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Old 07-15-2014, 04:06 AM #1
anami
 
 
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Thumbs up Ramadan Kareem

Ramadan is the name of the ninth month of the lunar calendar
Ramadan is a very special month for the Muslims, as in it Muslims around the world perform various types of worship, the most important of them being fasting. This fasting of Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam, mandatory upon all adolescents and adults who have the ability. Ramadan is also the month in which the first revelation came to the Prophet Muhammad, and thus is called the “Month of the Quran”. During this month, there is a noticeable change in people’s lives as well as societies. This article will describe a typical day of a Muslim during this month of forgiveness.


Fasting of the Day
In most Muslim countries, workload and schedules are lightened in order to accommodate for the special features of this month. Children go to school at a later time to accommodate for their early rise and the late night prayer, and the majority of businesses close well before dusk. Many stores also remain open throughout the night.
During daylight hours until the sun sets below the horizon.

Muslim abstain all types of food and drink, as well as sexual intercourse with their spouses. This creates a sense within the Muslim throughout the day that they are obeying the commands of God, as they leave things which are perfectly permissible at other times. This created within the Muslims a conscience which encourages them to leave those deeds impermissible at all times. Muslims, dry-mouthed from lack of water and abstaining from all types of food seen throughout the day, gain a sixth sense – God consciousness - and this is the goal of fasting the month of Ramadan. God says in the Quran:
“Fasting has been prescribed for you as it has been prescribed for those before you in order that you become of the God-conscious.” (Quran 2:183)


Fasting is a secret worship which a person offers to God. He may very well eat and drink in privacy without anyone coming to know of it… but the trait which keeps the Muslim from doing so is this consciousness of His Lord.
For this reason, one sees that many sinful Muslims as well leave many of their sins during this blessed month, due to its sacredness, and one hopes that this will cause them to be more faithful throughout the remainder of the year.
The Prophet warned Muslims against certain sins they might easily fall into and thus ruin the goal of fasting. The Prophet said:
“Whoever does not stop speaking falsehood and acting in accordance with it, God has no need of him giving up his food and drink.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)
He also warned against being provoked into behaving rudely. He encouraged Muslims to respond to one who may provoke him by saying:

“Indeed I am fasting, Indeed I am fasting.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)
These Prophetic sayings are clear in that the main benefit of Ramadan is spiritual and moral rectitude.
Thus one finds in Muslim societies that a spirit of peace dwells in the hearts of Muslims throughout Ramadan, due to the extra worship and avoidance of all evilness and ill manners. One finds that people are generally more easy to deal with and lighthearted, and when one lives in a society for one month in which most of the people are fasting, the sense of unity and brotherhood which results is unmatched by any other occasion, except maybe the Hajj.


Iftar, or Breakfast
As the day ends, Muslims gather in their homes in wait for sunset. Mothers and daughters are usually busy at this time preparing breakfast and dinner, while men usually return from their work and slip into more comfortable clothes, either taking time to recite the Quran or help out in the preparation for breakfast. Before sunset, the family gathers at the dining table in wait for the mu’ezzin, utilizing this time supplicating to Allah and asking Him for His Mercy.
“Indeed for each fasting person there is a prayer which is answered when they break their fast.” (Tuhfat-ul-Muhtaj)
Once the call to prayer is heard, Muslims hurry to break their fast with dates, in emulation of the Prophet, and offer words of gratitude taught by the Prophet.
“The Thirst has been quenched, and the veins have become moist and full, and the reward is certain, God willing.” (Abu Dawood)


Many Muslims add:
“Oh Allah, indeed for You Alone I have fasted, and in You alone I have believed. With your provisions I have broken my fast, and upon You I have trusted.”
Muslims then eat a light meal of various appetizers and drinks. Many times, Muslims find themselves either invited or inviting others, whether they be members of the extended family, one’s friends, or the poor. The majority of mosques also offer free food in order ease the sufferings for the poor. May mosques hold iftar in order to strengthen community ties, common in countries in which Muslims are minorities. Prophet Muhammad encouraged to feed others during this blessed month in his saying:
“Whoever gives food to a fasting person with which to break his fast, he will have a reward equal to his (the fasting person)…” (Al-Tirmidhi)
Special rations are also distributed to needy households in the beginning of the month by charitable organizations to meet the needs of the month.


