Ramadhan (Ramzan) - One of the five pillars of Islam

Hassan Sana MM *

Eid-ul-fitre celebration by Manipuri Muslims  at Hatta, Minuthong,  Imphal :: 09 August 2013
Eid-ul-fitre celebration by Manipuri Muslims at Hatta, Minuthong in August 2013 :: Pix - Deepak Oinam

The Arabic word Islam means peace, submission and obedience. The religion of Islam is the complete acceptance of the teachings and guidance of Allah as revealed to His Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

A Muslim is one who believes in Allah and strives for total recognization of his life according to His revealed guidance and sayings of the Prophet.

The word Allah is the proper name of God in Arabic. It has a unique term because it has no plural or feminine gender.

Islam does not teach or accept mere ritualism. It emphasizes intentions and action. To worship God is to know Him and love Him, to act upon His law in every aspect of life, to enjoin goodness, forbid wrong doing and oppression to practice charity, justice and to serve Him by serving mankind. Islam provides definite guidelines for all people to follow in all walks of life.

The guidance it gives is comprehensive and includes the social, economic, political, moral, and spiritual aspects of life. Islam is a solution for all the problems of life.

There are five pillars of Islam out of which Fasting the month of Ramadhan (Ramzan) is also one as indicated by the saying of the Holy Prophet "Islam stands on five (pillars):
To witness that there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is His Prophet;
to perform prayers;
to pay zakah;
to fast the month of Ramadhan and
to perform pilgrimage to Makkah".

The Muslims during the month of Ramadhan not only abstain from food, drinks, and sexual intercourse from dawn to sunset, but also from evil intentions and desires. It develops a sound social conscience, patience, unselfishness and will -power.

Obligation of fasting:

Fasting is obligatory upon every adult Muslim who is in his senses can bear it and is not travelling. Non-believers do not fast and they do not have to compensate for it when they embrace Islam. Children don't have to fast but they should be encouraged to fast so that they get used to it. The insane don't have to fast nor do they have to feed for it even if they are adults. Similar is the case with stupid or very elderly persons who don't behave sensibly. The invalids such as very elderly persons or persons having illness with no hope for their recovery should feed a needy person for everyday missed.

People befallen with a sudden illness waiting for recovery may not fast if they find it too difficult to do so and they should compensate (fasting) after their recovery. Pregnant and feeding mothers may not fast if they find it too difficult for themselves or for the fear for their children. They should compensate for these days after passing this period or when they no more fear.

Woman during their monthly cycles (menses) and bleeding after child birth should not fast in these days. They should compensate by fasting later on. People who need to break the fast to save the life of someone else should do so and compensate by fasting afterwards. Travelers can choose whether to fats during journey or compensate for it later on after reaching their destinations.

Things that nullify the fasting :

i) If someone indulges in sexual intercourse, during day hours of Ramadhan, he has to compensate for it by fasting in addition to a heavy penalty which is freeing a slave or fasting sixty consecutive days or feeding sixty hungry poor persons.

ii) Indulging in intentional excretion of semen by masturbation or caressing or kissing or hugging etc spoils fasting,

iii) Taking injections having food value (dietary drugs) breaks the fast if not injections having food value do not spoil fast whether they are IM or IV and irrespective of their taste being felt in the throat or not.

iv) Bleeding of menses or after child birth breaks fast,

v) Forcing out blood from the body through cupping or similar means break the fast. Bleeding by itself such as nose bleeding or during extraction of a tooth etc. do not break the fast as they are not regarded as cupping,

vi) Forcing out vomiting intentionally breaks the fast but vomiting by itself does not spoil the fast.

Things that do not nullify the fasting :

i) Fasting is not affected by eating or drinking something by mistake or unknowingly or by being forced to do so on the authority of the words of Allah, the Almighty,

ii) If someone gargles and water reaches his throat unintentionally, it will not spoil his fast as he did not intend it.

iii) Discharge of semen while in asleep also does not spoil the fast as one has no control over it.

iv) If someone eats or drinks assuming that the sun has set or that the dawn has not yet broken, it will not spoil his fasting because he did so unknowingly.

Rules of fasting:

i) A woman coming out of her incenses or child-birth bleeding before dawn must fast even if she washes herself after the dawn,

ii) It is permissible for a fasting person to apply ointment, lotions, etc. on his head or body or to use perfumes, but he should avoid inhaling the bakhoor smoke,

iii) Brushing of teeth by branches of trees (siwak) is not only permissible but desirable during all hours of fasting,

iv) To put medicine drops in his eyes and ears or to see eye powder even if the taste of the medicine drops are felt in the throat,

v) A fasting person can cool himself with water or air conditioner etc. it is permissible to spray in the mouth to get relief from suffocation due to pressure or asthma.

vi) It is permissible to wet one's lips if they dry up or to wash inside of the mouth with water without gargling,

vii) It is preferable to break the fast with a fresh date or any form of date or with water or with any permissible food or drink,

viii) A fasting person should perform his obligations and abstain form the prohibitions. He should offer daily prayers in time in congregation and must abstain from speaking lies, backbiting, deceiving someone, dealing in interest or indulging in anything prohibited whether verbal or practical.

From all the facts, highlighted above, we, irrespective of cast, creed and religion have come to know that everyone of us should learn something from this holy month "Ramadhan" as it teaches us mantythings so that we can live a happy and peaceful life.

We should avoid all the evil deeds. We should avoid the ill thoughts; instead we should think new thoughts for a new world. May Allah, the Almighty bless us.


* Hassan Sana MM wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is Principal, Fountain English School, Lilong.
This article was posted on July 16, 2014.

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