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Fasting = (AlSawm)

Q: What is the importance of Ramadan (The month of fasting)?

A: The month of Ramadan in which the Qur'an was sent down as a Right Guidance (to Allah = Huda) to humanity (= LilNas) and as eye-opening proofs (Bayyenat) of the Right Guidance and the Criterion to differentiate right from wrong - so whoever from you is present this month he must fast - and who is sick or is traveling then other days should be made up - Allah (by fasting) wants for you easiness and does not want for you hardship - and complete the required days and glorify Allah for what he had guided you to and maybe you become thankful.
Translation of: Ayat 185, Surat AlBaqarah. (2:185)
Words: Shahr = month, Ramadan = Fasting month, Unzila = Sent down, Huda = Right Guidance (not wrong guidance), Bayyenat = As eye-opening proofs - Evidences - As Explaining messages, AlHuda = The Right Guidance, AlFurqan = The Criterion to differentiate right from wrong, Yassum = Fasts, Mareedh = Sick, Ala Safar = Traveling, Ayam = Other days, AlYusr = Easiness, AlUsr = Hardship - Difficulty.

Q: Besides fasting and praying what should we do in Ramadan?

A: And if My people ask you (Prophet Muhammad) about Me (say) I am really Near listening to the call of the caller if he calls Me so they should answer My Call (= Yastajeebou Li) and believe in Me (Allah) perhaps they may be guided to the Right Path (Allah's Straight Path to Paradise).
Translation of: Ayat 186, Surat AlBaqarah.
Words: Sa'alaka = Asked you, Ibaadi = My people, Qareeb = Near, Ujeeb = Listening, Da'waha = Request, Da'ani = Calls Me, Yuminou, = Believe (plural), Yurshadoun = Be guided to the Right Path.

Q: Why is fasting a Mercy from Allah upon the believers?
A: Counted days (of Ramadan) so whoever from you is sick or is travelling so other days should be made up and those who have no strength for it a ransom of one poor person's food and who gives voluntarily charity it is better for him >and to fast is better for you (plural) if only you knew.
Translation of: Ayah 184, Surat ABaqarah.
Words: Ayam = Days, Ma'doudat = Counted, Mareedh = Sick, Ayam = Days, Yateeq = Has no strength for it, Fidyah = Ransom, Ta'am = Food, Miskeen = Poor, Khair = Charity, Khairun lahu = Better for him, Tat'tawa' = Gives voluntarily, Tasoumou = You fast.

Q: Besides fasting, what does Allah allow in Ramadan?
A: It has been permitted to you (plural) , on the night of the fasting, to approach your wives; they are your relief and you are their relief. Allah has known that you were cheating among yourselves, so Allah accepted your repentance and forgave you; so now you can have sexual intercourse with them and seek what Allah has prescribed to you; and eat and drink until the white thread becomes clear from the black thread at dawn; then complete your fasting until the night; and do not have sexual intercourse with them (your wives) when you are staying in mosques (Aakifoun), those are the forbidden limits from Allah so do not come near them. That is how Allah makes his lines clear to people; perhaps they might be in awe (of Allah).
Translation of: Ayah 187, Surat ABaqarah.
Words: Uhilla = It has been permitted, Laylat AlSiyam = The night of the fasting, AlRafath = Approach (sexual talk during intercourse), Nisa' = Wives, Libas = Relief, Takhtan = Cheat, Taba = Accepted your repentance, Afa = Forgave, Bashir = Have a sexual intercourse, Kataba = Prescribed - Dictated, Kul = Eat, Ishrab = Drink, Yatabayin = Becomes clear, AlKhait = the thread, AlAbyadh = The white, AlAswad = The black, AlFajr = The Dawn, A'kif = Staying in the mosque (for the last days of Ramadan). Hudud = Forbidden limits, Taqrabouha = Come near them, Yattaqoun = Be in awe.