The delight felt at breaking fast is one truly indescribable. Never does the most meager of meals seem so tasty or bring so much joy to a believer. Indeed the Prophet spoke the truth when he said:
“The fasting person will feel two moments of joy: one moment when he breaks his fast and another when he meets his Lord.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)
There is no time at that point to eat a large meal, as sunset is the time for another prescribed prayer. Muslims prepare to attend the congregational prayer, mostly always at walking distance. After attending the dusk prayer, some Muslims eat dinner, while others delay eating until the night prayer is finished, an event which is one of the main features of the night of Ramadan, another spiritual dimension of this blessed month of mercy and blessings.

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Old 07-15-2014, 01:09 PM #2
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I never understood the fasting aspect of religion. It seems to me that denying your body what it needs is self-defeating.

I understand that exceptions are made from fasting for the old, infirm, or the very young. But if fasting is as terrific as many religions advertise, then why make exceptions?
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Old 07-16-2014, 02:27 AM #3
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I never understood the fasting aspect of religion. It seems to me that denying your body what it needs is self-defeating.

I understand that exceptions are made from fasting for the old, infirm, or the very young. But if fasting is as terrific as many religions advertise, then why make exceptions?
There is this story about an Egyptian whose Doctor prescribed to him some medication in order to prepare him before he gets operated on, to rid him off certain tumor in his stomach. When he realized that the medication would prevent him from fasting, which it was about to begin, he became so sad and then gave his trust to Allah by fasting, with the hope that Allah will cure him.

Lo and behold, a miracle happened! This man went back to his doctor after Ramadan and the doctor examined him and he realized that, the tumor that he supposed to operate him and removed was nowhere to be found, and he told him about it, and the man then revealed to the Doctor that, perhaps he was cured because he fasted, and the doctor admitted to him the medical advantages of fasting, confirming what the Qur'an says.
Consider the Eleven Basic Medical Benefits of Fasting

A medical expert, Dr. Cinque summarizes it all very well below:
1. Fasting promotes detoxification. As the body breaks down its fat reserves, it mobilizes and eliminates stored toxins.
2. Fasting gives the digestive system a much-needed rest. After fasting, both digestion and elimination are invigorated.

3. Fasting promotes the resolution of inflammatory processes, such as in rheumatoid arthritis.
4. Fasting quiets allergic reactions, including asthma and hay fever.
5. Fasting promotes the drying up of abnormal fluid accumulations, such as edema in the ankles and legs and swelling in the abdomen.

6. Fasting corrects high blood pressure without drugs. Fasting will normalize blood pressure in the vast majority of cases, the blood pressure will remain low after the fast, if the person follows a health-supporting diet and lifestyle.

7. Fasting makes it easy to overcome bad habits and addictions. Many people have overcome tobacco and alcohol addictions by fasting, and even drug addictions. Fasting rapidly dissipates the craving for nicotine, alcohol, caffeine and other drugs.

8. Fasting clears the skin and whitens the eyes. It is common to see skin eruptions clear while fasting, and the whites of the eyes never look so clear and bright as they do after fasting.
9. Fasting restores taste appreciation for wholesome natural foods. People say that their taste buds come alive after fasting and that food never tasted so good.

10. Fasting is the perfect gateway to a healthful diet and lifestyle. Going on a fast gives you the motivation and enthusiasm to make a fresh start.
11. Fasting initiates rapid weight loss with little or no hunger. Most people are surprised at how little desire for food they have while fasting.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7VezcjXNec

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Old 07-17-2014, 04:12 AM #4
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Every Muslim who is adult and in possession of his faculties must fast Ramadan. They are exempted, however, in the following cases:

