Ramadan, the annual month of fasting and prayer for the Muslim world, started on Friday, the 20th of July and will continue for 30 days until Sunday, the 19th of August.
For my blog readers who may have heard of Ramadan but never knew the historical context here is some small background information but please Google to learn more and ask questions to your Muslim friends.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It is the Islamic month of fasting, in which participating Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, sexual conduct, smoking, and indulging in anything that is in excess or ill-natured; from sunrise until sunset. Fasting is meant to teach the Muslim patience, modesty and spirituality. Ramaḍān is a time to fast for the sake of Allah, and to offer more prayer than usual.
During Ramaḍān, Muslims ask forgiveness for past sins, pray for guidance and help in refraining from everyday evils, and try to purify themselves through self-restraint and good deeds. In addition to fasting, Muslims are encouraged to read the entire Qur'an. Each day a entire section (which is 1/30 of the Qur'an) is read, therefore the entire Qur'an would be completed at the end of the month.
To those who are non-Muslims, we invite you to participate with us. We all have some form of bad habit or urge that we would like to get under control, right? Whether that is food, too much Internet, texting addiction, gossiping, lack of reading, anger or cursing, how about you use the next 30 days to master it? Fasting is powerful and we invite you to join us.
Here is uplifting guidance from Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan from a message titled "Fasting Strengthens Discipline":
When we deprive ourselves of something so essential to life as water and food, for a period of 15 to 18 hours, during the heat of the day, this discipline imposed on ourselves makes it easy for us to discipline other hungers or desires.
When we can stop eating and drinking, drives which are natural to life itself, how much more easy is it for us to stop lying, stealing and the practice of those sins that destroy the peace and brotherhood of the society? This fast of Ramadan is one of the greatest means of inculcating self discipline.
We have all seen societies that are highly disciplined by authoritarian rule. This is a discipline imposed on others by a superior authority. Authoritarian rule often leads to excesses: Despots, tyrants and dictators.
Certainly the discipline imposed on the members of an authoritarian society does produce some good, but the greatest of all disciplines is that which we impose on ourselves.
Self discipline leads to the restraining of those passions in our own being that can be used by Satan for the destruction of ourselves and things around us. Self-imposed discipline leads to a healthy society, one where the people truly can rule.
Excessive eating leads to obesity which brings with it a myriad of other diseases culminating in heart failure, stroke, stress, etc. Excessive sex leads to promiscuity, fornication, adultery, the breakup of families and the destruction of the basic unit of civilization, as well as the killing of millions of unborn unwanted children.
The lust for material things leads to greed, avarice and the over consumption or acquisition of things, and ones glorying in things, that have no feeling, thereby denying the humanity in self and others.
The lust for power, to be recognized, can become so great that it gets out of control, then we see men and women destroying others to get what they want and where they want to go.
Anger is a force within the human being that is so potent, if it is not controlled it will lead to the destruction of the individual and others. You can see that there is a need for personal discipline in our lives.
The fast of Ramadan and the discipline of prayer at prescribed times during the day is the greatest aid in developing personal discipline and regulating our affairs and habits. [To read Minister Farrakhan's entire message please click here]