Faith

Essence of Ramzan

Prayer at Jamia Masjid in Salem

Prayer at Jamia Masjid in Salem   | Photo Credit: S_GURU PRASATH

Eid is an occasion to eliminate differences

According to tradition, Eid-al-Fitr (Ramzan) was instituted by Prophet Mohammed after his journey from Mecca to Madina (622 Hijri, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar). But the first recorded celebration is after the victory in the Battle of Badr (623 Hijri). A small band of fasting Muslims led by Prophet Mohammed defeated the Quraish on the 17th day of Ramzan in an unequal battle. Prophet could muster only 313 men with 70 camels and mediocre weapons while the opponents were 1,000 in number and well equipped. Many miracles occurred and the Prophet’s men won by Allah’s mercy. So it was both Thanksgiving and rejoicing time.

Ramzan is considered a holy month across the Muslim world. Arabs observed it as one of the truce months during which the tribes pledged not to attack one another. Prophet Mohammed used to retire to the caves to spend time in prayer and fasting. During one such spiritual retreat, the Holy Quran was revealed to him in the year 610 during the month of Ramzan. The Quran specifies: “Ramzan is the month in which the Quran was revealed as guidance to man and clear proof of guidance, And criterion (of falsehood and truth). So when you see the new moon you should fast the whole month...” (Quran 2:185).

Prophetic tradition says: “Do not fast until you see the crescent, and do not break your fast till Ramzan ends when the next new moon appears, or when 30 days of fasting have been completed.”

During fasting Muslims are exhorted to refrain from lying, greed, envy, breaking promises, hostility, indecency and speaking ill of others. Indulging in any one of these acts or sentiments is said to break the fast. Muslims consider the fast as the yearly spiritual training session. The end of the month of Ramzan culminates in Eid al-Fitr. The word Eid means ‘festivity’ or ‘recurring happiness.’

It is preferred to take bath (ghusl), perfume one’s self and wear one’s best attire on the occasion of Eid. Ja’far ibn-Muhammad relates from his father on the authority of his grandfather, who reported that the Prophet would wear a Yemeni cloak on every Eid. It is sunnah to eat an odd number of dates before going for the congregational Eid prayers.

Prayer in public

Though Eid prayers can be performed in the mosque, it is preferred to perform in a place outside the city as long as there is no excuse or reason to do otherwise (say rain) as the Prophet offered the two Eid prayers in the outskirts of Madina and he never prayed it in his mosque, except once because it was raining. Takbir (laudation/glorification) of Allah constitutes the prayer.

The khutbah (sermon) after prayer is a sunnah. Abu Saeed says: “On the day of Eid, the Prophet would go to the prayer place and begin with the salah and when he finished, he would face the people while they were sitting in rows, and he would admonish them, advise them and exhort them [to do good deeds]. Soon after the prayers the people exchange greetings.

Jabir ibn Nafir reports: “When the companions of the Prophet met each other on the day of Eid, they would say: ‘taqabbal minna wa minka [May Allah] accept it from us and you.'” Eid-al-Fitr is also known as festival of charity. It is the day to glorify and thank Allah. The righteous time to thank the Almighty is from the time one goes for the Eid prayer until the khutbah begins. The last ten days of Ramzan are considered to be very sacred. Giving zakath (alms) is another righteous duty during the month.

Eid is an occasion to eliminate differences. In many Muslim countries, the government pardons a certain number of prisoners on the occasion of Ramzan. In Egypt, this custom can be dated back to the 13th century. Ramzan is also a time for special prayers. At many mosques, imams present give extra discourses talks and additional formal prayers are offered. The Prophet announced that the Eid day was to rejoice and show solidarity among Muslims. They could laugh and enjoy themselves.

The aim of this festival is to promote peace and strengthen the feeling of brotherhood .

(The writer teaches Arabic in New College, Chennai. He is also an author of several Arabic books)

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 7:46:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/the-essence-of-ramzan/article24162480.ece

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