1. Women in menstruation, or in child-birth bleeding.
2. Persons on sick bed, or on a journey.


Women who are Bleeding during Menstruation of Child-Birth

1. Women in menstruation, or bleeding after giving birth, shall not fast.
2. If Ramadan begins while a woman is in menstruation or child-birth bleeding, she shall not fast until bleeding ceases in both cases and she takes the ritual bath.
3. If bleeding occurs during Ramadan, then a woman shall break the fast.
4. When bleeding ceases, a woman must wash and then fast. If she does not find water, she must perform the ritual purification with sand (tayammum).
5. If bleeding ceases during the night, she can formulate the intention to fast and lose no time in washing but postpone taking a bath until after dawn, providing she does so before sunrise.
6. If a bleeding woman deliberately postpones the bath until after sunrise, thereby missing the morning prayers, then her fast shall not be valid.
7. A bleeding woman shall fast a number of days equal to those she missed because of bleeding. `Aisha said :"In the Prophet's time we were ordered to compensate for fasting days missed in bleeding but were not ordered to perform restitution for our missed prayers"


The Sick, and Persons Traveling

(1) Out of Allah's mercy, a sick person or a traveller was instructed to fast a number of days equal to those he missed during Ramadan.

(2) The Quran did not mention any specific kind of sickness and did not describe the sickness which exempts a person from the fast during Ramadan. Therefore, a person suffering from any ailment whatsoever of the stomach, side, eye, heart, etc... may apply this stipulation. The Quran contains a general statement and does not specify the severity of pain or degree of danger involved.

Some of the early `ulama granted the exemption even in the case of a painful finger.

(3) The Quran also did not specify, in the case of a journey, the distance or means of transport used. So the stipulation applies in all cases of travel whether a person is travelling on foot; on an animal ; by train, or by plane.

Ulama differed, however, as to the distance which grants the exemption. Several authorities reported that one of the prophet's companions, a man by the name of Dihya Ibn Kalifa travelled during Ramadan for about three miles and had considered the distance sufficient to justify his breaking the fast, as did a number of people who were with him.

(4) The following are some regulations regarding travelling in Ramadan:

(a) A person may or may not break the fast if lie happens to be travelling during Ramadan; Anas Ibn Malik said "We used to travel with the Prophet. He never criticised those who had been fasting or those who had broken the fast."

(b) To break the fast is preferable if the journey threatens a person's health. Jabir reported that the Prophet passed a crowd with a man in their midst placed in the shade. Asking about the man, the Prophet was told he was fasting. Whereupon the Prophet said that it was not healthy to fast on the road.

(c) It is also preferable to break the fast when the warriors approach the enemy. Abu Sa'id reported : "We travelled in the company of the prophet to Mecca. We were fasting and we approached Mecca. The Prophet told us "You have neared your enemy and it will give you more strength if you break the fast".

(d) If a clash with the enemy is certain, then breaking the fast is imperative. Abu Sa'id, continuing his previous report, said "Then we came closer to Mecca. The Prophet told us "Tomorrow you will meet your enemy ; therefore break the fast.' And we did so."

(e) A traveller, who happens to be observing the fast, may break it any time he feels like doing. Ibn `Abbas said : "The Prophet and the believers went out during Ramadan in the year of the conquest of Mecca. On the road they passed by a stream. It was noon and the thirsty people stretched out their necks while their souls burned with the desire to drink. The Prophet called for a vessel full of water which he held up on high so that every body could see it. Then he drank and everybody else followed his example."

(f) One may break the fast before starting on a journey. Muhammad Ibn Kab said: " I called at the house of Anas Ibn Malik one day in Ramadan Anas was preparing to go on a journey. His camel was saddled and he was dressed for the journey. He asked for food, which he ate, and I said to him : "Is breaking the fast in this fashion a sunah (an act of the Prophet) ?` He answered : `Yes, it is a sunnah.' Then he mounted and left".

(g) If a man happens to enter during his journey a town where he does not intend to stay permantly, he may fast or break the fast. Ibn `Abbas reported : "The Prophet embarked on the conquest of Mecca during Ramadan He observed the fast until he reached al-Kadid a well between Qudayd and `Usfan, then he broke the fast until the month had passed."


