Friday Honored For Muslims Worldwide

Iowa City Owl World News
This upcoming Friday marks a holy day for over a billion people across the globe, as Friday marks the anniversary of the night Muslims believe the first verses of the Qur'an were revealed to the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Local Muslims will spend this night in a state of intense worship and devotion, in imitation of Muhammad, secluding themselves from worldly events, to seek and submit to God's rewards and forgiveness.

Imam H. Saad Baig explained: "In a tradition from the Prophet, whoever spends this night in worship with faith and hoping for reward, all his previous sins will be forgiven. So it is not exactly a celebration but rather an exemplary opportunity to exert oneself in worship and attain God’s forgiveness and His unparalleled reward in the Hereafter ; Almost a lifetime’s worth of rewards attained in one night!"

Friday, August 26, of the Gregorian Calendar, marks Laylat al-Qadr, the Night of Destiny. Laylat al-Qadr is considered the holiest day, of the holiest week, of the holiest month, Ramadan, in the Islamic Calendar "Hijri."

Ramadan began August 1 this year, signaled by the arrival of the new moon, and is considered the holiest month in the Hajri, or Islamic Calendar. Similar to the Gregorian Calendar, which is based around the birth of Christianity's Jesus, the Hajri Calendar is rooted in the Prophet Muhammad’s emigration from Mecca to Medina. Differently, it is a lunar calendar which is shorter than the 365 days that it takes Earth to make one full rotation around the sun (thus it's not quite one year long).

Sister Nermin Sabry of the Masjid Darul Arqum, Islamic Center of Ames, Iowa explained the importance of Ramadan and this upcoming Friday for Muslims.

“Ramadan is one of the important rituals in Islam; It is considered the third of five pillars of Islam. Ramadan is a time when Muslims practice self-restraint from things that are permissible in other times. For a month, Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, and fulfilling sexual desires from dawn to sunset. After sunset they are allowed to enjoy those things until dawn the next day...”

The five pillars Sister Sabry was referring to are requirements of believers in Sunni Islam, of whom make up between 80-90% of the world’s Muslim population. They include accepting God as lord, and Muhammed as His messenger, five daily prayers, fasting, charity, and pilgrimage. These obligations are stressed upon during Ramadan.

Similar to the Christian tradition during Christmas, Muslims often decorate during the Ramadan holiday season. Some participants string up festive lights, and make use of a Ramadan Calendar, a paper calendar filled with toys and treats, comparable to the Christian Advent Calendar. Fasting during Ramadan may also be loosely compared with the Christian tradition of Lent.

“...To celebrate Ramadan, we meet to pray in congregation every night, we prepare Iftar, the meal after sunset, everyday for the people who cannot prepare Iftar for themselves, we also have family Iftar for all the families every Saturday. At the end of the month, every person is required to give small amount of money for charity [$10 per person] as a way to share the bounties and blessings we have with the needy.” Sister Sabry described.

Friday marks Laylat al-Qadr, also known as the Night of Power, or the Night of Destiny, among other things. This day is considered the very day God began revealing the Qur’an to the Angel, Gabrielle.

Imam H. Saad Baig, of the Islamic Center of the Quad Cities told the Owl: “On this specific night in Ramadan, the Qur’an was revealed, and the Angel Gabriel came down with the first revelation to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). It is better than a one-thousand months spent in worship. On this night every year, angels descend from the heavens and the matters of this world are decreed by God.”

It is believed Gabrielle transcended from Heaven to Mecca, and dictated the first few verses of the Qur’an, verse-by-verse, to the Prophet Muhammed.

August 30 is the estimated end of Ramadan, also known as Eid al-Fitr, or Eid for short. It is marked by the beginning of a new lunar month, and thus, varies depending on the participant’s view on the moon.

Believers use this time to thank God for the power of self-restraint giving to them during their month of fasting and submission. It is a time Muslims are expected to donate to the poor and to contact distant relatives to offer thanks and good will.

Afik Q. Shaihk, of the Islamic Center of Cedar Rapids explained the Eid: "We start celebrations with the morning Eid prayer; The whole community gets together for the prayer, adults and children alike. The prayer is followed by an Eid sermon, then we do our breakfast together at the Islamic Center. Outdoor and indoor activities are arranged for kids of varying ages. Afternoons are reserved for family visitations. The night concludes with an Eid dinner at the Islamic Center."

Imam Baig emphasized: “In Islam, even celebrations are an act of worship, as they are a testament to the blessings of God, and as a means to be grateful to Him... Seeing as how God’s commands are for everyone, it would not only be encouraged for others to participate in the celebration, but to also partake in the reason behind the celebration.”

Edited August 29th to add an additional quote and make small corrections.

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Nicely compiled article about Ramadan, thank you.

Just wanted to point out one clarification with regards to this statement:
"It is believed Gabrielle transcended from Heaven to Mecca, and dictated the Qur’an, verse-by-verse, to the Prophet Muhammed, who then transcribed it."

The Prophet Muhammad did not transcribe the Quran himself as he was an illiterate man. Rather the verses were transmitted by oral tradition from Muhammad to his companions who then would memorize them in their exact phraseology and who then compiled them in written format.

Moreover the Quran was revealed over a span of 23 years as can be found in any historical account, and the night of Ramadan that is described here was when the very first verses of the Quran were revealed to Muhammad (and they were just a few).

I hope you can clarify that in your article.
Thanks again.