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» 07/20/2012
ISLAM
Ramadan begins for millions of Muslims
The month of fasting only begins in some Arab countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt due to the different position of the crescent moon. In the coming days it will start around the world. The month commemorates the revelation of the Koran to Muhammad from Allah. The end of Ramadan is scheduled for August 20, with the feast of Eid al-Fitr.

Dubai (AsiaNews) - Millions of Muslims in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Yemen, Kuwait, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria are beginning the holy month of Ramadan, that with his fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam. In Oman, Iran, Syria and Iraq, Ramadan will begin tomorrow. The period is calculated based on the sighting of the first crescent moon in the night sky and this will vary from area to area.

With Ramadan, Muslims commemorate Allah's revelation of the first verses of the Koran to Muhammad, by his sending the angel Gabriel. Every person who has passed the age of puberty and is mentally and physically healthy is obligated to fast. Tradition has it that the daily fast begins when you can distinguish a white thread from a black thread. In villages and cities it is announced by the muezzin call to prayer of 'Al Fajr (morning prayer). Fasting ends at sunset with the Al - Magrib (sunset prayer) which announces the iftar dinner to be shared with the whole family.

Fasting is one of the crucial aspects of Ramadan and is one of the five pillars (duties) of Islam. Its establishment dates from the second year of '"hijra" (622 AD). The period corresponds to the flight of Mohammed from Mecca to the oasis of Yathrib renamed Medina (Madinat al Nabi, the city of the prophet), to escape the hostility of the tribes who saw the leader and his followers a threat to their interests. He instituted the fast among his followers to nourish their spirit and morale, thus reminding them of those who have nothing to eat. For this reason, during Ramadan, in addition to fasting and prayer, the people carry out acts of charity towards the poor and the sick.

Those exempted from fasting are: people with psychological problems, children under the age of puberty, the elderly, the sick, travelers, pregnant women, nursing mothers, or women who have just begun the menstrual cycle. Whoever does not pray and fast still must carry out a daily act of charity towards the poor. As an exercise, many parents make their children observe a mini-fast (half day).

During the holy month, many Muslims go to Mecca for Umrah. Alongside the Haji it is one of the pilgrimages prescribed by the Koran.

The last ten days of Ramadan are the most important, during which the Layalat al-Qadr, the night of power, during which Allah revealed the Koran to Muhammad, is commemorated.

The period ends with the feast of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of fasting. For three days all the families organize banquets and feasts and exchange gifts.

 

 


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See also
07/28/2014 ISLAM
Eid al-Fitr: Ramadan ends today (for Sunnis)
02/17/2010 PHILIPPINES
Lent: money saved by fasting to aid poor Filipinos
by Santosh Digal
01/29/2008 VATICAN
Pope: Lent, charity means giving oneself, not just giving "things"
02/28/2009 PAKISTAN
Church of Karachi begins Lenten preparation
by Qaiser Felix
08/22/2009 SAUDI ARABIA
Ramadan begins for many Arab countries and Iran

Editor's choices
IRAQ-ITALY
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul," the thanks of the Patriarch Louis Sako; the concerns of the Bishop of Kurdistan
by Bernardo CervelleraThe head of the Chaldean Church is grateful for the AsiaNews campaign and hopes that "this chain of solidarity will reach far and wide”. Helping refugees to remain in Iraq. But many want to flee abroad. The bishop of Amadiyah where thousands of displaced people have found haven in churches and homes: We also help the Arabs (Muslims), and Yazidis, for free and without looking at our confessional differences.
ITALY - IRAQ
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.
CHINA - VATICAN
Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang
by Eugenia ZhangFor Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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