Pregnant and Nursing Women

Pregnant and nursing women may break the Ramadan fast but shall fast a number of days, equal to those missed ,after pregnancy or nursing ceases. In other words, pregnant and nursing women are in the same position as a traveller, being free to choose between breaking the fast or keeping it.

According to a hadith related by Anas Ibn Malik al Kabi, the Prophet said "God has relieved a traveller from part of the prayers and relieved him along with pregnant and nursing women from fasting."

Pregnant and nursing women may also break the fast if they fear injury either to themselves or their infants.

However, they should perform restitution.


Old Age

`Ulama have different opinions as regards old people.

Some `ulama are of the opinion that if an old man is unable to fast, he may break the fast provided he feeds a poor man for each day he breaks the fast. This is what is meant by the term fidyah.

Others said that an old person was free not to observe the fast without fidyah) on the strength of the Quranic verse "On no soul does God place a burden greater than it can bear."

The stipulation regarding old persons applies to persons afflicted with incurable illnesses.

Sheikh Muhammad Abdu (a prominent scholar and one time rector of Al-Azhar) was of the opinion that people engaged in hard manual work like mining, or prisoners sentenced to hard labour, may break the fast if they can afford the fidyah

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Old 07-17-2014, 12:19 PM #5
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Yeah... allowing your body to starve and thirst is quite bad for your body. So much so, you can die... albeit you'll die from thirst long before starvation. Dehydration, even short term, can cause serious and permanent damage to your body... especially soft tissue organs suchs as kidneys, liver, and pancreas.

Denying your body what it needs is a crime against yourself. Good luck with that.
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Old 07-18-2014, 12:05 PM #6
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Quote:
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A medical expert, Dr. Cinque summarizes it all very well below:
1. Fasting promotes detoxification. As the body breaks down its fat reserves, it mobilizes and eliminates stored toxins.

This is false. Removing toxins requires plenty of water. Dehydrating yourself only allows toxins to build-up in your body.

2. Fasting gives the digestive system a much-needed rest. After fasting, both digestion and elimination are invigorated.

A much needed rest? Seriously? It takes roughly 3 days for your digestive tract to completely empty. If you're only fasting by day, then eating by night, then there's nothing at rest. And BTW, digestive tracts don't need "rest."

3. Fasting promotes the resolution of inflammatory processes, such as in rheumatoid arthritis.

There's nothing in any medical journal about fasting being able to control arthritis.... with the exception of a lactovegetarian diet. But then again, that's not fasting is it?

4. Fasting quiets allergic reactions, including asthma and hay fever.

False. The only way fasting will "quiet" an allergic reaction, is if you're allergic to a specific food, and not eating it. Other than that, hay fever is a result of a histamine reaction, which has nothing to do with food.

5. Fasting promotes the drying up of abnormal fluid accumulations, such as edema in the ankles and legs and swelling in the abdomen.

Inflammations can be controlled by elevation of the effected limb and ice. Fasting won't do anything but make you hungry and thirsty.


6. Fasting corrects high blood pressure without drugs. Fasting will normalize blood pressure in the vast majority of cases, the blood pressure will remain low after the fast, if the person follows a health-supporting diet and lifestyle.

Fasting does not correct high blood pressure. In fact, in most cases, not getting enough nutrition or enough hydration will cause your body's systems to go out of whack. Ask any diabetic what fasting does.

7. Fasting makes it easy to overcome bad habits and addictions. Many people have overcome tobacco and alcohol addictions by fasting, and even drug addictions. Fasting rapidly dissipates the craving for nicotine, alcohol, caffeine and other drugs.

This is an opinion. Please don't present it as fact.

8. Fasting clears the skin and whitens the eyes. It is common to see skin eruptions clear while fasting, and the whites of the eyes never look so clear and bright as they do after fasting.

Again, there's no medical journal that will corroborate this. There's some personal blogs about this... but can't find any scientific data on it.

9. Fasting restores taste appreciation for wholesome natural foods. People say that their taste buds come alive after fasting and that food never tasted so good.

This is probably because they're starving. When I'm hungry enough, I might eat dog poop and think it tastes great.

