Hungry for Ramadan

Hungry for Ramadan

Ramadan Unplugged: The Last Ten Days

spiritual_retreat.jpgMuslims have spent two-thirds of the month of Ramadan in physical restraint and silent contemplation, and it is in the last third – the last ten days of Ramadan – where the remembrance of God approaches its peak. It is during this time that the practice of fasting and prayer is perfected, and the uninhibited communication between God and His servants takes place. This is the time for the most heartfelt prayers for forgiveness, for deep soul-searching, making amends to friends, and spending freely in charity.
One of the mysteries of this part of the month is Laylat al-Qadr, the Night of Power/Majesty/Destiny (translation varies), which is said to occur on one of the odd numbered days during the last third of the month. It is on this night — which the Qur’an says is better than 1,000 months — where sincere prayer wipes one’s sins clean. It is also during this period when it is encouraged to spend time in spiritual retreat (i’tikaf in Arabic), praying throughout the night.


A reliable hadith (saying of Prophet Muhammad) explains: “When the last one third of the night remains, our Lord, the Glorious One, descends towards the lower heaven and proclaims: ‘Is there anyone supplicating to Me so that I grant his supplication? Is there anyone begging of Me for anything so that I grant him his wish? Is there anyone who seeks My forgiveness so I forgive him?” Even with the difficulties of practicing Ramadan in America, it is hard to resist this clarion call, and a few lucky ones spend time in the mosque these last ten nights in concentrated prayer. And the really fortunate ones get to do all of the above in Mecca.
Of course, those of us who do not have the luxury of extra vacation time have to make do with lesser alternatives. One such alternative that is well-suited to life in America (and that I hope is replicated elsewhere) is the AMILA Ramadan Spiritual Retreat, a weekend gathering that was held last week at the Pigeon Point Lighthouse along the northern California coast. This retreat has been held for 16 years, and I’ve been fortunate to attend seven of them. A small group of men and women gather, joined by a few religious scholars, and engage in religious discussion, joint prayer, and dhikr (chanted remembrance of God).
It is difficult to describe the feeling of connection to God during these last few days. You have walked away from all that is familiar to you, staying up in the middle of the night when your body cries for your bed, holding your hands out in anticipation of catching divine mercy as it falls from the skies. There is a serenity in doing it alone, but there is also a beauty in doing it with other worshippers. It is, in many ways, the heart of Ramadan.

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posted October 3, 2007 at 6:40 pm

I grew up a Muslim family, and never really understood much about what they believed. I spent years asking questions but never got answers which ‘made sense’. However, my Christian neighbours who practised what they preached, love of one another, regardless of where ones’ faith was placed,invited me to a Bible study , and were my eyes opened !. They had answers to why and what they believe, which was Jesus is the Son of God, who died for all our ‘sins’ and if we accepted him , we will have eternal life with Him in Heaven. Not only that,I saw other sick people being healed , ( never saw that in the Muslim faith) people got jobs, deliverance from ‘drugs’ and mental illness and many more great miracles. All this took place in the homes of simple people, without ‘fuss’ , but just belief in the power of Jesus. Needless to say, I accepted Christ, and it was the best thing to happen to me. One day I will stand before God to be judged, and I cant wait.There is only one way, and its through Jesus, and Him alone. Come to your senses,Jesus is at the door, ready to return . Be bless !

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posted October 4, 2007 at 8:43 am

I would like to say that it is because your parents never really understood Islam that they didn’t give you the answers. You should have looked at Islam for yourself since your parents never practised nor preached their religion according to what you’re saying. Some of what the Bible says is true because Jesus did receive doctrines from God, these doctrines may still be part of the Bible but since the Bible underwent many changes it is not clear what parts of the Bible contain God’s words. What’s definitely not true is to say that Jesus is the son of God; Jesus was a prophet, why do you think he preached the word of God. He could also perform miracles because he is a chosen prophet from God. Who do you think he was praying to in the garden of Gethsemane, in the mountains and on the cross (not that Muslims believe he died on the cross)? Also, a lot of Christians think that he must be God’s son because he had no father are you forgetting that Adam and Eve had no father or a mother which is more of a miracle. Does that mean that God is their father too? No, just because God created them it does not mean that he’s their father. God isn’t a human like us he will never be a father or anything like that.
In the creation story it says that God created the heavens and the Earth in six days and used the seventh day to rest. Surely you could see how clearly wrong it is to assume that God rests like a human. God doesn’t feel tired or fatigued. Imagine you’re praying for God and he’s too exhausted to listen to your prayer. It’s illogical to think that God needs rest. Also Jesus said in the bible that ‘the father cannot bear the burden of the son and the son cannot bear the burden of the father’ so how can Jesus go on to forgive all of our sins even when these people were still sinful. Does that mean that if some rapist or a murderer died when Jesus forgave our sins that they will enter heaven because Jesus died on the cross? This makes no sense whatsoever because God put us here to test our goodness and faith in him so why would sinners go to heaven when all they’ve done is disobey what he has said (without repenting)? Unlike the Bible the Koran is literally the word sent from God. It has never been edited or anything, there are no spelling, punctuation or any sort of human error in any of its pages. The church keeps changing and correcting the Bible (Fact) so the message would have lost a lot of its meaning. There is no ambiguity in the Koran because it’s simply the word of God and so it’s not open to any human error. Whilst the bible has been changed throughout history and is ambiguous a lot of the time. The Koran is 100% Gods word and is not a biography of someone’s life that was written many years after his death (like in Jesus’ case). Jesus is the prophet of God (that’s why Islam and Christianity have a lot in common). Not once did Jesus claim to be God.
There are actual scientific facts that are stated in the Koran which was written 1400 years ago that were only recently discovered using the technology of today. What more proof do you need that this is a divine book by God? How can you go wrong with the God that Jesus prayed to, how can you go wrong with the God that every single prophet you can think of obeyed? I hope you don’t get offended when I point out the mistakes of the Bible because it’s not my intention. I’m just trying to get you to understand the truth. Thanks for reading.

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posted October 4, 2007 at 9:59 am

no compulsion in religion Vidia… there is no need for anyone to “come to their senses” … a relationship with God is a personal matter.

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posted October 4, 2007 at 12:44 pm

i agree that there is no complusion in religion, we can argue all day about who is right and who is wrong, each person will have to make his/her own decision and be judged based on that. i wish all of you peace, mercy and blessings in ramadan and throughout the year.

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