Q: Does the month of Ramadan has a special night in it?
Note: In a summary of a saying of the Prophet Muhammad: Look for the Night of the Fate (Laylat AlQadr) on the night of the day 21, 23, 25, 27 or 29 of the last ten days of Ramadan. The Day that follows the Night of the Fate is marked by mild sunshine and rain together.
A: We indeed sent it (The Qur'an) down in the Night of the Fate (Laylat AlQadr in Ramadan); And what do you know about the Night of the Fate; The Night of the Fate is better than one thousand months; ---; Peace it (the Night) is until the beginning of dawn.
Translation of: Ayat 1 - 3, 5 Surat AlQadr. (97:1-3, 5)
Note: The translation of ayah 4 in Surat AlQadr.
* AlRouh is the ArchAngel Gabriel peace be upon him.
Please note some Muslims think the AlRouh is the souls of the dead. This is wrong. Because souls are Arwah (plural) and not rouh (spirit or soul in Arabic). The souls of the dead do not come to visit in this life because they are
staying in the state of "AlBarzakh".
More about AlBarzakh. Another description of AlBarzakh. And more about AlBarzakh in the Chapter of "death" in this site.
Words: Inna = We indeed, Anzalnahu = We sent it down, Laylat AlQadr = The Night of the Fate, destiny (in the month of Ramadan), Ma = What, Adra'ka = You know, Khair = Better, Alf = Thousand, Shahr = Month, Salam = Peace, Hea = It is, Hatta = Until, Matle' = Beginning, AlFajr = The dawn .

Q: Is Fasting dictated upon Muslims only?
A: O people who believe fasting is dictated upon you as it was dictated upon those before you (Jews and Christians) so that you may protect yourselves (by fearing Allah).
Translation of: Ayah 183, Surat AlBaqarah.

Note: Last year some Muslims in Toronto started Ramadan on August 11th while others on August 12th, 2010.
Note in the following translation of a saying of the Prophet Muhammad that the Prophet said fast on account of viewing the crescent (= liRou'yatihi) (by anyone) and did not say "fast when you view it".
Note: In a translation of a saying of the Prophet Muhammad: Fast (begin Ramadan) at the time of viewing it (on account of viewing the Crescent of Ramadan) and break the Fast (Ramadan ends) at the time of viewing it (Crescent of Shawwal) but if it (crescent) is covered from you (all) then complete the duration of Sha'ban thirty days. (= Soumou liRou'yatihi waAftirou LiRou'yatihi faIn gabiyya (or ghumma) alikum faAkmilou Iddata Sha'ban thirty days. Source: Riyadh AlSaliheen Min Kalam Sayed AlMursaleen. In Arabic, page 348. And another source:Tafseer Ibn Kastheer, Volume 1, Page 328.
Words: Kutiba = Is dictated, AlSiyam = Fasting, Qablikum = Before you, Tatatqoun = Protect yourselves by fearing Allah.

Q: What are the (12) cresent moons per Islamic year?
A: They ask you about the crescent moons say (command to Prophet Muhammad) they are timekeepers* for people and the Pilgrimage - and it is not of virtue to enter houses from their back (doors)** but virtuousness is whoever protects himself (by fearing Allah) - and do enter the houses from their (front) doors and protect yourselves by fearing Allah so that you may prosper.
Translation of: Ayah 189, Surat AlBaqarah.
* The moon is to teach us counting and keeping track of years. Its beginning should not be an issue of disagreement among Muslim groups.
(Muslims differ because of a misunderstanding in the interpretation of a saying of the Prophet Muhammad).
** Pre-Islamic tradition of Arabs of Arabia who thought it is more virtuous to enter the house from the back when coming back from travel. Source: Tafseer Ibn Kastheer, Volume 1, Page 328.
Note: Muslims in Metro Toronto/Canada fasted the same day of the year 2011 but they again differed in ending it. Some communities for example Bengalis and Arabs here are celebrating it on Tuesday 30 August as is the case in the majority of the Arabian Peninsula. Some other communities like Indians and Pakistanis are going to celebrate it on Wednesday 31 August so they fast 30 days. (Some use astronomical technology or follow others who saw the new crescent moon that ends Ramadan. Others insist on seeing it in their vicinity). Also note that the time difference does not interfere with when Eid should be celebrated. If the the East has a Tuesday morning the West has also a Tuesday morning). May Allah guide us all.
Words: Yasalounaka = They ask you, AlAhillah = The crescent moons, Mawaqeet = Timekeepers - Determining the time, Laysa AlBir = It it not of virtue, Ta'tou = To enter, AlBoyout = The houses, Dhohouriha = From their back, Tuflihoun = You prosper.

Q: What other type of fasting were some pious believers commanded by Allah to perform as a Special Sign of obedience of Allah's Commands?
Note: Please read first the translation of the preceding Lines 1 - 9 in Surat Maryam.
A: He (Zacharia) said my God give me a Sign - He (Allah) said your Sign is that you do not talk to people for three nights (days) together.
Translation of: Ayah 10, Surat Maryam. (19:10)
Words: Ej'al li = Give me, Sthlalth = Three, Layal = Nights, Sawiyya = Together.

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