10. Fasting is the perfect gateway to a healthful diet and lifestyle. Going on a fast gives you the motivation and enthusiasm to make a fresh start.

Fasting is a great way to damage your body.

11. Fasting initiates rapid weight loss with little or no hunger. Most people are surprised at how little desire for food they have while fasting.

Ask any reputable doctor or dietician, losing weight isn't about what you don't eat, it's about what you DO eat.
Please, let's end the myths about the greatness of fasting. This disinformation can cause alot of harm to alot of people.
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Old 07-19-2014, 05:16 AM #7
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Please, let's end the myths about the greatness of fasting. This disinformation can cause alot of harm to alot of people.
Fasting is not unique to the Muslims. It has been practiced for centuries in connection with religious ceremonies by Christians, Jews, Confucianists, Hindus, Taoists, and Jains. God mentions this fact in the Quran:

“O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may develop God-consciousness.” (Quran 2:183)

Some Native American societies fasted to avert catastrophe or to serve as penance for sin. Native North Americans held tribal fasts to avert threatening disasters. The Native Americans of Mexico and the Incas of Peru observed penitential fasts to appease their gods. Past nations of the Old World, such as the Assyrians and the Babylonians, observed fasting as a form of penance. Jews observe fasting as a form of penitence and purification annually on the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur. On this day neither food nor drink is permitted.

Early Christians associated fasting with penitence and purification. During the first two centuries of its existence, the Christian church established fasting as a voluntary preparation for receiving the sacraments of Holy Communion and baptism and for the ordination of priests. Later, these fasts were made obligatory, as others days were subsequently added. In the 6th century, the Lenten fast was expanded to 40 days, on each of which only one meal was permitted. After the Reformation, fasting was retained by most Protestant churches and was made optional in some cases. Stricter Protestants, however, condemned not only the festivals of the church, but its traditional fasts as well.

In the Roman Catholic Church, fasting may involve partial abstinence from food and drink or total abstinence. The Roman Catholic days of fasting are Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. In the United States, fasting is observed mostly by Episcopalians and Lutherans among Protestants, by Orthodox and Conservative Jews, and by Roman Catholics.

Fasting took another form in the West: the hunger strike, a form of fasting, which in modern times has become a political weapon after being popularized by Mohandas Gandhi, leader of the struggle for India’s freedom, who undertook fasts to compel his followers to obey his precept of nonviolence.

Islam is the only religion that has retained the outward and spiritual dimensions of fasting throughout the centuries. Selfish motives and desires of the base self alienate a man from his Creator. The most unruly human emotions are pride, avarice, gluttony, lust, envy, and anger. These emotions by their nature are not easy to control, thus a person must strive hard to discipline them. Muslims fast to purify their soul, it puts a bridle on the most uncontrolled, savage human emotions. People have gone to two extremes with regard to them. Some let these emotions steer their life which lead to barbarism among the ancients, and crass materialism of consumer cultures in modern times. Others tried to deprive themselves completely of these human traits, which in turn led to monasticism.

The fourth Pillar of Islam, the Fast of Ramadan, occurs once each year during the 9th lunar month, the month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar in which:

“…the Quran was sent down as a guidance for the people.” (Quran 2:185)

God in His infinite mercy has exempt the ill, travelers, and others who are unable from fasting Ramadan.

Fasting helps Muslims develop self-control, gain a better understanding of God’s gifts and greater compassion towards the deprived. Fasting in Islam involves abstaining from all bodily pleasures between dawn and sunset. Not only is food forbidden, but also any sexual activity. All things which are regarded as prohibited is even more so in this month, due to its sacredness. Each and every moment during the fast, a person suppresses their passions and desires in loving obedience to God. This consciousness of duty and the spirit of patience

helps in strengthening our faith. Fasting helps a person gain self-control. A person who abstains from permissible things like food and drink is likely to feel conscious of his sins. A heightened sense of spirituality helps break the habits of lying, staring with lust at the opposite sex, gossiping, and wasting time. Staying hungry and thirsty for just a day’s portion makes one feel the misery of the 800 million who go hungry or the one in ten households in the US, for example, that are living with hunger or are at risk of hunger. After all, why would anyone care about starvation if one has never felt its pangs oneself? One can see why Ramadan is also a month of charity and giving.

