're eating to give up the reward I believe in for the day, LOL.

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