Information on the holy month of Ramadan - Part 2

Q: What about children, can they fast voluntarily?
A: Muslim children under the age of puberty can fast with the permission and supervision of their parents. The parents will help them develop the practice of fasting gradually so that when the children reach the age of puberty they are mentally and physically prepared to fast in Ramadan. If a child cannot or does not feel like continuing the fast, he/she will be allowed to break the fast before dusk without blame or penalty.

Q: What are the traditional practices for the month of Ramadan?
A: Many practices can be seen in various cultures and ethnically groups. However, the following
four practices are universal among all Muslims.

(1). Suhoor, i.e. Waking up before dawn to eat something before the commencement of the fast.
(2). Futoor (Iftar), i.e. Breaking the daily fast with a drink of water, salt or dates at dusk.
(3). Tilaawah, i.e. Qur’an Recitation. Most Muslims recite 1/30th (Juz or Sipara) of the Holy
Qur’an every night so as to complete reciting the entire Holy Qur’an during the month.
(4). Social visits and giving of alms and charity are highly recommended during this month.

Q: Are there any special events during Ramadan?
A: The most important event is the celebration of Laylatul Qadr.

Q: What is Laylatul Qadr?
A: Laylatul Qadr, i.e. “the Night of Power & Grandeur” marks the anniversary of the night on which the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) received the Qur’an from God, through the angel Gabriel. An entire chapter in the Qur’an deals with this night: “Surely, We have sent it (the Qur’an) down inthe night of Qadr.

What will make you know what the night of Qadr is?
The night of Qadr is better than a thousand months. The angels and the (holy) spirit descend in
it, with the permission of their Lord, with (decrees) for every affair. Peace, until the
break of dawn.” (Chapter 97)
Muslim’s believe Laylatul Qadr is one of the last odd numbered nights of Ramadan.

Q: Are there differences between the Sunni and the Shi’a regarding Ramadan and Fasting?
A: There are a few minor differences between the two on account of the interpretations of the
respective jurists. The following differences should be noted.
(1). The Sunnis end the fast at sunset, whilst the Shi’ahs ends at dusk.
(2). The Sunnis celebrate Layltul Qadr on the eve of 27th of Ramadan. The Shi’ahs celebrates it on the eve of the 23rd. They also perform the rites of Laylatul Qadr on the eve of 19th and the 21st of Ramadan.
(3). The Sunnis give a lot of importance to Taraweeh prayers during Ramadan after the daily evening (Eisha) prayer. The Shi’ah Muslim’s do not say the Taraweeh. Instead, they gather in their centers to do Qur’an recitation, say supplications (Du’as) for Ramadan and partake from lectures on the significance of fasting, Ramadan, and other religious topics. Plus they do the following special Nawafil (recommended or supererogatory prayers):

(a). 1st to 20th day: 20 Raka’at (2 Rak’at x 10) each of the first twenty nights.
(b). 19th, 21st & 23rd: 100 Raka’at (2 Rak’at x 50) each of the three eves.
(c). 21st to 30th: 30 Raka’at (2 Rak’at x 15) each of the last ten nights.

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, “…I recommend you to say prayers in your homes because the best of a person’s prayers is in his home except for the obligatory (prayers).”

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