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Old 07-20-2014, 09:56 PM #8
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Quote:
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Fasting is not unique to the Muslims. It has been practiced for centuries in connection with religious ceremonies by Christians, Jews, Confucianists, Hindus, Taoists, and Jains. God mentions this fact in the Quran:

“O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may develop God-consciousness.” (Quran 2:183)
I'm not sure why you mentioned this. I never used the word "Muslim" or "Islam" on this thread. I never singled-out the Muslin faith on this thread. I did say: "I never understood the fasting aspect of religion."
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Old 07-20-2014, 10:46 PM #9
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I for one have never understood why people believe in this bull ****. Starving yourself according to a fairy tale of rapists, misogynists, and murderers under the guise of enlightenment has no utility beyond the furthering of a religion created to control a militant force of men and their subservient women.
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Old 07-21-2014, 09:17 AM #10
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I for one have never understood why people believe in this bull ****. Starving yourself according to a fairy tale of rapists, misogynists, and murderers under the guise of enlightenment has no utility beyond the furthering of a religion created to control a militant force of men and their subservient women.
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Old 07-21-2014, 11:20 AM #11
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Please allow me to be clear. I'm not singling out Islam for their fasting rituals or anything else. I find that the fasting rituals associated with Christianity and Judaism to be equally absurd. So please, let's move beyond this and get to the heart of the issue... why is fasting, which is biologically damaging, held in such high regard to most major religions? Why would you worship an entity that commands you to deny yourself to enjoy the most basic of human necessities... food & water?
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Old 07-21-2014, 02:39 PM #12
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Please allow me to be clear. I'm not singling out Islam for their fasting rituals or anything else. I find that the fasting rituals associated with Christianity and Judaism to be equally absurd. So please, let's move beyond this and get to the heart of the issue... why is fasting, which is biologically damaging, held in such high regard to most major religions? Why would you worship an entity that commands you to deny yourself to enjoy the most basic of human necessities... food & water?
It's about self mastery and discipline. Christianity and Islam are concerned with overcoming the human condition. Medieval cosmology placed earth a couple notches above hell itself and everything important took place where God and the angels dwelt. This ought to give you a better insight as to what regard humanity was held and why matters of the mind and spirit were placed in higher importance than bodily need or function. Earth itself wasn't even seen as being very important. Certainly not those who inhabit it. Fasting is just one example of this world view in action. Medieval monks meditated on mental images of their dead bodies.

I understand this all might sound hilarious but need I remind you of your professed belief in "higher planes of existence." Or some other form of equally unfounded belief.
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Old 07-21-2014, 10:03 PM #13
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It's about self mastery and discipline. Christianity and Islam are concerned with overcoming the human condition. Medieval cosmology placed earth a couple notches above hell itself and everything important took place where God and the angels dwelt. This ought to give you a better insight as to what regard humanity was held and why matters of the mind and spirit were placed in higher importance than bodily need or function. Earth itself wasn't even seen as being very important. Certainly not those who inhabit it. Fasting is just one example of this world view in action. Medieval monks meditated on mental images of their dead bodies.
This would certainly explain why people fasted during the Medieval period, but why people would still do it today....

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I understand this all might sound hilarious but need I remind you of your professed belief in "higher planes of existence." Or some other form of equally unfounded belief.
While this is certainly true, keep in mind that none of my unfounded beliefs hurt neither me nor anyone else. My unfounded beliefs don't require any sacrifices... like food and water. If someone truly wants to overcome the human condition as you say, then try giving up breathing. Now that would be a REAL sacrifice.
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Old 07-21-2014, 11:04 PM #14
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If someone truly wants to overcome the human condition as you say, then try giving up breathing. Now that would be a REAL sacrifice.


Freeing themselves of the human condition.
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Old 07-21-2014, 11:34 PM #15
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This would certainly explain why people fasted during the Medieval period, but why people would still do it today...
Because long standing traditions?

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While this is certainly true, keep in mind that none of my unfounded beliefs hurt neither me nor anyone else. My unfounded beliefs don't require any sacrifices... like food and water. If someone truly wants to overcome the human condition as you say, then try giving up breathing. Now that would be a REAL sacrifice.
Oh grow up.
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Old 07-22-2014, 11:12 AM #16
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Originally Posted by Iamamartianchurch View Post
Oh grow up.
So its OK to sacrifice one biological necessity, but not another?
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Old 07-22-2014, 11:14 AM #17
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Originally Posted by Volucris View Post


Freeing themselves of the human condition.
Quite true. But for that I'll respond with something I said earlier:

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...keep in mind that none of my unfounded beliefs hurt neither me nor anyone else.
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Old 07-22-2014, 11:17 AM #18
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Originally Posted by Iamamartianchurch View Post
Because long standing traditions?
Its also been a long standing tradition to sacrifice virgins to the gods. I don't see many people endorsing that one today. So who gets to cherry pick which harmful traditions stay, and which harmful traditions go?
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Old 07-22-2014, 11:54 AM #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PBOldTimer View Post
So its OK to sacrifice one biological necessity, but not another?
It was more in reference to your indignation fit. Like it's OK to criticize people for "unfounded beliefs" and "faith" even though you openly admit to both simply because you think you are morally superior. LoL.

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Originally Posted by PBOldTimer View Post
Its also been a long standing tradition to sacrifice virgins to the gods. I don't see many people endorsing that one today. So who gets to cherry pick which harmful traditions stay, and which harmful traditions go?
It's a long standing tradition in our society to sacrifice animal life in the name of science and medicine. Death toll probably well exceeding the million mark. "Let's just send this chimp into space and hope **** works out." Fortunately for that poor creature it did. We're no better honestly.
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Old 07-23-2014, 04:46 AM #20
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The difference between the ritual level 1 and the physical level 2 is, a person doing only ritual fasting may eat large meals prior to beginning the fast and immediately upon ending the fast, and not feel any hunger or thirst throughout the whole month.

However, like level one, if the fasting person does not incorporate the other levels of fasting, the fast will only be physically exhausting.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "Maybe a fasting person will gain nothing but hunger and thirst from fasting." [8]


The Libidinal Level:

The sexual instinct and drives (libido) are harnessed on this level of fasting.
In these times where the media continually plays on sexual desires to promote and sell products, the ability to control these powerful desires is a plus.
Fasting physically reduces sexual desires and the fact that the fasting person has to avoid anything which could stimulate him psychologically helps to further lower the libido.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, "O youths, whoever among you is able to marry let him do so, for it restrains the eyes and protects the private parts. He who is unable to marry should fast, because it is a shield." [9]
By restraining from sexual acts, even though they are permissible, the fasting people make it easier for themselves to restrain from forbidden sexual acts when they are not fasting.



The Emotional Level:

Fasting on this level involves controlling the many negative emotions which simmer in the human mind and soul.
For example, among the most destructive emotions is anger.
Fasting helps to bring this emotion under control.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
"When one of you is fasting, he should abstain from indecent acts and unnecessary talk, and if someone begins an obscene conversation or tries to pick an argument, he should simply tell him, "I am fasting." [10]
So, on this level, whatever negative emotions challenge the fasting person must be avoided.
A person has to abstain from lewd conversation and heated arguments. Even when one is in the right, it is better to let that right go and keep one's emotional fast intact.
Likewise, the negative emotion of jealousy is reduced, as every fasting person is reduced to the common denominator of abstinence; no one is externally superior to another in this regard.


The Psychological Level:

This level helps the fasting person psychologically to control evil thoughts and trains him or her, to some degree, how to overcome stinginess and greed.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said,
"Allah has no need for the hunger and the thirst of the person who does not restrain himself from telling lies and acting on them even while observing the fast." [11]

In this age of immediate gratification, when the things of the world are used to fulfill human needs and desires almost as soon as they have them - the ability to delay gratification is an important skill.
What is between immediate gratification and delayed gratification is patience. During the fast, the believers learn patience - and the benefits of it.

From a psychological perspective, it is good to be somewhat detached from the things of the world.
There is nothing wrong with enjoying a good and full life - in fact, one can and should expect that.
However, it is important that people are able to detach ourselves from material things so that they do not become the most important part of their lives.
Fasting gives one the opportunity to overcome the many addictions which have become a major part of modern life.
Food, for many people, provides comfort and joy - and the ability to separate oneself from it gives the fasting people the psychological benefit of knowing that they do have some degree of control over what they do and what they do not do.



The Spiritual Level:

In order to establish this, the highest and most important level of fasting, the level of God-consciousness, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) made the renewal of the intention for fasting a requirement before every day of fasting.
He was reported to have said, "Whoever does not intend to fast before Fajr (the dawn) will have no fast." [12]

The daily renewal of intention helps to establish a spiritual foundation of sincerity essential for the spiritual cleansing effects of fasting to operate.
Sincere fasting purifies and atones for sin, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "Whoever fasts Ramadan out of sincere faith and seeking his reward from God, his previous sins will be forgiven."
He was also reported to have said, "From one Ramadan to the next is atonement for the sins between them."
Sincere fasting brings one closer to Allah and earns a special reward.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) informed that there is a gate in paradise called Rayyan reserved for those who fast and he also said, "When Ramadan comes, the gates of Paradise are open." [13]
Fasting is primarily between the person and God, as no one can be sure that any person is actually fasting.
Because of this intimate aspect of fasting, Allah was quoted by the Prophet (peace be upon him) as saying,
"Every act of Adam's descendants is for themselves, except fasting. It is meant for Me alone, and I alone will give the reward for it." [14]
When combined with the previous levels of fasting, this level transforms a person from within.
It restores, revives and regenerates the fasting person's spirituality and radically modifies his or her personality and character.
These are the precious products of a heightened state of God-consciousness.




Fasting in Cultural Islam

In much of the Muslim world today fasting has been reduced to a mere ritual, and the month of Ramadan has become a time of celebration and festivities instead of religious contemplation and abstinence.
Ramadan nights are, for many, nights of partying and enjoyment which continue until the dawn in some countries.
There, the night becomes the day and the day becomes the night.
In many places, the light meal which is supposed to be taken prior the dawn becomes a major three-course meal.
For this reason, very few experience real hunger during the fast.
And at the time of breaking the fast, another three-course meal is taken, followed by a sampling of all kinds of sweets imaginable.
As a result, many Muslims complain about gaining weight during Ramadan and doctors regularly warn people about the medical consequences of overeating.



The Name Ramadan

The word Ramadan comes from the noun Ramad, which refers to "the reflected heat of stones resulting from the intense heat of the sun."
When the Arabs changed the names of the months from their ancient names, they renamed them according to the seasons in which they happened to fall.
The ninth month, which used to be called Natiq, fell during the summer, the time of extreme heat, which is why it was named Ramadan. [15]




Significance of Ramadan

Naturally, the fact that Ramadan was in the summer has no relation to why this month was chosen by Allah as the month for fasting.
Since Muslims follow the lunar calendar, the month of Ramadan will occur in all the seasons at least twice in each person's lifetime. God clearly stated the reason for choosing this month in the Quran.
He said: "Ramadan is the month in which the Quran was revealed as guidance and clarification to humankind, and a distinction between right and wrong. So, whoever from among you witnesses the month should fast it." (2: 185)
The significance of Ramadan lies in the fact that the revelation of the Quran began in that month.
For this reason, Ramadan is often called the month of the Quran and Muslims try to spend much of their waking hours reading from the Holy Book throughout the month.




Religious Seclusion (I'tikaf)

During the last ten days of Ramadan, the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to seclude himself in the mosque, in order to increase the intensity of his worship and the benefits of the fast prior to the ending of the month.
Devout Muslims try to emulate him by spending as many of the ten days as they can fasting secluded in the mosque.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a70c_FoAI64
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Old 07-23-2014, 07:48 AM #21
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In my most humble if opinions, religion is about guilt and control.
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